Herodotus Contribution to Geography Notes By NETSET CORNER

Herodotus Contribution to Geography

Herodotus (The Father of History) (485-425 BC):

Essentially he was historian but he contributed appreciably in the field of Geography, it was he who said, “History must be treated geographically, and all Geography must be treated historically.”  Anthropologists consider him as the foremost anthropologist. He presented a vivid portrayal of cultural traits of people who were unknown to Greeks. He wrote most of his works in Athens.

He visited Italy, Asia Minor, Persian Empire, Babylone, Egypt and Libya. His idea about shape of the Earth was not in conformity with that of Hecataeus. He belonged to the Pythagorean School of Thought and thus tried to establish a symmetrical correspondence in the distribution of land and the sources and direction of the Ister (Danube) and Nile river. He divided the world into two continents in which Europa has been taken equivalent to Libya (Africa) and Asia . The meridian he drew passed through the mouth of the Nile and the delta of Danube. Thus, he was the first who drew the meridian in the world map. He was the first scholar who declared Caspian as a closed sea (lake). He said Egypt ia a gift of river Nile where he emphasized that silt and mud of river lead to the development of delta. He gave a good account of the Royal-Road-Sardis to Susa. His main contribution was in the Historical, Regional, and Human Geography.

He believed that the Sun was driven southward out of its regular course by the winds at the advent of winter season. He also tried to establish a relationship between temperature and the movement of winds. First time gave concept on winds moves from cold to hot places.

According to him, the western coast of Libya (Africa) was occupied by primitive tribes with whom Carthagean practised “dumb trade” Herodotus divided the interior parts of Africa into three latitudinal zones:

  • the Mediterranean, coast-from the Atlas mountains to the Nile delta,
  • the zone of wild beasts’ (land of dates), and
  • the Sahara desert

Herodotus also mentioned that there are five oases in the Sahara Desert, they lies at a distance 10 day journey from one another.

Key Points on Herodotus:

[1] He is regarded as Father of History.

[2] Ethnographer

[3] He advocated that ‘All history must be treated geographically and all geography must be treated historically.’

[4] First Scholar to draw a meridian in the world map

[5] First scholar who regarded Caspian Sea as an inland sea.

[6] Shape of the Earth – Flat disc

[7] Divided world landmass into three continents Europe, Asia and Libya.

[8] Egypt is a gift of river Nile

[9] First time gave concept on winds moves from cold to hot places.

N.B- Notes will be updated time to time

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