Posidonius Contribution to Geography by NETSET CORNER

Posidonius Contribution to Geography

[11] Posidonius (135-50 BC):

Posidonius was an important Greek historian, astronomer, geographer and teacher. He wrote a book ‘The Ocean’.

He made two important contributions, out of which one was later proved wrong, while the other was right, but it was overlooked for a long time.

Firstly, he recalculated the circumference of the Earth and at a much smaller figure than that of Eratosthenes. He greatly overestimated the West to East distance from the Westernmost part of Europe to the Eastern extremity of the ekumene (the habitable Earth), then thought to be occupied by India. He therefore said that a ship sailing westward from European coast of Atlantic would reach the East coast of India after a journey in search of India, which finally ended at the Eastern coast of America.

Secondly, Posidonius contradicted the view of Aristotle that the equatorial part of the torrid zone was inhabitable because of heat. He insisted that the areas of highest temperature were located near the tropics and temperature near equator are much less extreme. He pointed out that the overhead Sun pauses the longest near the tropics and is overhead at the equator for a much shorter time.

Key Points on Hipparchus

[1] He wrote a book ‘The Ocean’.


N.B- Notes will be updated time to time

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