Geography

Barker, Elton (2021). Geography. John Wiley & Sons.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118689585.ch7

Abstract

Though the term geographia is not used until Eratosthenes (third century B.C.E.), the idea is present in Herodotus’ immediate predecessors, Scylax of Caryanda and Hecataeus, the title of whose works indicate the “going around the world” (periodos gēs) so important to Herodotus’ own investigative process. Recent scholarship has challenged the idea of space as a static container for human activity and promoted its study as a cultural product as heterogeneous and subjective as time. By promising to take account of both great and small cities on the basis that “human fortune never stays in the same place” (1.5.4), Herodotus acknowledges the intertwining of geography and history and even uses a spatial metaphor to suggest the complexity of historical inquiry. Thus attention has turned to investigating how geography functions within the Histories: how it structures Herodotus’ narrative, what ideological frameworks underpin his spatial understanding, and how geographical thinking impacts his writing.

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