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The Extraordinary Voyage of Pytheas the Greek

The Extraordinary Voyage of Pytheas the Greek

Hardback

By (author) Barry Cunliffe

List price $23.00

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Paperback $11.06
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Format: Hardback | 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 209mm x 22mm | 349g
  • Publication date: 1 April 2002
  • ISBN 10: 0802713939
  • ISBN 13: 9780802713933
  • Edition: Revised
  • Edition statement: Revised
  • Illustrations note: illustrations
  • Sales rank: 1,627,315

Product description

Around 330 B.C., a remarkable man named Pytheas set out from the Greek colony of Massalia (now Marseille) on the Mediterranean Sea to explore the fabled, terrifying lands of northern Europe - a mysterious, largely conjectural zone which, according to Greek science, was too cold to sustain human life, and yet they knew somehow was the source of precious commodities such as tin, amber, and gold. The Extraordinary Voyage of Pytheas the Greek is the chronicle of this astonishing journey that captivated the ancient world.Whether Pytheas headed an expedition or traveled alone is not known. He was, nonetheless, the first literate man to visit the British Isles and the coasts of France and Denmark, and there is convincing evidence that he traveled on to Iceland and the edge of the ice pack. Pytheas's own account of the voyage, titled On the Ocean and published in about 320 B.C., has not survived (it was probably destroyed in the burning of the Great Library at Alexandria), however, it echoes in the works on ancient historians like Polybius and Strabo, and was clearly discussed throughout the Mediterranean. Their references to his voyage represent the beginnings of northwest European history and underscore how much of a pioneer Pytheas was, for Britiain remained without further known explorers until Julius Caesar and his legions landed there almost 300 years later.Archaeologist Barry Cunliffe knows perhaps more than anyone about the world through which Pytheas traveled, and has carefully re-created his staggering journey. Beginning with an invaluable pocket history of early Mediterranean civilization, Cunliffe illuminates what Pytheas would have seen and experienced - the route he likely took to reach first Brittany, then Britain, Iceland, and Denmark, the tin mining and, even then, evidence of ancient cultures he would have witnessed on shore; the challenge of sailing in a skin boat; the magic of amber and the trade routes by which it reached the Mediterranean. In telling this story, Barry Cunliffe has chronicled an essential chapter in the history of civilization.

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