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A Greek savant, born at Cyrene in 275 B.C. He completed his philosophical education at Athens, where he made his first public appearance as a lecturer on philosophy. His learning won him such a reputation that Ptolemy III (Euergetes) invited him in 247 B.C. to Alexandria, and made him librarian there in the place of Callimachus. He is said to have died, after nearly losing his eye-sight, by voluntary starvation in 195 B.C. He was a master of science in all its branches history, geography, geometry, astronomy, philosophy, grammar and poetry. As a writer he treated an astonishing variety of subjects, and won thereby the name of Pentathlos (or master in the five great exercises of the arena). It is said that he was the first person who assumed the name of Philologos, or friend of science. His greatest service consist in the fact that he was the founder of scientific geography. His greatest work was his Geographica, in three books. The first was upon physical geography, the second treated mathematical geography on the basis of the measurement of degrees, discovered by himself. The subject of the third was chorography, based upon a map of his own drawing, The work is unfortunately lost, and known only by what later writers, especially Strabo, have preserved. Historical investigation owes a great deal to the Chronographia, in which he undertook to found chronology on astronomy and mathematics. His comprehensive book on Ancient Comedy was a contribution to the history of literature. The Catalogoi was a work on astronomy and mythology, in which were collected the fables of the ancient writers on the constellations, with an enumeration of the single stars in each group. A dry compendium, called the Catasterismoi, containing a mere enumeration of 44 constellations, with 475 stars, and the fables attached, is based on the great work of Eratosthenes. His poetical efforts were a, short epic called Hermes, and a celebrated elegy, the Erigone. Besides the compendium above mentioned, and some fragments, we have a letter of Eratosthenes to Ptolemy Euergetes on the doubling of the cube, and an epigram on the same subject.
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