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De Chorographia

  • Country in which the text is set
    Baltic Region
  • Featured locations
    Baltic Sea, Baltic countries, Denmark, North Sea, Orkneys
  • Impact

    Pomponius Mela's Chorographia is the oldest geographical work in Latin language we know. The Greek title means »Description of regions« as distiguished from geographia meaning »description of the earth« and topographia, »description of places«. Pomponius presents his subject in the order of three voyages along the coasts of the different countries. In his third book he is »visiting« the outer coasts of his world, the borders of the circular disk formed by the continents of Europe, Asia and Africa, surrounded by the ocean. It's here that he proceeds, after having passed Britannia and Ireland, from the Orkneys to the Codanus Sinus - the Baltic Sea - and »Scandinavia«, a designation which seems to be mentioned here for the very first time in literature. From there he travels on to a chain of mythic islands inhabited by fabulous creatures, the famous Thule being only one of them.

  • Balticness

    In Pomponius Mela's Chorographia, even more consequently than in the works of Olaus Magnus or Tacitus, the Baltic Sea and its surroundings are described as a region where a wild nature mingles with astounding and atrocious miracles.

    Reinhard Kaiser

  • Bibliographic information

    Original text and German translation: Pomponius Mela, Kreuzfahrt durch die Alte Welt. Zweisprachige Ausgabe von Kai Brodersen. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft 1994. S. 152-55, 164-67. By kind permission of WBG, Darmstadt.

  • Translations
    Language Year Translator
    Danish 1822 Jakob Hornemann Bredsdorff (abr.)
    English 1585 Arthur Golding
    English 1998 F. E. Romer
    German 1994 Kai Brodersen
    Swedish 1856

    Carl Christoffer Leonard Leidesdorff (abr.)

  • Year of first publication
    43 / 44 AD
  • Place of first publication
    Rome (?)

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