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‘voyages around’ (i.e. coasting) were the standard basis of ancient descriptive geography. Sequences of harbours, landings, watering‐places, shelters from bad weather, landmarks, or hazards could be remembered in an oral tradition as a sometimes very long list, and in written culture offered much more room for detail than cartography (see maps). The periplous offered a peg on which to hang more information than the purely navigational. The first literary version was believed to have been prepared for Darius I by Scylax of Caryanda, and the earliest Mediterranean periplous (actually late 4th cent.) goes by his name. Alexander (2) the Great's captain Nearchus left a description of the coast between the Persian Gulf and the Indus.

See also pytheas.

See also pytheas.

Subjects: History

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