Pub. date: 2012 | Online Pub. Date: May 31, 2012 | DOI: 10.4135/9781452218458 | Print ISBN: 9781412981767 | Online ISBN: 9781452218458| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Eratosthenes: Prehistory to 1400: Africa
One of history's most accomplished men of science, Eratosthenes of Cyrene (ca. 276 B.C.E.-ca. 195 B.C.E.) was the precursor of the “Renaissance men” who would follow him almost 2,000 years later. Considered the father of geography, Eratosthenes was also a significant astronomer, mathematician, poet, and musician, as well as an athlete during his youth. Later tradition has it that he was nicknamed Beta, the second letter of the Greek alphabet, because he was the second best in every field, an example of medieval fancifulness. While Eratosthenes' breadth of experience is impressive, the fields in which he worked were in their infancies, with mathematics, of course, being the common language among them. Cyrene, a Greek colony in what is now northeastern Libya, was one of Greece's oldest and most important African colonies. It was founded in 630 B.C.E. and named after the spring (Kyre) consecrated to Apollo. The Cyrenaic school of ...