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04-Jul-2017 04:54

Both men's figures for the Earth's circumference were uncannily accurate, aided in each case by mutually compensating errors in measurement.

However, the version of Posidonius' calculation popularised by Strabo was revised by correcting the distance between Rhodes and Alexandria to 3,750 stadia, resulting in a circumference of 180,000 stadia, or 18,000 miles (29,000 km).

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He measured the Earth's circumference by reference to the position of the star Canopus.

Ptolemy discussed and favored this revised figure of Posidonius over Eratosthenes in his Geographia, and during the Middle Ages scholars divided into two camps regarding the circumference of the Earth, one side identifying with Eratosthenes' calculation and the other with Posidonius' 180,000 stadion measure.

The Geographica first appeared in Western Europe in Rome as a Latin translation issued around 1469.

Although Strabo referenced the antique Greek astronomers Eratosthenes and Hipparchus and acknowledged their astronomical and mathematical efforts towards geography, he claimed that a descriptive approach was more practical.

Geographica provides a valuable source of information on the ancient world, especially when this information is corroborated by other sources.

Hecataeus described the countries and inhabitants of the known world, the account of Egypt being particularly comprehensive; the descriptive matter was accompanied by a map, based upon Anaximander's map of the earth, which he corrected and enlarged.