Getting started with Strabo

To return to Strabo the Geographer: Title page, click here.

This page is designed for complete newcomers to Strabo who need to know how to access the text and to look up specific references.

The most easily available copy of Strabo's Geography is edited by Horace Leonard Jones (1917-32). It is part of the Loeb Classical Library series, published by Harvard University Press, and is often referred to as the Loeb edition. As is the case with all books in the Loeb series, Strabo's Greek text is printed on the left hand page, while the English translation is printed on the right hand side. You can get hold of the Loeb edition in the following ways:

·        It is available in most university libraries. If you are searching for it in the library catalogue, try entering 'Jones, H.L.' as the author (rather than Strabo).

·        It is available for purchase online through, for example, Enter 'Strabo' as the author in your search.

·        You can go online to the Perseus project at Tufts University, for both the Greek text and the English translation.

The Geography is divided into seventeen books. The Loeb edition is divided into seven volumes. Make sure you get the volume of the Loeb edition that contains the book, or books, of Strabo's Geography that you require. For example, Book 7 of the Geography is found in Volume 3 of the Loeb edition. Note that the Perseus Project has put only Books 6-14 online: if you need Books 1-5, or 15-17, you cannot access them online.

Specific references to Strabo's text are often given in a form such as this: Strabo 4.6.9 C 206. Such references combine two separate referencing systems:

·        4.6.9 is a reference to book, chapter and section number: thus Book 4, chapter 6, section 9. These numbers are printed at the head of each page in the Loeb edition. To locate the passage referred to, flick through Book 4 (it is in Volume 2 of the Loeb edition) until you see 4.6.8-9 printed at the head of the page. If you look down the page, you will see the number 9 inset from the left hand margin at the beginning of a new paragraph: this marks the beginning of 4.6.9.

·        C 206 is a reference to the page number which the text occupied in a very early edition of the Geography, printed in 1620. The editor was called Isaac Casaubon (hence 'C'). The beginning of each new C(asaubon) page is marked in the Loeb edition by printing the page number in the left hand margin of the Greek text. You will see that the text of 4.6.9 spans C 206 and C 207, with C 207 beginning after the first fifteen lines or so of the Greek text.

A recent innovation, designed to allow reference to a specific line of text, is to give the C page number followed by a line number: e.g. 206, 24. The line numbers are those of the Casaubon edition, which had around 33 lines per page. The Loeb edition does not show the C line numbers (nor indeed do the lines of the Loeb edition correspond to the lines of the Casaubon edition). To follow up such a reference precisely, you need to refer to the new edition of Strabo's Geography, by Radt (2002-ongoing). However, the casual user of Strabo is unlikely to need such precision. For the record, 206, 24 is the first line of 4.6.9.

To return to Strabo the Geographer: Title page, click here.