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Ptolemy's World

Tour of Maps


A new English translation of the substance of Ptolemy’s Geographia was published in 2000.

The citation is as follows: Ptolemy’s Geography: An Annotated Translation of the Theoretical Chapters, by J. Lennart Berggren and Alexander Jones. Princeton: Princeton University Press, c2000. Berggren and Jones provide a splendid fifty-page introduction to their translation. Readers are encouraged to consult this fine scholarly translation of the Geographia.

In the "Introduction," the section titled "What Ptolemy Expected His Reader to Know" (pp. 5-17) includes commentary on terrestrial and celestial spheres, latitude and longitude, climate zones, directions, the ecliptic, and units of distance.

Ptolemy’s catalog of cities, geographical ideas and sources are discussed on pages 17-30.

The section that is titled "Ptolemy’s Map Projections and Coordinate Lists" (pp. 31-41) is also especially helpful.

Pages numbers for comparisons of the quotations from Stevenson cited above and the new translation of Berggren/Jones are as follows: p. 5 (above) is found on p. 72 in Berggren/Jones. Page 7 (middle) above is on page 57; above p. 7, end of paragraph is on page 59 in the new Berggren/Jones translation; above, p. 8, center, is on page 63; above, p. 8 near the bottom, is on page 82 of Berggren/Jones; above page 9 is in the new translation at page 93; above page 10 is on pp. 108-9; the quotation on pages 10-11 is in the new translation on page118; the quotation on page 11 is on page 80 of the new translation.

A general comparison of the texts of Stevenson and Berggren/Jones is interesting. The former is looser and more readable; the latter is more literal and undoubtedly more accurate.