The Geographic Background of Greek & Roman History

The Geographic Background of Greek & Roman History

The Geographic Background of Greek & Roman History

The Geographic Background of Greek & Roman History

Excerpt

In this book I have endeavoured to make a fresh contribution to a subject whose importance is now generally recognized, the influence of geographic environment on human history, in a study of this influence on the world of ancient Greece and Rome. So far as I am aware, no attempt has yet been made to pursue this theme in a comprehensive way, except in Professor Ellen Semple excellent book, The Geography of the Mediterranean Region, and the scope of her work does not extend beyond this region to those outlying countries which also figured in Greek and Roman history. A new survey of the entire subject in relation to the ancient Greeks and Romans may therefore be opportune.

My general indebtedness to previous writers is set forth in the bibliography at the end of the book. Of the authors therein mentioned, I am specially beholden to D. G. Hogarth, R. W. Lyde, Sir J. L. Myres, H. Nissen, A. Philippson, and Miss E. C. Semple. I also wish to put on record my obligation to T. Frank and his team of contributors to the Economic Survey of Rome, to M. Rostovtzeff, and to W. W. Tarn, from whose works I have derived much information and guidance.

My interest in anthropo-geography dates back to my undergraduate days, when I divagated from my authorized reading-list and devoured H. T. Buckle History of Civilization. It has more recently been re-animated by A. J. Toynbee challenging Study of History.

I gratefully acknowledge the assistance which I have received from my friend and former colleague, Miss M. S. Drower, M.B.E., who has read over my chapters on the Near East and has contributed valuable criticisms and suggestions.

I may state in advance my answer to two minor questions of geographical method which have obtruded themselves upon me. (1) A writer describing geographic features which remain discernible at the present day, but doing so in reference to past history, will almost inevitably find his pen slipping to and fro between the present and the past tenses. In my opinion such inconsistency is more than pardonable. Rigid uniformity in the use of a single tense may in such a case lead to inaccuracy or ambiguity of statement. Therefore the soundest rule is to select in each . . .

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