The Earliest States of Eastern Europe
DG-2021, 613-621

The Poem of Maximus Planudes on the "Geography" of Ptolemy

A. V. Podosinov

A Russian translation of the poem by the Byzantine scholar Maximus Planudes (c. 1255–1305), which discovered the manuscript of Ptolemy's “Geography” in 1295, is published for the first time. Hexametric verses in 47 lines are devoted to the discovery of “Geography” and addressed to the Byzantine emperor Andronicus II Paleologos (1282–1328). Planudes’ poem is an important evidence of the Ptolemaic tradition in Byzantium, and also shows how important for the intellectuals of Constantinople was the discovery of the geographical work of Ptolemy, which for many centuries remained unknown to European science. Actually, with the discovery of Planudes began the acquaintance of Europe with the heritage of the great ancient cartographer, an acquaintance that after some time turned upside down the concept of the Earth in Western European science and culture. The poem is filled with enthusiasm for the picture of the world that opens in “Geography”. The achievements of Ptolemy, the Byzantine emperor, whose fame should grow from the publication of Ptolemy's Geography during his reign, as well as Athanasius II, the Patriarch of Alexandria, a great lover and collector of ancient texts, who probably made a copy of “Geography” with its maps, are glorified here in an epic, often archaic manner. The publication gives a philological, historical and real commentary on the poem of Planudes.

Maximus Planudes, “Geography” of Ptolemy, hexametric epigram, history of cartography


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