Hecateaeus Contribution to Geography
Hecateaeus (the Father of Geography) (550 BC – 476 BC)
A resident of Miletus (near Izmir-Turkey), Hecateaeus is known as the “Father of Geography”. He was essentially a trader, who gathered information about geographical facts from the Greek colonies and unknown distant places. He visited Egypt and numerous places in South-West Asia, Greece, and the island in the Mediterranean Sea.
He was the first prose writer. His major work is ‘Ges-periods’ which is the first systematic description of the world. He described the geography of the world into two parts: (i) Europa, and (ii) Libya (Africa including Asia).
For the first time he gave two approaches for the study of Geography i. e (i) Nomothetic Approach or law making approach & (ii) Idiographic Approach (Descriptive).
The division between Europe and Libya was made by Hellespont. Euxine (Black Sea), Caucasus Mountain, and the Caspian Sea. He treated Caspian as an inland-sea.
About the shape of the Earth, he maintained the traditional view of the Ionian philosopher’s that the Earth is a circular plane. His world map was based on the map prepared by Anaximander. He was not familiar with the cities of Babylonia, though he gave some geographic information about India also.
Key Points on Hecateaeus:
 He is known as Father of Geography.
 His main book is Ges-Periods (Description of the Earth)
 He was the first writer of Greek prose.
 His work Periplus (Greek word) meaning coastal survey.
 He divided world into two parts: (i) Europa, and (ii) Libya (Africa including Asia).
 Hecateaus gave two approaches in geography – a. Nomothetic (Law making) b. Idiographic (Descriptive)
 Earth is a circular plane.
N.B- Notes will be updated time to time
PDF Name: Hecateaus Contribution to Geography Notes by Netset Corner
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