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The illustrations contained herein show modern reconstructions of the globe of Crates of Mallos. Crates, who wrote among other things on Homer and the wanderings of Odysseus, visited Rome. Human beings are distributed all round the earth and stand with their feet pointing toward each other, and the top of the sky is alike for them all and the earth trodden under foot at the center in the same way from any direction, while ordinary people enquire why the persons on the opposite side do not fall off - just as if it were not reasonable that the people on the other side wonder that w do not fall off. Such ideas remained purely academic, and were produced by intellectuals exploring scientific premises and conclusions. It seems to have been Cratesa€™ idea that the eartha€™s surface, when represented on a sphere, should appear as divided into four island-like habitable regions. It was thought that Africa did not extend to the equator, or at least was not habitable to the equator. That Strabo (#115), at a later date, had this Pergamenian example in mind when stating certain rules to be observed in the construction of globes seems probable, since he makes mention of Cratesa€™ globe.
Whoever would represent the real earth as near as possible by artificial means, should make a sphere like that of Crates, and upon this draw the quadrilateral within which his chart of geography is to be placed.
Crates, following the mere form of mathematical demonstration, says that the torrid zone is a€?occupieda€? by Oceanus, and that on both sides of this zone are the temperate zones, the one being on our side, while the other is on the opposite side of it.
It is clear that this concept of four symmetrical land areas was a direct consequence of the geometry of the sphere and the size Eratosthenes attributed to the inhabited world in relation to the total globe. Cratesa€™ globe was thus a product of theoretical mathematical cartography, communicating an image of the world that was very far from reality.
Cratesa€™ motive for his cartography was partly literary, interpreting Ulyssesa€™ wanderings, and partly historical, rather than purely scientific. The scientific thinking behind the geography of Cratesa€™ globe was derived directly from the teaching of Eratosthenes about the relative size of the known world.
He was professionally interested in the citya€™s drainage system, but while exploring the Cloaca Maxima broke his leg.
On the one hemisphere, which is formed by a meridional plane cutting the sphere, lies our own oikumene, and that of the Antoecians in corresponding longitude and in opposite latitude; on the other hemisphere lies the oikumene of the Perioecians in our latitude and in opposite longitude, and that of the Antipodes in latitude and longitude opposite to us.
The Greeks recognized three continents within the inhabited world: Europe and Asia first, and then Lybia [Africa]. Below the equator there was thought to be water but beyond the uninhabitable and impassable torrid zone, a habitable region existed.
Strabo alone among ancient writers, so far as we at presently know, treats terrestrial globes practically.
For this purpose however a large globe is necessary since the section mentioned, though but a very small portion of the entire sphere, must be capable of containing properly all the regions of the habitable earth and of presenting an accurate view of them to those who wish to consult it.
Now, just as these Ethiopians on our side of Oceanus, who face the south throughout the whole length of the inhabited world, are called the most remote of the one group of peoples, since they dwell on the shores of Oceanus, so too, Crates thinks, we must conceive that on the other side of Oceanus also there are Ethiopians, the most remote of the other group of peoples in the temperate zone, since they dwell on the shores of this same Oceanus. By combining the geometric approach of his predecessor with his own interpretation of Homer (#105), he represented four inhabited worlds on the surface of his terrestrial globe.
Crates demonstrated this by drawing the four areas on the surface of his globe and suggesting that the three unknown lands could be similar to the known one.


Our understanding of the globea€™s physical characteristics is meager, and there is no evidence to suggest how or of what material it was made, but its influence on the history of cartographic thought has been considerable. As a Stoic, he proclaimed Homer the founder of geography, crediting him with belief in a spherical earth and commenting on his poems accordingly. On the one hemisphere, which is formed by a meridional plane cutting the sphere, lies our own oikumene, or habitable world, and that of the Antoecians in corresponding longitude and in opposite latitude; on the other hemisphere lies the oikumene of the Perioecians in our latitude and in opposite longitude, and that of the Antipodes in latitude and longitude opposite to us. The known dimensions of the oikumene [inhabited world] were too small relative to the estimated size of the earth sphere, the oikumene occupied only one quadrant of the sphere. He used the period of recovery to give lectures in Rome, which are said to have created a great impression.
Through the formulation and expression of such a theory the existence of an antipodal people was put forth as a speculative problem, an idea frequently discussed in the Middle Ages, and settled only by the actual discovery of antipodal regions and antipodal peoples in the day of great transoceanic discoveries of the 17th and 18th centuries.i??a€?A belief in the existence of antipodal peoples, very clearly was also accepted by Pythagoras, Eratosthenes, Posidonius, Aristotle, Strabo, and later Capella.
Hypotheses about other continents beyond the Ocean, for example Platoa€™s lost Atlantis a€” were mere fantasies. He thought that a globe to be serviceable should be of large size, and his reasoning can readily be understood, for what at that time was really known of the eartha€™s surface was small indeed in comparison with what was unknown. Two were in the Northern Hemisphere, the one where the Greeks lived, occupying far less than half of the Northern Hemisphere, and another symmetrically situated in the other half.
To give it further credibility, he also drew in the main parallel circles, emphasizing those defining the zones: these were the tropics (at 24A° distance from the equator), between which flowed the Ocean as envisaged by Homer, and the two polar circles (at 66A° distance from the equator). The concept of the equatorial ocean was transmitted to medieval Europe through Macrobiusa€™ commentary on Ciceroa€™s Dream of Scipio (#201). Through the formulation and expression of such a theory the existence of an antipodal people was put forth as a speculative problem, an idea frequently discussed in the Middle Ages, and settled only by the actual discovery of antipodal regions and antipodal peoples in the day of great transoceanic discoveries of the 17th and 18th centuries.A belief in the existence of antipodal peoples, very clearly was also accepted by Pythagoras, Eratosthenes, Posidonius, Aristotle, Strabo, and later Capella.
To explain Homera€™s line, a€?The Ethiopians who dwell sundered in twain, the farthermost of mena€?, Crates argued that on each side of an equatorial ocean there lived the Ethiopians, divided by the ocean, one group in the Northern Hemisphere, the other group in the Southern, without any interchange between them. His view of terrestrial mapping was that the shape could only be right if it was drawn on a globe, and eventually that the scale could only be effective if the globe was at least ten feet in diameter. Pomponius Mela (#116) called the inhabitants of this southern region Antichthoni, their country being unknown to us because of the torrid zone intervening. Should one not make use of a sphere of large dimensions, the habitable regions in comparison with the eartha€™s entire surface, would occupy but small space. But it should have a diameter of not less than ten feet; those who cannot obtain a globe of this size, or one nearly as large, had better draw their charts on a plane surface of not less than seven feet. Two other inhabited worlds are found in the Southern Hemisphere, symmetrical with the two north of the equator.
Scholars of later times also vied eagerly to give adequate names to these unknown worlds, but on the whole they did not doubt their existence.
Through the formulation and expression of such a theory the idea of the existence of an antipodal people was put forth as a speculative problem, an idea frequently discussed in the Middle Ages (see #207 in Book IIA), and settled only by the actual discovery of antipodal regions and antipodal peoples in the day of great transoceanic discoveries. In designing his a€?orba€™, if indeed he put his theory into practice, Crates favored an unusual form of symmetry. The basic distinction that emerges from the earliest Greek sources is between land and sea.


These four worlds were separated by oceans along the equator (occupying the torrid zone made uninhabitable by heat) and along a meridian. Here was born the concept of the Antipodes, or the great southern continent, the Terra Australis, that would be conjured up in medieval and renaissance period maps. 54-59, wherein the author gives consideration to the doctrine of the Antipodes as held in the Middle Ages]. This distinction was then refined to include a differentiation between mainland and islands, reflecting a mental opposition between territorial connectivity and isolation. We can easily imagine how the eye can transfer the figure and extent (of these lines) from a plane surface to one that is spherical. The break between the landmass known at that time and that of the Antoikoi came, according to him, at a belt on each side of the equator, and there were Ethiopians (Aethiopes, a€?black-facesa€™) on each side of this water divide.
Giving specific names to larger landmasses eventually yielded the three individual continents as the ancients knew them. The meridians of each country on the globe have a tendency to unite in a single point at the poles; nevertheless on the surface of a plane map there would be no advantage if the right lines alone which should represent the meridians were drawn slightly to converge.
Homer had written of the Ethiopians, split in two, some in the East, some by the setting sun. There was thus nothing essentially unique about a continent in comparison to any other topographical unit, and in particular to large islands such as Sicily, Crete and Euboca. 129, notes that the idea of the eartha€™s division into four parts or quarters persisted for centuries after Cratesa€™ day, if not among scientific geographers, at least among those who could be said to have possessed general culture. As islands had names, so too did continents, which were defined geographically by topographic features marking their limits, even if there were occasional arguments about the exact location of these limits. No doubt, as a Homeric scholar, Crates was more concerned to give a plausible account of Homeric descriptions than to investigate explanations which suggested the existence of a continuous African landmass stretching across the equator. A continenta€™s precise borders were not always agreed, particularly as some authors were aware of earlier geological situations. The idea however, was taken up by Cicero in the Somnium Scipionis [Dream of Scipio], which he incorporated in his De republica.
When Macrobius wrote a commentary on the Somnium Scipionis about AD 390, he defended and amplified Cratesa€™ theory, aspects of which thus found their way into medieval cartography; the Perioikoi and Antipodes were then omitted, although discussed by Cicero and Macrobius (see monograph #201 in Book IIA).
155 BCE), a Roman historian writing in Greek, explained that Sicily was part of the mainland in prehistoric times, but that a flood had made it separate.
Even when the division was permanent, there were different methods for defining borders between continents.



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