Periplus

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Periplus

 

(plural, peripli), an ancient Greek literary genre presenting an account of a coastal sea voyage. Peripli are usually divided into two types: travel descriptions and manuals for the use of navigators.

Among peripli of the first group are the periplus about a voyage along the western coast of Africa compiled by the Carthaginian Hanno (seventh-sixth centuries B.C.) and a nonextant periplus (second half of sixth century B.C.) used by Avienus (fourth century A.D.) in his description of the coasts of Spain, Britain, and Gaul. A description of a journey from the Indus River to the Euphrates written by the naval commander Near chus dates from the fourth century B.C.; it was used by Strabo (first century B.C.-first century A.D.) and Arrian (second century A.D.). The works of these two authors also attest to the existence of a Black Sea periplus and of a route to the Atlantic.

The second type of periplus described special features and dangers of a particular route, locations of convenient harbors, and distances between points. The earliest known periplus of this type, dating from approximately the mid-fourth century B.C., is ascribed to the Greek explorer Scylax (Pseudo-Scylax). It describes the coasts of the Mediterranean and Black seas. Another example is the Red Sea periplus, compiled circa 110 B.C.; fragments of it are found in works by Diodorus Siculus (first century B.C.) and Photius (ninth century A.D.). Also belonging to this type of periplus is a detailed description of a voyage from Egypt to India compiled in the first century A.D. Most peripli have not been preserved.

EDITIONS

Müller, C. Geographi Graeci Minores, vol. 2. Paris, 1861.
Müller, C. Fragmenta historicorum graecorum, vol. 1. Paris, 1841.
References in periodicals archive ?
The possibilities that the Pyrene of Herodotus was the same as that in the Massaliot periplous, and given his belief in the symmetry of the Nile and the Danube flowing from the west in their respective continents, makes locating the Celts in the 5th century in southern France as likely, if not more so, than in southern Germany.
But he is called a braggart by the sophist Aelius Aristides and his Periplous nothing but an 'account for Alkinous' (Aristid.
Periplous is a suitably grand volume comprising an introduction, no less than 47 articles and notes contributed from all over Europe and beyond, and the very long list of Prof.