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stroy; magicians, who transformed men to wild beasts; these, probably, are only a highly colored repetition of the terrific rumors brought by the few who had returned from those savage coasts.

posed to rest on the summits of the highest moun- quivering limbs; delusive sirens, who lured but to detains. The sun, moon, and stars were supposed to rise from the waves of the sea, and set in them on their descent from the heavens. It was believed that those who lived in the remote west could hear at evening the hissing noise made by the sun dipping into the ocean, as if that orb had been a mass of red hot metal.


Impressions of gloomy darkness, and even of death, are, in certain moods of the human mind, associated with images of distance and obscurity. These influences gave birth to the fable of the Cimmerians, a people who are described by Homer as dwelling in perpetual darkness, and never illumined by the cheerful rays of the sun. Their chief residence was supposed to be on the straits, at the mouth of the Sea of

Geography of Homer - Of Herodotus- The Azoph, the most northern point, probably, of which Milesian and Samian Schools.

rumor had spoken in the poetical ages, and which was called the Cimmerian Bosphorus. Other fabulous In the poems of Homer we find the earth described creations, springing from those of Homer, continued as entirely surrounded by water. The geography of long to hold a place in ancient geography. The this poet, however, was very limited. He was well Cyclops, with one eye, were placed in Sicily; the Ariacquainted with the southern parts of Greece and the maspians, of the same character, on the frontier of western coast of Asia Minor, but, beyond these limits, India, and in the remotest extremity of Africa; the everything appears doubtful and obscure. Some grand Pygmies, or Dwarfs, who fought pitched battles with and distant features, discernible through the gloom, the cranes, were supposed to dwell in Asia Minor, in are exaggerated and distorted by ignorance and super- Libya, in India, and the north of Europe. stition. Thebes, the mighty capital of Egypt when The system of geography embraced in the history that kingdom was in its greatest glory, is celebrated of Herodotus is as complete as could be formed from for its hundred gates, and the hosts of warriors which the materials within his reach. It comprises a genthey sent forth to battle. Beyond lay the Ethiopians, deemed the most remote of men, dwelling on the furthest verge of the earth, and to whose distant confines Jupiter repaired to hold an annual festival.

eral summary of all that he could learn respecting the residence of mankind. His information was obtained, not merely from books, but from travelling; the only mode, in fact, by which, at that era, geographical knowledge could be procured in any completeness. He assures us, that he had visited Persia, Assyria, Egypt, Thrace, Scythia, and all the distant regions which he describes. He viewed them, however, only as tracts of territory, the abode of so many tribes of men, and did not attempt to combine them into any geographical system.

In the western part of the same continent, the stupendous ridges of Atlas had excited, in Grecian fancy, the image of a gigantic deified being, to whom was intrusted the support of the heavens. Even further to the west, the exploits and wanderings of the great Grecian demigod had conveyed a tradition of the strait leading into the ocean, and of the rocks on each side, celebrated as the Pillars of Hercules. On the The division of the earth into three portions, or east, Colchos was distinguished by Homer for its early continents, was in the time of Herodotus completely wealth and commerce. It was regarded as an ocean-formed. Europe and Asia had acquired the names city, and here was believed to be the palace of the which they now bear. Africa was called Libya; it Sun, where, during the night, he gave rest to his was not till the time of the Romans that the name of coursers, and from whence, in the morning, he drove the small district of Africa Proper, in which Carthage his chariot on its diurnal career. Colchos must, was situated, began to extend itself till it finally emtherefore, have been regarded by Homer as placed on braced the whole continent. Herodotus declares, that the most eastern verge of the earth. Europe is larger than Asia and Libya together. It is clear that his knowledge of Asia was very circumscribed. He knew nothing of Further India, Thibet, China, Eastern Tartary, or Siberia, which constitute more than half the continent. In Africa he knew nothing with accuracy beyond the limits of Egypt. The whole of Asia, north of the Caspian Sea, he considered as belonging to Europe.

On the north, Rhodope, or the Riphean Mountains, appeared to be a chain of indefinite extent, closing in the hyperborean limits of the world. The poet, however, had heard a vague report of the Scythians, under the description of a people living on mare's milk. The ships which conveyed the Greek army to Troy were, evidently, only large boats, and all distant voyages, or those in which the mariners lost sight of land, were considered as fraught with the extremest peril. A navigation to Africa or Sicily only happened when a vessel was driven thither by storm, and a return from these shores was deemed almost miraculous.

The astronomical schools of Miletus and Samos appear to have made the first attempts to form geography into a system, and to illustrate it by astronomy. These, and other cities of Asia Minor, rank high among the early seats of commerce, and they established colonies in various quarters of the MediterraIn regard to Sicily, indeed, Homer has largely nean and the Euxine. While they continued indecommunicated his ideas, having made it the chief pendent, they were very wealthy and prosperous, and theatre of the woes and wanderings of Ulysses. their citizens cultivated the sciences with ardor and Making every allowance for poetical license, we see success. To a commercial people, practical matheevident traces of an excited and terrified state of mind matics, and especially those branches subservient to in the navigators who returned from these shores. geography and navigation, must have been peculiarly Monsters of strange form and magnitude, who watched interesting. Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, and for the destruction of the mariner, and fed upon his Pythagoras, are celebrated by their countrymen as the



inventors of all the processes by which the phenomena | much greater degree of expansion to the human mind. of the globe are calculated. The gnomon, or sun-dial, That monarch's career of conquest led him into what for ascertaining the progress of the sun from tropic to was then thought to be the remotest region of the tropic, and, finally, the latitude of particular places, the East. The Greeks thus became acquainted with the division of the year into 365 days and into four sea- northern parts of India, and the adjacent countries. sons, are represented as having originated in this Nearchus, the admiral of Alexander, first opened to school. It appears doubtful, however, whether these his countrymen the view of the Indian Ocean. discoveries were due to the sole exertions of the Greeks, or were borrowed from the Egyptians and Chaldeans, whose fame, amid the dim traditions of antiquity, stands preeminent for astronomical observation.


the same time, Pythias, a Greek of Marseilles, sailed from Gades, now Cadiz, to Thule, the most northern country known to the ancients, and supposed to have been either Iceland or Norway.

Eratosthenes, B. C. 230, at length succeeded in The distinction of climate seems to have formed the reducing geography to a system, under the patronage first foundation of a geographical division of the earth, of the Ptolemies of Egypt, which gave him access to all and the climate was determined by the species of ani- the materials collected by Alexander, his generals and mals and plants produced in each. Thus, the negro, successors, and to the immense mass of documents the rhinoceros, and the elephant, were considered as assembled in the Alexandrian library. The astrocharacteristics of the torrid zone. This very loose nomical observations made in this school were now method soon gave place to another, which was based sufficient to prove the globular form of the earth. on observations, at sundry places, of the length of the Proceeding upon this principle, he made it his study to longest and shortest days. This could be done with adjust to it all the known features of the globe. Hipaccuracy only by a gnomon, or dial, erected on a hori- parchus, B. C. 128, carried this system still further, zontal plane, and showing, by the length or shortness and subjected the whole science of geography to asof its shadow, the elevation of the sun above the hori- tronomical principles. His labors in numbering the zon. There is reason to believe that this simple in- stars, and arranging them according to their places in strument was employed by the Egyptians; it has the heavens, were such as appeared marvellous to the even been imagined by some that the pyramids were ancients, and are esteemed by Pliny as achievements only huge sun-dials. Thales and his disciples, how- that would have been arduous, even for a god. Hipever, doubtless made large additions to whatever parchus appears to have first conceived the notion of astronomical knowledge they derived from Egypt. transferring the observed latitudes and longitudes of Two books, one on the tropics, and the other on the the stars to their corresponding places on the earth's equinoxes, are reported to have been written by Thales surface, thus fixing the latter with a precision wholly himself. The degree of knowledge thus obtained unknown before. enabled him to discover the error of the vulgar notion that the earth is a plane surface, but he did not fully conceive the idea of its spherical form. Anaximander viewed it as a cylinder; some believed it to be shaped like a boat; others compared it to a lofty mountain. The cosmography of Pythagoras placed the sun in the centre of the system, with the earth moving round it. This knowledge was subsequently lost for many ages, and only recovered at a far more advanced stage of human science.

CHAPTER XXII. Eratosthenes-Greek and Roman Geography -Pliny, Pomponius Mela, and Ptolemy.

But, in tracing the outline of the known world, and especially of the continents, geographers still proceeded amid obscurity and doubt. The great ocean of Homer and Herodotus, surrounding the world, still remained in their system. This idea was, doubtless, supported by facts to a considerable extent, but its application to the world in general was a mere hypothesis. Eratosthenes, in comparing the magnitude of the known world in his time with the general circumference of the earth, became sensible that only a third part of the space was filled up. He indulged in conjectures as to the contents of this vast unknown region, which he supposed might either consist of one great ocean, the whole of which he denominates the Atlantic, or of land and islands which might be discovered in sailing westward.

The Roman geographers never attained to any proficiency in the mathematical branch of the science. They made no attempt, therefore, to combine their materials into one harmonious system, or to fix their positions with that strict accuracy which astronomical observation alone can reach. Yet no nation employed greater diligence in the operations of practical survey. The geographical researches of the Romans were, however, held strictly subservient to their ambitious designs of universal conquest. Itineraries, or plans of roads, were, therefore, the only form in which the results of these investigations were presented.


According to Vegetius, when the Romans were THE geography of the Greeks was, at first, little about to make war upon any country, their first care more than a topographical delineation of military was to procure a complete set of routes, and place routes; and, as they never cultivated mathematical them in the hands of the general. These itineraries science with any great care, they had no power of contained, not merely the distances between one place arranging even these limited materials into a system- and another, but the quality of the roads, the surroundatic form. The expedition of Alexander gave a ing objects, the mountains and rivers, delineated with



the utmost precision. These were not only described | which he adopted were strictly correct, for though, as accurately in language, but were drawn and painted, an astronomer, his theory of the whole universe was that the commanders might have before their eyes the essentially false, yet, in two very important points, he route by which they were to proceed. The Romans had arrived at the truth, namely, the globular form of became thus the surveyors, as well as the conquerors, the earth, and the revolution of the heavenly bodies. of the world. Every new war in which they engaged, Ptolemy was the first geographer who combined toevery new conquest which their arms achieved, pro-gether all the sound views of his predecessors, and duced a fresh accumulation of materials for the use of formed out of them a just and harmonious delineation. the geographer. Even after a country was subdued, He rejected the old theory which represented the the necessity for accurate survey did not cease. The earth as enclosed by a circumambient ocean. Merempire was long held in a state of mere military oc-cantile caravans, especially in the east of Asia, had cupation. Camps formed at proper distances were now proceeded considerably beyond that line which connected by those excellent and durable roads, many had been considered the shore of the eastern ocean. of which remain to this day. An accurate acquaint- In Ptolemy's map, therefore, the Eastern Atlantic and ance with the positions and intervals of these camps, Northern Oceans were expunged, and an undefined and the nature of the intervening districts, was essen-expanse of unknown territory was substituted as the tial to the maintenance of their dominion over the vast boundary of the world. Africa was represented as extent of their conquered territories. extending indefinitely south, and was even carried When Julius Cæsar became master of the republic, round to join the east of Asia, and form the Erythrean he immediately gave orders for a general survey of or Indian Sea, into a vast basin. In Asia, Ptolemy the Roman world. Twenty-five years were occupied had obtained some faint knowledge of Further India in this task, which was, perhaps, delayed somewhat and China. In Europe he gives a comparatively by the civil wars that followed the assassination of the accurate account of the British Islands, but he supdictator. But the exact principles upon which the poses the Baltic to be an open sea, which he denomigrand measurement was conducted have not been nates the Sarmatic Ocean. mentioned by any writer now extant. Pomponius Mela, and Pliny the Elder, wrote geographical works during the first century. Mela adopted the general principles of the school of Eratosthenes, incorporating into it the new features which had been furnished by Roman conquest. He does not appear to have comprehended the idea of the globular form of the earth, and he adhered to the old belief of a circumambient ocean. He made a vague division of the world into east, west, and north, distributing the whole into five zones two temperate, one torrid, and two frigid. Only the first two were habitable, and that on the south was inaccessible to man, on account of the torrid regions intervening.


Geography of the Middle Ages— The Saracens.

THE science of geography, during the middle ages, passed into new hands. The Saracens were, for some time, the most learned of nations. As the mantle of science dropped from the sages of Greece and Rome, it fell upon the wild and strange Arab race,-sprung from the bosom of bigotry and barbarism. The fanatic hordes, who, under the guidance of Mahomet, rushed Mela, however, seems to have had a very confused from the burning deserts of the south, owned no law notion of the antipodes, whom he calls antichthones. In but the Koran and the sword. When they had contreating of the western shores of Europe, and the "huge quered half the known world, however, and founded and infinite sea" on which they border, he relates powerful and splendid monarchies in the east and with exaggerating wonder the phenomenon, unknown west, there arose among them a race of princes, of to a Mediteranean people, of the tides; that mighty humane temper and polished manners, who sought to movement by which the sea alternately advances and light anew the almost extinguished lamp of science. returns into itself, overflowing the land, driving back mighty rivers, and sweeping away the strongest land animals. His speculations on the cause are singular; and he comes to the conclusion, that either the earth is a great animal, whose breathings excite in its breast these alternate movements, or it contains deep caves, which alternately absorb and eject the waters

The Arabian authors applied themselves with great ardor to the study of geography. Masudi and Ebn Haukal, in the ninth and tenth centuries, and Abulfeda and Edrisi, in the twelfth and thirteenth, deserve particular mention. The mathematical sciences, and especially astronomy, were among the favorite pursuits of the court of Bagdad. In the year 833, the Khalif Pliny, the most learned of the Roman writers, ap- Al Mamoun endeavored, by observations of latitude pears to have possessed a greater store of authentic made at Kufa, and at a point in the desert of Palmyra, materials for geography than any former writer. The to measure the circumference of the globe. In all the different authors from which he compiled his Natural countries subject to the Mahometan arms, numerous History amounted to 2500. Two books of this work observations are recorded, which, though not always are devoted to the subject of geography. But he em- rigorously correct, appear, at least, to have been real. ploys no astronomical elements, and appears to have Many countries, before unknown and barbarous, were taken no pains to construct a regular system. His explored, and in some degree civilized by the Moslem general ideas are founded on the same basis with that arms. The territories on the Oxus and Jaxartes, the of Mela. Asiatic Scythia of the ancients, and occupied then Ptolemy, the last and greatest of the geographers only by wandering hordes, were covered by the Maof antiquity, lived about the middle of the second cen- hometans with large and flourishing cities. Among tury. He instituted a complete reform of the science, these, Samarcand became afterwards the capital of an and undertook to purify it from all the false elements empire that extended over half of Asia. At the oppowith which it had been alloyed. In fact, the principles site extremity of the Saracen dominion, Mauritania,


43 which had been regarded by the Romans as almost | The picture which they drew of it was highly colored, beyond the limits of social existence, became a flour- according to the Oriental taste. The walls were repishing kingdom, and possessed in Fez an eminent resented to be of iron, cemented with brass, and conschool of learning. Even beyond the limits of the taining a gate fifty cubits high, secured by bolts and Mahometan world, missions were sent to explore the bars of enormous magnitude. The curiosity of the remote countries of the east and west. Arabians was thus set at rest, and in all their subse

The Arabian geographers, however, notwithstand-quent maps and descriptions of Asia, the mighty casing the new facts within their reach, attached them-tle of Gog and Magog was seen towering at its further selves closely to the ancient theories. They revived extremity. the early impression of an all-surrounding ocean. This, according to a natural feeling, was characterized as the "Sea of Darkness," an appellation most usually

given to the Atlantic; but the northern sea of Europe



and Asia, inspiring still more mysterious and gloomy Geographical Discoveries down to the Present ideas, was called the "Sea of Pitchy Darkness." Edrisi imagined the land to be floating in the sea, and only part appearing above, like an iceberg. At the same time, he divided the water into seven seas, appropriated to the seven climates into which the earth was divided.


In the geography of the Arabs, the boundaries of Asia are much enlarged by new discoveries. China makes a distinct appearance, partly under the appellation of Seen, and partly under that of Cathay. Under the former term was probably included Further India. They also mention an island productive in camphor, gold, ivory, and dye-woods, named Lamery; this was, doubtless, Sumatra. Another island is mentioned under the name of Al Djavah, in which we have no difficulty in recognizing Java. Eastern and Western Tartary are for the first time delineated with tolerable accuracy in the Arabian geographies. Many of the leading positions in this hitherto inaccessible part of the continent were fixed by astronomical observation, and some positive, though faint and indistinct notice, appears to have been obtained respecting the people situated along the shores of the Northern Ocean.

A very singular circumstance is connected with the geographical discoveries of the Saracens. The main objects of curiosity and inquiry were Gog and Magog. Oriental fancy had transformed these imaginary beings into two enormous giants, who had erected an impregnable castle on the borders of Scythia. The efforts made by the court of Bagdad in pursuit of this chimera were most extraordinary.

The first expedition to discover the castle of Gog and Magog was undertaken with the hope of finding it somewhere on the shore of the Caspian Sea. But as the Saracen conquests soon embraced the whole of that region, without disclosing the slightest trace of this tremendous fortress, the more southern country of Bokhara was the next field of research. When that also had been surveyed in vain, the court was involved in much perplexity. At length, one of the Khalifs dispatched a mission, with strict injunctions on no account to return without having discovered the mysterious castle. The envoys, according to the account of Edrisi, proceeded first along the shores of the Caspian, then through a vast extent of desert, probably the country of the Kirghises, when they arrived at a stupendous range of mountains, which must have been the Altai chain. Here they found, or pretended to find, something which they concluded to be the castle of Gog and Magog. Perhaps this was one of the ancient structures or monuments which have been seen by travellers along the mountain barrier. The envoys gladly seized so plausible a pretext for ridding themselves of their very troublesome commission.

EUROPE, during the period which followed the overthrow of the Roman empire, was overwhelmed with a deluge of barbarism, and no longer cultivated the liberal arts. The rude states into which it was divided had only a vague idea of each other's situation. The monasteries, during the dark ages, afforded an asylum for all that remained of ancient knowledge. The missions undertaken for the conversion of the northern pagans were the principal means by which geographical knowledge was acquired. The missionaries did not, at first, attempt to pass the limits of Europe, but directed their efforts towards the conversion of the Slavonic tribes, who occupied Poland, Prussia, and Livonia. One of these, named Other, appears to have penetrated through the interior of Russia to the White Sea, and along the coast of Norway. Otho and Anscaire visited Sweden and Denmark. But although the monks did something to illustrate the geography of Europe, there is sufficient evidence that they were in general grossly ignorant, and that many of them knew not even the capital of their own country, or the names of the cities in their immediate neighborhood.

Charlemagne and Alfred distinguished themselves by their efforts to rescue the age from this profound ignorance. The former constructed a silver table of large dimensions, on which was delineated the whole world as far as was known to him. Unfortunately, the material was too costly for his finances, and the silver world was afterwards melted down to supply the necessities of state. Alfred produced a more valuable monument in a description of the north of Europe, compiled from the best materials which could be then

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collected, and which forms still the best record of the geographical knowledge of that age.

imprisoned by Alexander the Great. The Caspian Sea, with the bordering countries of Georgia, Hyrcania The Danes and Norwegians, under the name of and Albania, stand nearly at the northern boundary Northmen, acquired considerable knowledge of the of the habitable earth. Africa has a sea to the south, maritime parts of northern Europe. They were stated to be inaccessible on account of the heat. familiar with the countries bordering on the Baltic. The Tartar conquests of Zingis Khan and his sucThey conquered and explored the Orkney and Shet-cessors, in the 12th and 13th centuries, attracted the land Islands, the Hebrides, and the western coast of eyes of Europeans to the regions of Central Asia. Ireland. They discovered Iceland and Greenland, and Embassies were sent from the pope into those distant established colonies there. In the south their fleets countries, and by this means a large portion of Asia, even reached the shores of Italy and Sicily. In the before unknown to Europe, was explored. Marco west they discovered a portion of the American conti- Polo, a Venetian, was the first person who communinent, to which they gave the name of Vinland. This, cated to Europeans any distinct knowledge of the however, is a subject of controversy among geographers. great empire of China. He travelled to that country The study of geography was promoted in an espe- by land, on a mercantile expedition, in the 13th cencial manner by the crusades. These expeditions tury, and returned by way of the Indian Archiformed a series of events which roused the European pelago, visiting Sumatra, and the coasts of Malabar mind from its local and limited range, and directed its and Coromandel. Marco acquired a great amount of scrutinies into the regions of another continent. Not geographical information, but his descriptions of China only the Holy Land, with the kingdoms of Jerusalem were for a long time discredited, though they have and Edessa, founded by the crusaders, but the exten- been confirmed by more modern observation. sive domains belonging to the Saracen and Turkish But geography was now to assume a new aspect, empires, became objects of inquiry. Search was now and worlds before unknown were to be included in its made into the writings of the ancient geographers, domain. At the close of the 15th century the Amerand perhaps some light was derived from the Saracen ican continent was discovered by Columbus, and the authors. In a map constructed by Sanudo, a Venetian passage to India by the Cape of Good Hope was of the 13th century, Jerusalem is placed in the centre effected by Vasco de Gama. A few years afterwards of the world, as the point to which every other object Magellan explored the great Pacific Ocean, and his is to be referred. The earth is represented as a circle ship sailed round the globe, returning to Europe by surrounded by the ocean. Persia stands in its proper the route of the East Indies. The spherical form of place, but India is confusedly repeated at different the earth, which had for some time been no longer points. The river Indus is given as the eastern doubtful to men of science, was thus demonstrated. boundary of Asia. In the north the castle of Gog Of the minor geographical discoveries at subsequent and Magog crowns a vast range of mountains, within periods, mention will be made in the course of the which it was believed that the Tartars had been following history.

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