History of Science & Knowledge

Ptolemy's Geography: An Annotated Translation of the Theoretical Chapters

    Translated by
  • J. Lennart Berggren
  • Alexander Jones


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Jun 16, 2020
13 maps, 20 line Illus., 2 tables, 8 halftones
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Ptolemy’s Geography is the only book on cartography to have survived from the classical period and one of the most influential scientific works of all time. Written in the second century AD, for more than fifteen centuries it was the most detailed topography of Europe and Asia available and the best reference on how to gather data and draw maps. Ptolemy championed the use of astronomical observation and applied mathematics in determining geographical locations. But more importantly, he introduced the practice of writing down coordinates of latitude and longitude for every feature drawn on a world map, so that someone else possessing only the text of the Geography could reproduce Ptolemy’s map at any time, in whole or in part, at any scale.

Here Berggren and Jones render an exemplary translation of the Geography and provide a thorough introduction, which treats the historical and technical background of Ptolemy’s work, the contents of the Geography, and the later history of the work.