chapter  II
20 Pages

THE DECAY OF GEOGRAPHICAL KNOWLEDGE AND THE DECLINE OF EXPLORATION, A.D. 800-500

I have mentioned St. Basil; he, in common with some of the other earlier Fathers, is well aware of the Greek scientific

We may now consider some of the geographical treatises composed during the period under consideration. One of the few works written in Greek is the treatise of Marcianus of Heraclea, to which reference has already been made. It cannot be said to add anything to knowledge, though it has some value for correcting the text of Ptolemy that has come down to us. For instance, when Marcianus relates that east of the Seres (Le. China) is an unknown land full of marshy lakes, in which great reeds grow so close together that you can cross the lakes by walking on top of the reeds, he is copying Ptolemy word for word. Supposing Ptolemy'S text to be corrupt in some such passage as this, it is obvious that Marcianus may be useful to a modern editor for restoring the right reading in the older writer. Where Marcianus tries

1 Homil. in Hexaem., ix, I (= Migne, Patr. Graec., xxix, 188 C-D).