Geografía y cartografía de la Antigüedad al Renacimiento

Estudios en honor de Francesco Prontera


Encarnación Castro-Páez and Gonzalo Cruz Andreotti (eds.)



Universidad de Alcalá 2020 – Universidad de Sevilla


Download the Table of Contents (PDF, 1,96 Mb)



Comité editorial



José María Candau Morón y Francisco Javier Gómez Espelosín



Antonio Luis Chávez Reino y Encarnación Castro-Páez


Consejo de Redacción:

Jaime Alvar Ezquerra, José María Candau Morón, Virgilio Costa, Gonzalo Cruz Andreotti, Antonio Luis Chávez Reino, Francisco Javier Gómez Espelosín, Francisco J. González Ponce, Arthur François Haushalter, Pierre Moret, Roberto Nicolai


Comité asesor:

Pascal Arnaud, Cinzia Bearzot, Stefano Belfiore, Serena Bianchetti, Veronica Bucciantini, María Pilar Ciprés Torres, Patrick Counillon, Jehan Desanges, Adolfo Domínguez Monedero, Daniela Dueck, Luis Agustín García Moreno, Marco Virgilio García Quintela, Hans Joachim Gehrke, Klaus Geus, Pietro Janni, Eugenio Lanzillotta, Didier Marcotte, Eckart Olshausen, Gabriella Ottone, Irene Pajón Leyra, Francesco Prontera, Richard Talbert, Giusto Traina


Instrucciones para los contribuidores (PDF, 152 Kb)




Retrato de Francesco Prontera




Directorio de participantes




Didier Marcotte, Geographorum artifex sodalitatis


Francesco Prontera: publicaciones 1972-2020


Francesco Prontera, Tolemeo e la geografia degli antichi

Abstract: With Ptolomey ancient cartography reaches its highest point in terms of theoretical development. Conversely, and surprisingly, topography shows a regression especially in the provinces of the Roman Empire. This regression can be explained by the separation between historiography and ‘scientific’ geography. By using examples from Ptolemys’ Geography, the paper aims to call attention on the consequences of this separation.


Francisco Javier Gómez Espelosín, Tan cerca, tan lejos. Asia menor en la percepción geográfica griega (de Homero al siglo IV a.C.)

Abstract: Asia Minor was for the greeks a foreign and far place, despite its apparent geographical closeness and the frequent contacts with the reigns of Phrygia and Lidia during the archaic period. Only Herodotus’ histories provides us with a partial view of its landscapes and peoples, mainly issued from the knowlwdge of military expeditions in this land. This was a privileged medium for a detailed information on inner Anatolian geography, such as it was the case with Xenophon’s Anabasis. This case is a good example for the general conditions and lack of resources that characterize the Greek view of foreign lands.


Pascal Arnaud, Les sources du Stadiasme et la typologie des périples anciens

Abstract: The Stadiasmus of the (Great) Sea is a compilation work of compilation works based on a long and very diverse tradition, combining documentary layers, the oldest of which can be traced back to at least the 4th century BCE and the most recent of which were not later than the Emperor Augustus. Successive compilers have never tried to unify its content or form. It therefore offers a case study that is ideal enough to figure out the diversity of the tradition of the ancient periplography. This contribution is based on a comparison between the forms and contents of the various parts of the Stadiasmus and the rest of the written tradition and identifies the dominant features of a literature that establishes variable combinations between two extreme poles: the practical experience of sailors and the expectations of an urban public.


Serena Bianchetti, La geografia delle aree estreme (Nord-Est) nella “carta” alessandrina

Abstract: The geographic area mentioned herein was initially drawn up by Eratosthenes and included both the Taurus line and the meridian that passed through the Caspian Sea. His map is based not only on documentation dating back to Alexander’s expedition, but also on the one of Seleucid origin. Indeed, we find that Eratosthenes repeatedly criticized the geographic framework of Alexander’s historians (see the Tanais-Iaxartes or the Paropamisos-Caucasus) and also searched for news drawn from local traditions, such as those transmitted by Persian and Seleucidic sources. Nevertheless, despite the absence or lack of information, Eratosthenes succeeded in using a geometric procedure to draw lines and points in order to reconstruct the contours of the inhabited world. In fact, traces of such can even be found in Ptolemy’s Geography.


Silvia Panichi, Artemidoro, il Νότου κέρας e il sud dell’ecumene

Abstract: Artemidorus of Ephesus (II-I century BC) is the most ancient source on the Νότου κέρας, the “Horn of the South” (Cape Guardafui), the last promontory of the Cinnamon-bearing country (Somaly). We know this thanks to Strabo, who could thus update Eratosthenes, who in the Cinnamon-bearing country had indicated the extreme southern limit of the inhabited world. The comparison between Eratosthenes and Artemidorus that Strabo (XVI 4, 4-19) proposes on the occasion of the description of the Arabian Gulf (Red Sea), on the other hand, can offer a starting point for reflecting on Artemidorus as a ‘geographer’.


Pierre Moret, César et la géographie de la Gaule

Abstract: This study offers an analysis of geographic information concerning Gaul in the Bellum Gallicum. Only the fourth part of the cities and peoples named by Caesar are associated with geographic landmarks. Information related to physical features is limited to eastern Gaul, with a density that increases as one approaches the Rhine, a strategic area that became the centre of attention of the Romans after the submission of Gaul. These scattered elements are based on personal observations or reports commissioned by Caesar, not on pre-existing geographic knowledge. The description in paragraphs 5-7 of the prologue of Book I is of a different nature. This simplified picture based on cartographic knowledge, centred on ethnic spaces and structured by orientations, adapts the tripartite scheme of a Greek geographer on whom Strabo (IV 1, 1) is also dependent. Its faulty insertion into the prologue, as well as contradictions with the information contained in the description of Britain in Book V, raise questions about the role of Caesar in the addition of these geographic excursus, but the hypothesis of a late interpolation is not retained.


Eleonora Sideri, Alpi ed appennini: note sull’orografia nell’Italia di Strabone

Abstract: In Strabo’s description of Italy the orographic elements fulfil a very important dividing function. For the first time, in Strabo’s Geography (II 5, 28) the Alps take the shape of an arch and they are much more clearly featured than in Polybius’ Stories, both in their internal sections and in the whole delineation. For historical reasons, the geometric center of the Alpine arch is located in the land of the Salassi, and, at its far ends, it owns a double fold whose symmetry, albeit fictitious, affects the geometric scheme of the contiguous Gallia Narbonensis (Str., IV 1, 3) as well as the layout of the Gallic rivers that arise from the Alps. By contrast, the Apennines are described in a less detailed manner. Nevertheless, there is a particularly interesting passage (Str., V 2, 10) in which Umbri, Sabines and Latins are arranged obliquely in relation to the chain, therefore they contribute to the partition of the regional spaces.


Roberto Nicolai, Il libro e la carta. Note sulla terminologia cartografica nella Geografia di Strabone

Abstract: Since besides the discussed Artemidorus’s papyrus there are no other geographical papyri accompanied by maps, the only way to address the problem of the possible presence of maps next to the texts of the works of geography is the internal analysis of the texts. The subject of this contribution are two key terms present in Strabo’s work: πίναξ and γραμμή.


Hans-Joachim Gehrke, Strabon und Germanien

Abstract: The article deals with Strabo’s description of Middle Europe. Its first part lines out general principles, which shaped Strabo’s mental map, pointing out the geometric-cartographic perspective that his description was based upon. The second part comments the empirical description, esp. of the Germanic tribes, which is put into this overall framework. The third part shows Strabo’s intense familiarity with and understanding of the political and military constellations of his time, with regard to geography and his dealing with Germania.


Arthur Haushalter, Un chevalier romain historien de la géographie grecque: l’hommage empoisonné de Pline l’Ancien à Ératosthène de Cyrène

Abstract: This study intends to reconsider the widely spread opposition, despite of all the evidences of documentation, between Greek pure science and Roman practical knowledge, concentrating on geography. Proceeding from Pliny’s hommage to Alexandrian scholar Eratosthenes’ subtilitas, we try to assess the place of Greek geography in the culture of the Roman elites and to understand the genesis of this trumped-up distribution of roles.


Pilar Ciprés, Los datos geográficos como fuente histórica. Plinio e Hispania: algunas cuestiones sobre el ordenamiento de su descripción geográfica

Abstract: In the description of the Iberian Peninsula carried out by Plinio we find data that belongs to two organizational spheres: the Roman political-administrative based on the prouincia, the ciuitas and the conuentus and what we could call geographical-ethnographic, where there are included, amongst rivers, mountain systems, etc., geo-ethnographic spaces and gentes, whom we refer to as the population groups that we identify with ethnic groups or peoples. This article analyzes the use of the gentes as an articulating element of his description of Hispania, contrasting it with the one given in the epigraphic sources.


Manuel Albaladejo Vivero, Del Mediterráneo al Índico: los estrechos del mar Rojo

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to show the strategic importance of the two straits of the Red Sea (the Suez and Bab el-Mandeb areas) during classical antiquity. In this way, the existence of a channel connecting the Mediterranean with the Red Sea is reviewed, as well as the interest shown by some classical authors to describe the geography and anthropology of the Bab el-Mandeb area and the connection with the Indian Ocean. Likewise, the repercussions of the commercial flow with India and the presence of a Roman fleet in the region are seen.


Francisco J. González Ponce, La periplografía griega en los escolios a Apolonio de Rodas

Abstract: In the Apollonius scholia there are quotations from 13 Greek peripli, which are dated from before the imperial period, most of which are focused on the description of Pontus Euxinus and his geographical environment. It is remarkable that a great number of them, many preserved only by the quotations of these scholiasts, do not interest Marcian of Heraclea, so that the knowledge of them must have reached our commentators by other, more obscure, ways. Besides such conclusions, it is interesting to examine this reality in connection with the two “editorial projects” of the minor geographers that have reached us: the Paris corpus (Marcian), which the scholiasts used, and the Heidelberg corpus (Arrian?), which could have been influenced by the older layers of our present scholia.


Patrick Counillon, Pinax Dionysii

Abstract: Dionysios’ Periegesis is the hypotyposis of a map whose models have been lost: thus one has to make them up with the help of the text. Three types of maps are to be found in the Periegesis: a general map of the oikoumene in the shape of a sling, borrowed from Posidonius; maps of the regions characterized by geographical features such as seas, mountains or rivers; a general grid worked out through a net of repeated words, whose function is to obtain a form of cohesion between the different parts of the world. This last grid, like the two others, is far from what could be called a geographical map since it lacks the characteristics of a map such as measures, coordinates or accurate directions. What these build up instead is an organization chart of the poem itself, balancing and coordinating its different parts.


Inmaculada Pérez Martín, La aportación bizantina a las ilustraciones de Meteorologica: a propósito del mapamundi del Ms. Salamanca 2747

Abstract: The map of the largest mountains and rivers that appears on f. 50v of Ms. Biblioteca General Histórica de la Universidad de Salamanca, 2747, released in 1900 by Charles Graux and André Martin in a publication that analyzed all the illustrations of that copy of the Meteorologica de Aristoteles, has remained unknown to most scholars of ancient geography and has never been studied in depth. The codicological and palaeographic analysis contextualizes the manufacture of this Byzantine codex, one of the primary textual testimonies of Meteorologica, in Constantinople around 1125-1150, in a circle of copying and illumination of high quality books. A twin and contemporary testimony of the text and its illustrative apparatus, in this case accompanied by Alexander of Aphrodisias’s Commentary on Meteorologica, is split into the Mss. Milano, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, E 93 sup. and Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, gr. 1880. A third codex with the illustrations of the two mentioned copies is the Firenze, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Plut. 87.26, from the second half of the 13th century. Some glosses of the Salamanca Ms. that would be found in the model, as well as some terms used in the figures and, especially, the choice of the Bosphorus as the axis around which the map of f. 50v is organized suggest that the illustrations in book I of Meteorologica were conceived and designed in the Byzantine period, in all probability in the 11th century, in the context of Michael Psellos’ († 1078/81) teaching of the Aristotelian text.


Klaus Geus, … In ordine superiore post Spoletum: Überlegungen zum Umbrien-Kapitel in Flavio Biondos Italia Illustrata

Abstract: One of the most important geographical and topographical works of the Quattrocento, the Italia Illustrata of Flavio Biondo, bridges the gap between Antiquity and modern times. In order to create a historical and geographical image of all of Italy Biondo resorts primarily to Roman classics: Vergil, Livy and Pliny, but also Ptolemy and Strabo. On the basis of Umbria the present contribution seeks to question two basic assumptions in current scholarship on Biondo: a) that a principle of organisation originating in Strabo plays an import role in the Italia Illustrata; b) that Biondo to a large extent had recourse to maps. Although neither assumption may be completely dismissed with, a detailed analysis indicates that Biondo primarily wrote his work according to the Graeco-Roman hodological model, only rarely (if at all) making use of maps.


Patrick Gautier Dalché, Francesco Patrizi et la géographie antique

Abstract: The Sienese humanist Francesco Patrizi is the author of a pedagogical treatise (De regno regisque institutione) composed from 1471/1473 to 1482/1483 and dedicated to the Duke of Calabria. Knowledge of places and peoples is presented to the sovereign as necessary, through texts and maps. Patrizi made a presentation of the ancient geographers, largely taken from Strabon and supplemented by various other authors. It underlines the necessity of the use of maps, particularly in military operations. He conceives ancient geography as a cumulative process based on travel and promoted by the constitution of the empires of Alexander and Rome. He gives much more importance to Strabo, “non minus historicus quam geographus”, who provided what was essential for the prince’s institutio and who could not appear in a “mathematical”, and therefore abstract, work such as Ptolemy’s Geography. Patrizi’s reflections help to understand that the two major works of ancient geography were not received in a single way in the Quattrocento. Depending on the cultural and intellectual backgrounds, and the circumstances, Strabo and Ptolemy have responded to a variety of concerns. Patrizi occupies an original place, characterized both by an absolute respect for Strabon’s extraordinary achievements, but also by his concern to make them useful in the present to the sovereign, and finally by his awareness of the historicity of geographical knowledge.


Pietro Janni, Carte nautiche nell’antichità? Una discussione fra Cinque e Seicento

Abstract: Did the Ancients own and use nautical charts? The question has been much debated in our time, and today it sees the majority (although not the entirety) of scholars inclined to a negative answer: the sailors of Antiquity navigated with empirical means, far from any form of cartography. This discussion has a forgotten precedent in the controversy between two Italian authors at the turn of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: the polygraph Girolamo Ruscelli (1518-1566) and the naval engineer Bartolomeo Crescenzio (his book Nautica mediterranea was published in 1607). Ruscelli was for the negative, and suggested (so interestingly preceding recent hypotheses) that the so-called ‘portolano cards’, the first reliable depictions of the Mediterranean, had been drawn with the aid of the compass, whose appearance coincides with that of the cards; Crescenzio argued, with arguments unacceptable for the modern historical thought, that
the nautical charts, and the compass too, existed in Antiquity, relying on two passages of Plautus.




Index locorum

Index nominum

Listado de figuras y tablas