The British Isles, quietly located northwest of Europe, have been inhabited by humans since the Paleolithic era, but the people who lived there did not develop a writing system until much later.Anglo-Saxon era, around the 7th century AD
So who was the first person to write about the British Isles and explain its inhabitants? To find out, we need to look south — to the ancient Greek Mediterranean world.
A Greek sailor named Pytheas made the first recorded voyage to the British Isles in the 4th century BC. He traveled around the islands of England, exploring lands in northern Europe, Celtic British tribes, midnight sun, dramatic tidal changes, polar ice. When he returned home, he wrote a description called “at sea” (Greek for “peritowokernow”). It was widely distributed throughout the ancient world and was read, discussed and discussed by scholars for centuries.
Little is known about Pytheas. He is now a citizen of the Greek colony of Masaria in Marseille, southern France, and it is unclear whether he was a merchant or just a gentleman’s scientist. Greek-Roman historian Polybius called him “civilian” and “poor.” But whatever his economic or social status, Pytheas was a seasoned navigator and an avid observer.
“From his writings, it can be determined that Pytheas received a science education,” Barry Cunliff told Live Science. Cunliffe is an emeritus professor of European archeology at the University of Oxford.Extraordinary voyage of Greek Pytheas“(Walker & Company, 2002).
During this journey, Pytheas used a device called Gnomon, a device similar to a modern sundial, to perform a series of astronomical latitude calculations. He accurately estimated the circumference of the British Isles, the distance around the current British and Irish islands, and placed it at approximately 4,000 miles (6,400 km). According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.. It is unclear if he created the map from his own efforts, but it is possible that Ptolemy, a Greek geographer in the first century AD who later mapped the British Isles, used Pytheas measurements and descriptions.
According to Cunliffe, most historians sailed Pytheas from Massaria through the Strait of Gibraltar (then known as the Pillars of Hercules) on a merchant ship to what is now the west coast of Portugal, Spain and France. I believe I went north along. (But Cunliffe believes that Pytheas went all over France by land and used a local Celtic vessel to cross all the waterways.) Next, Pytheas crossed the British Strait and modern Cornwall. Landed in. tin, And important products alloyed with copper To make bronze.
Pytheas travels north along the west coast of what is now England, Wales and Scotland, where he is a resident of the region, a Celtic-speaking person he called “Pletanni” or “painted people” in ancient Celtic languages. I explained about. According to Cunliffe, the word Britain comes from.
From Scotland, some scholars claimed that Pytheas left Britain and set foot in the North Sea, eventually encountering a land mass he called Thule.
“There is no solid archaeological evidence that Pytheas has reached Iceland, but that is not impossible,” Kunriff said.
Pytheas wrote “at sea” after returning to Massaria. Until the writings of Tacitus and Julius Caesar about 300 years later, “sea” was probably the only source of information about most of the world’s Britain and north latitude, Kunriff told Live Science. Pergamum’s magnificent library, now in Turkey, may have had a copy of Pytheas’ work. Rhodes, Greece; and Alexandria, Egypt.
Unfortunately, “at sea” has not survived. Only fragments of them remain, paraphrased or excerpted from the writings of other classical writers such as Strabo, Polybius, Timaeus, Eratosthenes, Diodorus Siculus, and Prinny the Elder. But the fragments we have are important, Cunliffe said. Because they contain a number of astronomical, geographical, biological, oceanographic and ethnographic observations of considerable scientific and anthropological significance.
“If we are right about someone like Pytheas, with his keen and keen inquisitiveness, he will want to convey all this new knowledge,” Kunriff said. “He opened people’s hearts to the size of the world.”
Originally published in Live Science.
Who first wrote about the British Isles?
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