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Strabo〔''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus) was a term employed by the Romans for anyone whose eyes were distorted or deformed. The father of Pompey was called "Pompeius Strabo". A native of Sicily so clear-sighted that he could see things at great distance as if they were nearby was also called "Strabo."〕 (; (ギリシア語:Στράβων) ''Strabōn''; 64/63 BC – c. AD 24), was a Greek geographer, philosopher, and historian.
Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus (modern Amasya, Turkey),〔''Geography'' Book XII Chapter 3 Section 15, "Amaseia, my fatherland".〕 a city that he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea. Pontus had recently fallen to the Roman Republic, and although politically he was a proponent of Roman imperialism, Strabo belonged on his mother's side to a prominent family whose members had held important positions under the resisting regime of King Mithridates VI of Pontus.〔Pontus fell to the Roman general Pompey in 63 BC and, after the murder or suicide of Mithridates VI of Pontus (otherwise known as Mithridates the Great), was broken up into smaller provinces in 64 BC. Strabo in Book 12 Chapter 3 Section 41 states that the Romans took possession of Bithynia "a little before my time", setting the date of his birth to after 63 BC.〕
Strabo's life was characterized by extensive travels. He journeyed to Egypt and Kush, as far west as coastal Tuscany and as far south as Ethiopia in addition to his travels in Asia Minor and time spent in Rome. Travel throughout the Mediterranean and Near East, especially for scholarly purposes, was popular during this era and was facilitated by the relative peace enjoyed throughout the reign of Augustus (27 BC – AD 14). He moved to Rome in 44 BC, and stayed there, studying and writing, until at least 31 BC. In 29 BC, on his way to Corinth (where Augustus was at the time), he visited the island of Gyaros in the Aegean Sea. Around 25 BC, he sailed up the Nile until reaching Philae,〔Accompanied by prefect of Egypt Aelius Gallus, who had been sent on a military mission to Arabia.〕 after which point there is little record of his proceedings until AD 17.
It is not known precisely when Strabo's ''Geography'' was written, though comments within the work itself place the finished version within the reign of Emperor Tiberius. Some place its first drafts around 7 BC,〔Horace Leonard Jones, translator, ''(The Geography of Strabo )'', Heinemann, London, 1917, p. xxv-xxvi〕 others around 17〔Sarah Pothecary, ''(When was the Geography written? )''〕 or 18 AD.〔 The latest passage to which a date can be assigned is his reference to the death in AD 23 of Juba II, king of Maurousia (Mauretania), who is said to have died "just recently".〔''Strabonis Geographica'', Book 17, Chapter 7.〕 He probably worked on the ''Geography'' for many years and revised it steadily, not always consistently.
On the presumption that "recently" means within a year, Strabo stopped writing that year or the next (24 AD), when he died.
The first of Strabo's major works, ''Historical Sketches'' (''Historica hypomnemata''), written while he was in Rome (c. 20 BC), is nearly completely lost. Meant to cover the history of the known world from the conquest of Greece by the Romans, Strabo quotes it himself and other classical authors mention that it existed, although the only surviving document is a fragment of papyrus now in possession of the University of Milan (renumbered () 46).
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