Skip to main content
The Portrait of Homer in Strabo's Geography
Classical Philology
  • Lawrence Kim, Trinity University
Document Type
Publication Date

Strabo’s Geography, as anyone who has perused it will know, is suffused with a profound, nearly obsessive, interest in Homer. The desire to demonstrate Homer’s knowledge of geographical information at every turn (even where it seems prima facie unlikely) is matched only by the determination with which Strabo “solves” notorious problems of Homeric geography such as the location of Nestor’s Pylos or the identity of the “Ethiopians divided in twain” visited by Poseidon. Strabo’s concentration on such arcana, often to the exclusion of more properly “geographical” material, has understandably exasperated many modern readers with different ideas about what constitutes geography. On the other hand, the overwhelming geographical focus of his Homeric criticism has rendered his extensive comments of only passing interest to scholars of ancient poetic criticism; at best they provide evidence for the methodological principles of a writer “conditioned by the dominant position of Homer’s poetry in Greek life to regard Homer as knowledgeable and trustworthy in matters of geography also.”

Document Object Identifier (DOI)
University of Chicago Press
Citation Information
Kim, L. (2007). The portrait of Homer in Strabo's Geography. Classical Philology, 102(4), 363-388. doi:10.1086/588505