A globe sits on a desk, while a magnifying glass is held above it.

Department of Classics - The Gaze of the Geographer and Ptolemaic Power

Virtual event

Join Dr. Kale Coghlan, Postdoctoral Fellow with the University of Toronto, for a lecture on Eratosthenes, and the gaze of the geographer and Ptolemaic Power as part of the Colloquium Series hosted by the Department of Classics. 

Dr. Coghlan will explore aspect of what is Ptolemaic about Eratosthenes' Geography. He will discuss the idea of cartographic vision in the Greek tradition after situating Eratosthenes' life and career in the context of Hellenistic Alexandria. By embracing cartographic vision authoritatively, Eratosthenes communicates ideas about the divine status of the Ptolemaic sovereigns and the hegemonic capacities of Ptolemaic institutions to produce an up-to-date, post-Alexander, vision of the world.

Toward the end of the third century BCE, Eratosthenes of Cyrene, summoned from Athens to Alexandria by Ptolemy III, initiated a new paradigm in Greek geographic writing with his text in three books. His work has largely been considered an attempt at mathematical geography. Little attention has been paid to the extent to which the geographic projects of Eratosthenes and his resulting map of the known world continues the celebration of Ptolemaic rule by intellectuals, including the most important poets, in the courts of Ptolemy II and Ptolemy III. The focus on the mathematical elements of the fragments implies an objectivity on the part of the author. The image of the world is for the audience to interpret, but behind the façade of an objective geographical projection of the oikoumene, Eratosthenes broadcasts ideas of dynastic self-representation of the Ptolemies. 

Email the Classics Department for the Zoom link to attend this lecture. 

Event Details