Map of the Ancient Roman World from their perspective

Orbis Terrarum


Orbis Habitabilis Ad Mentem Popmpnii Mela


Orbis Habitabilis Ad Mentem Popmpnii Melae
Reconstruction of Pomponius Mela’s world map by Konrad Miller, 1898


Pomponius Mela, who wrote around AD 43, was the earliest Roman geographer. He was born in Tingentera (now Algeciras) and died c. AD 45.

Pomponius dividing the earth into five zones, of which two only were habitable, he asserts the existence of Antichthones, inhabiting the southern temperate zone inaccessible to the folk of the northern temperate regions from the unbearable heat of the intervening torrid belt. On the divisions and boundaries of Europe, Asia, and Africa, he repeats Eratosthenes; like all classical geographers from Alexander the Great (except Ptolemy) he regards the Caspian Sea as an inlet of the Northern Ocean, corresponding to the Persian and Arabian (Red Sea) gulfs on the south. India occupies the south-eastern angle of Asia, whence the coast trended northwards to Scythia, and then swept round westward to the Caspian Sea.

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