Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

Stmthclyde Briton; and Geoffrey is responsible for the lit up with his sunny humour. Alexander Smith has a
blunder of transferring him to South Wales. So intimately poem treating of Edwin of Deira, who figures towards the
is Geoffrey connected with Arthur's celebrity, that he is close of Geoffrey's history. And Tennyson's Idylls of the
often called Galfridus Arturus. Although the wondrous King furnish the most illustrious example of Geoffrey's
cycle of Arthurian romances scarcely originated with influences although the poet takes his stories, in the first
Gooffrey, he made the existing legends radiant with poetic instance, from Malory's Morte Darthur. * The influence the
colouring. They thus became the common property of Legends have had in causing other legends to spring up,
Europe ; and, after being modified by the trouvères in and in creating a love for narrative; is simply incalculable
France, the minnesingers in Germany, and by such writers In this way Geoffrey was really, for Englishmen, the in-
as Gaimar, Wace, Mapes, Robert de Borron, Luces de ventor of a new literary form, which is represented by the
Gast, and Hélie de Borron, they were converted into a romances and novels of later times,
magnificent prose poem by Sir Thomas Malory, in 1461.

There are several MSS. of Geoffrey's work in the old Royal Malory's Morte Darthur, printed by Caxton in 1485, is as Library of the British Museum, of which one formerly belonging truly the epic of the English mind as the Iliad is the epic to Margan Abbey is considered the best. The titles of the various of the Greek mind.

editions of Geoffrey are given in Wright's Biog. Brit. Lit., in the

volume devoted to the Anglo-Norman period, which also contains The first English tragedy, Gorboduc, or Ferrez and an excellent notice of Geoffrey. The work compiled by Balo and Porrex (1565), which was written mainly by Sackville, is Pits, gives a mythical literary history, corresponding to Geoffrey's founded on tho Historia Britonum. John Higgins, in mythical political history. Or the Life and Prophecies of Merlin, The Mirror for Magistrates (1587), borrows largely from falsely attributed to Geoffrey, 42 copies were printed for the

Roxburghe Club in 1830. The Historia was translated into Eng. the old legends. This work was extremely popular in tho

lish by Aaron Thompson (London, 1718); and a revised edition was Elizabethan period, and furnished dramatists with plots for issued by Dr Giles London, 1842), which is to be found in the their plays

Spenser's Faërie Queene is saturated with the volume entitled Siz Old English Chronicles in Bohn's Antiquarian ancient myths; and, in his Arthur, the post gives us a

Library. A discussion of Geoffrey's literary influence is given in noble spiritual conception of the character. In the tenth versily Magazine for April 1876. The latest instance of the intercst

“Legends of Pre-Roman Britain," an article in the Dublin Unicanto of Book ii. there is

in Geoffrey is the publication of the following work:- Der Münchener
“ A chronicle of Briton kings,

Brut Gotifried von Blonmouth in französ. Versen des zwölsen Jahr.
From Brut to Uther's rayne.

hunderts, herausgeg. von R. Hofmann und K. Vollmöller, Halle, 1877. Warnec s lengthy poem entitled Albion's England (1586) .Poetry; Morley's English Writers; Skene's Four Ancient Books of

For further information about Geoffrey, consult Warton's English is full of legendary British history. Drayton's Polyolbion | Wales; and a valuable paper on Geoffrey of Monmouth's History (1613) is largely made up of stories from Geoffrey, begins of the Britons," in the ist vol. of Mr Thomas Wright's Essays on

(T. GI.) ning with Britain-founding Brute. Geoffrey's good faith Archeological Subjects (London, 1861). and historic accuracy are warmly contended for by Drayton, GEOFFROY SAINT-HILAIRE, ÉTIENNE (1772-1844), in Song x. of his work.

a celebrated French naturalist, was the son of Jean Gérard In Shakespeare's time Geoffrey's legends were still im Geoffroy, procurator and magistrate of Étampes, Seine-etplicitly believed by the great mass of the people, and were Oise, where he was born, April 15, 1772. His early appealed to as historical documents by go gront a lawyer education was carefully superintended by his mother and as Sir Edward Coke. They had also figured largely in the paternal grandmother, and when still a boy he had already disputes between the Edwards and Scotland. William become acquainted with the masterpieces of the literature Camden was the first to prove satisfactorily that the of the ancients, and of the age of Louis XIV: Destined by llistoria was a romance. Shakespeare's King Lear was his friends for the church, he entered, as an exhibitioner, preceded by an earlier play entitled The Chronicle History the college of Navarre, in Paris, where he studied natural Of King Lear and his 7'hree Daughters, Gonorill, Ragan, philosophy under Brisson ; and in 1788 le obtained one anul Cordelia, as it hath been divers and sundry times lately of the canonicates of the chapter of Sainte Croix at acted. Shakespeare's immediate authority was Holinshed; Étampes, and also a benefice. - Science, however, offered to but the later chronicles, in so far as they were legendary, him a career more congenial to his tastes than that of an were derived from Geoffrey. The story of Cymbeline ecclesiastic, and, after some persuasion, he gained from his is another illustration of the fascination these legends father permission to remain in Paris, and to attend the exercised over Shakespeare. An early play, ascribed by lectures at the Collége de France and the Jardin des Plantes, some to Shakespeare, on Locrine, Brutus's eldest son, on the condition that he should likewise read law. He is a further example of how the dramatists ransacked accordingly took up his residence at Cardinal Lemoine's Geoffrey's stores. The Historia was a favourite book college, and there became the pupil and soon the esteemed with Milton; and he onco thought of writing a long poem associate of Brisson's friend, Haüy, the eminent mineralon King Arthur, whose qualities he would probably have ogist, under whose guiding influence his passion for the idealized, as Spenser has done, but with still greater moral natural sciences daily deepened. Having, before the close grandeur. In addition to the evidence afforded by the in- of the year 1790, taken the degree of bachelor in law, he troduction to his llistory of England, Milton shows in became a student of wedicine, but the lectures of Fourcroy many ways that he was profoundly indebted to early at the Jardin des Plantes, and of Daubenton at the College legendary history. His exquisite conception of Sabrina, in de France, and his favourite scientific pursuits gradually Comus, is an instance of how the original legends were came to occupy his almost exclusive attention. His studies not only appropriated but ennobled by many of our wiiters. at Paris were at length suddenly interrupted, for, on the In his Latin poems, too, there are some interesting passages 12th or 13th of August 1792, Haüy and the other profes. pertinent to the subjecte

sors of Lemoine's college, as also those of the college of Dryden once intended to write an epic on Arthur's ea- Navarre, were arrested by the revolutionists as priests, and ploits ; and Pope planned an epic on Brutus. Mason's confined in the prison of St Firmin. Through Daubenton Caractacus bears witness to Geoffrey'scharm for poetic minds. and other persons of distinction with whom be was Wordsworth has embalmed the beautiful legend of Pious acquainted, Geoffroy on the 14th August obtained an order Elidure in his own magic verse. In chapter xxxvi. of the for the release of Haüy in the name of the Academy; still Pickwick Papers Dickens gives what he calls “The the other professors of the two colleges, save Lhomond True Legend of Prince Bladud,” which is stamped through who had been rescued by his pupil Tallien, remained in out with the impress of the author's peculiar genius, and confinement Geoffrey, foreseeing their certain destruction

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

if they remained in the bands of the revolutionists, deter. devoted himself more exclusively than before to the study mined if possible to secure their liberty by stratagem. By of anatomical philosophy. In 1815 he was elected political bribing one of the officials at St Firmin, and disguising representative for his native town. Three years later he himself as a commissioner of prisons, he gained admission gave to the world the first part of his celebrated Philosophie to his friends, and entreated them to effect their escape by Anatomique, the second volume of whicb, published in 1822, following him. All, however, dreading lest their deliver- aud memoirs subsequently written account for the formaance should render the doom of their fellow-captives the tion of monstrosities on the principle of arrest of develop more certain, refused the offer, and one priest only, who inent, and of the attraction of similar parts. When, in was unknown to Geoffroy, left the prison. Already on the 1830, Geoffroy proceeded to apply to the invertebrata his night of the 2d of September the massacre of the pro- views as to the unity of animal composition, he found a scribed had begun, when Geoffroy, yet intent ou saving the vigorous opponent in Georges Cuvier, and the discussion life of his friends and teachers, repaired to St Firmin. At between them, continued up to the time of the death of 4 o'clock on the morning of the 31 Sept., after 8 hours' the latter, soon attracted the attention of the scientific waiting, he by means of a ladder assisted the escape of throughout Europe. Geoffroy, a synthesist, contended, in twelve ecclesiastics, not of the number of his acquaintance, accordance with his theory of unity of plan in organic comand then the approach of dawn and the discharge of a guu position, that all animals are formed of the same elements, directed at him warned him, his chief purpose unaccom- in the same number, and with the same connexions: bonoplished, to return to his lodgings. Leaving Paris he retired logous parts, however they differ in form and size, must to Étampes, where, in consequence of the anxieties of which remain associated in the same invariable order. With he had lately been the prey, and the horrors which he had | Goethe he held that there is in nature a law of compensation witnessed, he was for some time seriously ill. At the or balancing of growth, so that if one organ take on an beginning of the winter of 1792 he returned to his studies excess of development, it is at the expense of some other in Paris, and in March of the following year Daubenton, part (cf. Darwin, Origin of Species, 5th ed., p. 182); and be through the interest of Bernardiu de Saint Pierre, procured maintained that, since nature takes no sudden leaps, even him the office of sub-keeper and assistant demonstrator of organs which are superfluous in any given species, if they the cabinet of natural history, vacant by the resignation have played an important part in other species of the same of Lacépède. By a law passed June 10th, 1793, Geoffroy family, are retained as rudiments, which testify to the per. was appointed one of the twelve professors of the newly manence of the general plan of creation. It was his conwnstituted museum of natural history, being assigned the viction that, owing to the conditions of life, the same forms chair of zoology. In the same year he busied himself with had not been perpetuated since the origiu of all things, the formation of a menagerie at that institution. On the although it was not his belief that existing species are 6th May 1794 commenced bis opening course of lectures, becoming modified (see Darwin, op. citi, p. xvi.). Cuvier, and on December 1st he read to the society of natural who was an analytical observer of facts, admitted only the history his first paper, on the subject of the Aye-aye. It prevalence of "laws of coexistence” or “harmony" in was in 1794, also, that through the introduction of Tessier animal organs, and maintained the absolute invariability of he entered into correspondence with Georges Cuvier, to species, which he declared had been created with a regard whom, after the perusal of some of his manuscripts, he to the circumstances in which they were placed, each organ wrote: “Venez jouer parmi nous le rôle de Linné, d'un autre contrived with a view to the function it had to fulfil, thus législateur de l'histoire naturelle.” Shortly after theappoint. putting, in Geoffroy's consideration, the effect for the cause. ment of Cuvier as Mertrud's assistant (see vol. vi. p. 740), In July 1840 Geoffroy became blind, and some months Geoffroy received him into his house. The two friends later he had a paralytic attack. From that time his wrote together five memoirs on natural bistory, one of which, strength gradually failed liin. He resigned his chair at tho on the classification of mammals, puts forward the idea of museum in 1841, and on the 19th June 1844, at the age the subordination of characters upon which Cuvier based of 72, he died. his zoological system. It was in a paper entitled “Histoire Geoffroy wrote--Catalogue des Mammifères du Muséum national des Makis, ou singes de Madagascar," written in 1795, that

d'Histoire naturelle, 1813, not quite completed; Philosophie analo. Geoffroy first gave expression to his views on “ the unity mique; - t. 1, Des organes respiratoires, 1818, & t. ii., Des Monstruo

sités humaines, 1822; Système dentaire des Mammifères et des of organic coroposition,” the influence of which is percep- Oiscaux, l'st pt., 1824; Sur le Principe de l'Unité de Composition tible in all his subsequent writings : nature, he observes, organique, 1828; Cours de l'Histoire naturelle des Mammifères, presents us with only one plan of construction. the same in

1829; Principes de Philosophie zoologique, 1830; Eludes progressives principle, but varied in its accessory parts.

d'un Naturaliste, 1835; Fragments biographiques, 1832; Notions

synthétiques, historiques, et physiologiques de Philosophic naturelle, In 1798 Geoffroy was chosen a member of the great 1838; and other works; also part of the Description de l'Égypte par scientific expedition to Egypt. With Delile and Larrey, la Commission des Sciences, 1821-30; and, with F. Cuvier, Histoire on the capitulation of Alexandria in August 1801, he re

naturelle des Mammifèrcs, 4 vols., 1820-42; besides very numerous sisted the claim made by the British general Hutchinson to

papere published in the Annales du Muséum, tho Ann, des Sci. the collectious of the expedition, sending him word that, philosophique, the Riev. encyclopédique, Mém. đc l'Acad. des Sciences;

nat., the Bulletin philomatique, La Décade égyptienne, La Décade were his demand persisted in, history would have to record and elsewhere, among the subjects of which are the anatomy of of him that he also had burnt a library in Alexandria. marsupials, ruminants, and electrical fishes, the vertebrate theory Early in January 1802 Geoffroy returned to his accustomed

of the skull, the opercula of fishes, teratology, palæontology, and labours in Paris. He was elected a member of the academy

the influence of surroundiug conditions in modifying animal

forms.

Seo Vie, Travaux, et Doctrine Scientifique d'Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilairs, of sciences of that city in September 1807. In March of

par son fils 11. Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire Paris and Strasburg, 1847, 10

which is appended a list of Geoffroy's works; and Joly, in Biog. Unirerselle. the following year the emperor, who had already recognized 6. xvi, 1856. his national services by the award of the cross of the legion GEOFFROY SAINT-HILAIRE, ISIDORE (1805-61), of honour, selected him to visit the museums of Portugal, a French zoologist, son of the preceding, was born at the for the purpose of procuring from them collections, and Jardin des Plantes, Paris, December 16, 1805. In his these, though in the face of considerable opposition from earlier years he showed an aptitude for mathematics

, but the British, he eventually was successful in retaining as a eventnally he devoted himself to the study of patural bispermanent possession for his country. In 1809, the year tory and of medicine, and in 1824 he was appointed assistafter his return to France, he was made professor of zoology ant naturalist to his father. On the occasion of his taking, of the faculty of sciences at Paris, and from that period be the degree of doctor of medicine, September 8, 1829, be

(F. H. B.)

nad a thesis entitled Proposüions sur la monstruosité, con- | father, inspector general of the university (1844), a mem-
sidérée chez l'homme et les animaux; and in 1832–37 was ber of the royal council for public instruction (1845), and,
published Iris great teratological work, Histoire générale et on the death of Blainville, professor of zoology at the
jurticulière des anomalies de l'organisation chez l'homme et faculty of sciences (1850). In 1854 he founded the
les animaux, 3 vols. 8vo, with 20 plates. In 1829 he Acclimatization Society of Paris, of which he was president.
delivered for his father the second part of a course of He died at Paris, November 10, 1861.
lectures on ornithology, and during the three following Besides the above-mentioned works, he wroto-Essais de Zoologie
years he taught zoology at the Athénée, and teratology at générale, 1841; Vie... d Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1847;
the École pratique. He was elected a member of the

Acclimatation et Domestication des Animaux utiles, 1849, 4th ed.,

1861; Lettres sur les substances alimentaires et particulièrement sur academy of sciences at Paris on April 15, 1833, was in

la viande de cheval, 1856; and Histoire naturelle générale des règnes 1837 appointed to act as deputy for his father at the organiques, 3 vols., 1854-62, which was not completed, chap. xx. faculty of sciences in Paris, and in the following year of tome iii. being unfinished. He was the author also of various was sent to Bordeaux to organize a similar faculty there. papers on zoology, comparative anatomy, and palæontology, pub

fished for the most part in the Annales du Muséum, the Mémoires He became successively inspector of the academy of Paris

des Sarants étrangers, the Comptes rendus, and the Dict. des Sciences (1840), professor of the museum on the retirement of his raturelles.

[ocr errors]

GEOGRAPHY
INTRODUCTION.

called Ophir in Scripture, there has been much dispute. G ,

the term being derived from two Greek words yn, the thither and homeward,' and the cargo consisted of gold, earth, and ypáow, to write. By means of geography the ivory, a pes, peacocks, and "algum” wood (1 Kings ix. 26, surface of the earth is delineated and described, boundaries and s. 11). The following reasons lead to the conclusion are defined, areas are exactly measured, and the relative that Ophir was the Malabar coast of India. In the Hebrew positions of places are determined. Geography thus em

the word for apes is koph (without any etymology in Semitic braces a wide range of subjects, and it has been found tongues), in Sanskrit kafi. Ivory in Hebrew is shen-habbim; necessary to divide its study into several distinct sections.

in Sanskrit ibha is an elephant. Peacocks is in Hebrew I. Comparative Geography traces the history of discovery, tokki-im from togei

, the name still used on the Malabar coast, and records the changes which have taken place in land and derived from the Sanskrit

. Algum wood, or almug, is sea in historic times.

corrupted from valgu (ka), sandalwood from Malabar. II

. Mathematical Geography explains the figure, magni- Thus the Phoenicians were the first great carriers of the tude, and motion of the earth, teaches how to determine ancient world, extending their commercial operations from the positions of places on its surface, and shows how the their central mart of Tyre on the Syrian coast to the tinwhole or any portion of the earth may, on the principles of yielding isles of the Cassiterides in the far west, and to the projection, be delineated on a map or chart.

ports of India in the east. IIL Physical Geography is the description of the actual

The great Phænician colony of Carthage retained in full Carthage state of the earth's surface in its three great divisions—land, vigour the commercial spirit of the parent state. The sea, and air.

Carthaginians traded on the coasts of Spain and Gaul, and IV. Political Geography describes the earth as divided extended their discoveries southwards along the coast of into countries, occupied by various nations, and improved Africa, and to the Fortunate Islands, now known as the by human art and industry.

Canaries. Herodotus relates how the Phænicians, setting The following article is limited to a view of the progress when autumn approached they drew their vessels to land,

sail from the Red Sea, made their way to the south, and of geographical discovery, an explanation of the principles sowed a crop, and waited till it was grown, when they of mathematical geography, and a synopsis of physical geography. For details relating to political geography the reaped it and again put to sea. Having spent two years in reader must consult the descriptive articles under their this manner, in the third year they reached the pillars of particular headings.

Hercules and returned to Egypt. But the most celebrated

voyage of antiquity, undertaken for the purpose of discovery, I VIEW OF THE PROGRESS OF GEOGRAPHICAL DISCOVERY.

was the expedition under Hanno, fitted out by the senate

of Carthage with the view of attempting the complete Four main causes have led to geographical discovery and survey of the western coast of Africa. Hanno is said, in exploration, namely, commercial intercourse between dif- the Periplus Hannonis, to have set sail with a fleet of 60 ferent countries, the operations of war, pilgrimages and vessels, and the extent of his voyage has been variously missionary zeal, and in later times the pursuit of knowledge estimated as reaching to the river Nun, to a little beyond for its own sake, which is the highest of all motives. Sierra Leone, and even as far as the Gulf of Benin.

The Phænicians are the earliest commercial people of Another famous navigator, who sailed from the Carthaginian whose discoveries we have any correct accounts. They first colony of Massilia (Marseilles) in about 320 B.C., was explored the shores of the Mediterranean, and eventually Pytkeas. He steered northwards along the coasts of Spain extended their voyages through the Straits of Gibraltar, and and Gaul, sailed round the island of Aìbion, and stretching visited the western shores of Spain and Africa, planting still further to the north, he discovered an island known to colonies and opening wider fields for their commerce by the ancients as Ultima Thule, which may possibly have been instructing the natives in their arts and improvements. the Shetland Isles. They also monopolized the trade with India ; and their chief The conquests of Alexander the Great, by making known Alexanemporiuin, the rich city of Tyre, was the centre whence the the vast empire of Persia

, materially enlarged the bounds der the products of the East and West were distributed. The trade of geographical knowledge. Although the course of his of the West was brought from the port called Tarshish in expedition was mainly by land, the mind of the conqueror Scripture

, which is probably identical with Carthage, where was also intent on commerce and maritime discovery. In the ships arrived from Spain, Africa, and distant Britain. 327 E.C. Alexander led an army of Greeks down the valley Concerning the far eastern land reached by the Phænicians, of the Cabul river into the Punjab, and his expedition

a

Plerus.

Great

ies.

resulted in a voyage of discovery from the mouth of the first half century of our era He and his attendants, Indas to that of the Tigris, and in cpening direct inter- Damis and Philostratus, reached the Indus, and journeying course between Grecian and Hindu civilization. * The across tbe Punjab, came to a bronze pillar with the inscripGreeks who accompanied Alexander were accurate obtion “Here Alexander halted "; but it is doubtful whether servers, and described the towns and villages, the products the party advanced as far the Ganges. It was, however, in and the aspect of the country, with care.

The con

the reigns of Severus and his immediate successors that queror resolved to return through Gedrosia (the modern Roman intercourse with India was at its height. Baluchistan), but he also intended to open the trade In all time, while warriors and explorers extended the Atter by sea' between Europe and India, and his general area of geographical knowledge, there have been students at sy Nearchus, a native of Crete, volunteered to lead this famous who have striven to systematize and put into due form the etizię voyage of discovery. His fleet consisted of 30 galleys con accumulated information. From the first it was perceived taining 2000 men. On October 2, 326 B.C., the feet of that a knowledge of localities could not be attained without Nearchus left the Indus, and the anchorages each night are some notion of their relative positions, and their distances carefully recorded. On the 17th of December Cape Jask from each other. Consequently the attempts to establish was doubled and the fleet entered the Persian Gulf, and on fixed principles on which the surface of the earth, or any the 9th of February it was at the mouth of the Karun. portion of it, could be delineated, were almost coeval with Nearchus rejoined Alexander at Susa ; and the conqueror the earliest voyages of discovery. himself embarked in the feet and ascended the Tigris to The first attempt made to determine the position of places Opis, above Baghdad. He then ordered his successful appears to have depended on the division of the earth into admiral to prepare another expedition for the circumnaviga. | "climates," distinguished by the species of animals and plants tion of Arabia ; but unfortunately the great conqueror died produced in each. This method, however, was soon abanat Babylon in 324 B.C., and the feet was dispersed. doned for another, which consisted in observing at places

The dynasties founded by Alexander's generals, Seleucus, the length of the longest and shortest days by means of a Antiochus, and Ptolemy, encouraged the same spirit of “gnomon." An upright pillar of a known height being enterprise which their master had so carefully fostered, and erected on a level pavement, by observi .g the lengths of the exbended geographical knowledge in several directions. meridian sbadows the progress of the sun from tropic to Seleucus Nicator established the Greco-Bactrian empire, and tropic was traced. The most ancient observation with the continued the intercourse with India. The most authentic gromon is that of Pytheas, in the days of Alexander the information respecting the Gangetic valley was supplied by Great, who observed at the summer solstice at Massilia that Megasthenes, an ambassador sent by Seleucus, who reached the length of the meridian shadow was to the height of the the remots city of Patali-putra, the modern Patna, on the gnomon as 2133 to 600, an observation which makes the Ganges.

meridian altitude of the sun at Marseilles on that day 70° Ptolom. The Ptolemies of Egypt showed equal anxiety to extend 27'. The merit of the invention of the gnomon in Greece

the bounds of geographical knowledge. Ptolemy Euergetes is ascribed to the astronomical school of Miletus ; but there
sent an expedition which discovered Abyssinia, and fitted is reason to believe that this method of observation was
out a fleet under Eudoxus to explore the Arabian Sea. invented in Egypt, and that Thales carried the knowledge
After two successful voyages, Eudoxus left the Egyptian of it into Greece. This was the first step towards conrect-
service, and proceeded to Cadiz with the object of fitting ing geography with astronomy; and attle further advance
out an expedition for the purpose of African discovery; and was made until the establishment of the famous astrono-
we learn from Strabo that the veteran explorer made at mical school of Alexandria.
least two voyages southward along the coast of Africa. The Eratosthenes (276–196 B.c.) was the first who reduced Erako-
Ptolemies sent feets annually from their Red Sea ports of geography to a regular system, and laid its foundations on
Berenice and Myos Hormus to Arabia, as well as to ports clear and solid principles. Under the patronage of the
on the coasts of Africa and India

Ptolemies he bad access to all the materials collected by Romans. The Romans did not encourage navigation and commerce Alexander and his generals. The doctrine of the sphericity

with the same ardour as their predecessors ; still the luxury of the earth had by this time been adopted, and the aim of of Rome, which gave rise to demands for the varied pro his labours was to delineate, in conformity with this prinducts of all the countries of the known world, led to an ciple, the known parts of the earth's surface. Founding his active trade both by ships and caravans. But it was the system on the use of the gnomon, he sopposed a line to be military genius of Rome, and the ambition for universal traced through certain places, in all of which the longest empire, which led not only to the discovery but also to the day was known to be exactly of the same length. Such a survey of nearly all Europe, and of large tracts in Asia and line would evidently. be a parallel to the equator. This first Africa. Every new war produced a new survey and parallel passed through Rhodes, and was ever afterwards itinerary of the countries which were conquered. In the adopted as the basis of ancient maps. Eratosthenes conheight of their power the Romans had surveyed and ex- tinued his work by tracing other parallels at certain intervals plored all the coasts of the Mediterranean, Italy, Greece, the from the first, one through Alexandria, another through Balkan peninsula, Spain, Gaul, western Germany, and Syene, a third through Meroe. He also traced, at right Britain ; but the eastern parts of Germany, Denmark, angles to these, a meridian passing through Rhodes and Sweden, and Russia were still unknown regions. In Africa Alexandria, southwards to Syene and Meroe. As the protheir empire included Egypt, Carthage, Numidia, and gress which he thus made towards the completion of what Mauritania In Asia they held Asia Minor and Syria, had he had so skilfully conceived naturally tended to enlarge his sent expeditions into Arabia, and were acquainted with the ideas concerning geographical science, he attempted next more distant countries formerly overrun by Alexander

, to determine the circumference of the globe by the actual namely, Persia, Scythia, Bactria, and India. Roman inter- measurement of a segment of one of its great circles. course with India especially led to the extension of geo- Posidonius made another measurement of an arc of the Posi. graphical knowledge.

meridian between Rhodes and Alexandrig about 170 years The first Roman who undertook a journey to India was afterwards ; but the amount of error in the calculations of Bolely influenced by the desire to acquire a knowledge of Eratosthenes and Posidonius is uncertain, for want of a the people and their doctrines. This was Apollonius, a knowledge of the true length of the stadium in which their resident at Autioch, who set out towards the close of the results are expressed. The ancients made their first meri

[ocr errors]

donius

[ocr errors]
« EelmineJätka »