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Pytheas

(c. 310—306 bc)


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Greek navigator of Massalia, author of a lost work ‘About the Ocean’, object of ancient distrust. From Strabo, Diodorus 2, and Pliny the Elder mostly, we learn that, sailing (c.310–306 bc) from Gades past Cape Ortegal, the Loire, NW France, and Uxisame (Ushant), he visited Belerium (Land's End) and the tin‐depot at Ictis, circumnavigated Britain, described its inhabitants and climate, reported an island Thūlē (Norway or Iceland), sailed perhaps to the Vistula, and reported an estuary (Frisian Bight?) and an island (Heligoland?) abounding in amber. Pytheas calculated closely the latitude of Massalia and laid bases for cartographic parallels through northern France and Britain.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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