Mar 31, 2013

Contributions of Greeks

1. Homer - “Father of Geography” in Greek period. Wrote Illiad & Odyssey. Believed earth to be a circular floor surrounded by oceans on all sides. Boreas (N), Eurus(E), Notus (S), Zephyrus (W) winds

2. Thales (624-548 B.C.) - Six Geometric Theorems. Earth disc floating in water. Water essence of all matter. Reported magnetism of a loadstone.

3. Anaximander - Disciple of Thales. Introduction of ‘Gnomon’ – today called sundial. First to draw a map of the world to scale with Greece at center. Thales & Anaximander founded mathematical geography.

4. Democritus - Introduced a theory of origin of universe based on atoms in the void.

5. Pythagoras - Rotation of earth on its axis.

6. Hecataeus - Originated literary tradition in geography. First writer in Greek prose. Wrote “Ges Periodos”. Laid the foundation of regional geography.

7. Herodotus - Opposed Hecataeus. First great historian. Nile mud causes delta & winds blow from colder places to warmer places. Regarded Caspian sea as an inland sea. Considered earth as circular plate in water. First to draw a meridian on the world map. First to divide the world into three land masses- Europe, Asia & Libya

8. Plato (428-348 BC)- Master of deductive reasoning. First to announce the concept of round earth located in the centre of the universe with celestial bodies revolving around it.

9. Aristotle (384-322 BC) - Master of inductive thought. Accepted Plato’s concept of spherical earth & sought explanation for it (eclipse, pole star). Interested in mathematical geography

10. Alexander - Studied with Aristotle for only 3 years.

11. Theophrastus - Special interest was in meteorology.

12. Eratosthenes (276-194 BC) - Father of Geography & coined the term “Geography”. Calculation of
the circumference of the earth. Wrote Ekumene in which he accepted two torrid zone, two temperate & two frizid zones. He improved on Aristotle by giving mathematical boundaries to these zones.

13. Polybius - Interested mainly in physical geography.

14. Hipparachus - Succeeded Eratosthenes as chief Librarian. First to divide a circle into 360 degrees. Defined grid of latitude & longitude. Pointed equator as a great circle & longitude too. Wrested with the problem of showing curved surface area on a flat surface. Designed orthographic & stereographic projections. Invented Astrolabe to determine latitude using pole star. Discovered the precision of the equinoxes.

15. Posidonius - Refuted the idea that equator region was uninhabitable. Wrote a book ‘the Ocean’ & was considered an authority on oceanography.

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