Letters to Strabo — so who was Strabo?

The Greek scholar Strabo lived at the time of Augustus/Tiberius and is often known as the Father of Geography thanks to his major work The Geographica. He originated from Amasya, now in North East Turkey. Although this major work was extremely comprehensive and based on both his own travels and those of many others, it was rarely used until Latin and then Greek editions  were made in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The first English translations appeared in the mid-nineteenth century.

It’s a copy of the first 1854 Hamilton edition, owned by Frederic Church the American painter, that inspires Finn, our protagonist, to make his own journey around the Mediterranean. On a visit to Olana, Church’s amazing Moorish palace in the Catskills, the archivist Eve shows Finn the copy given to Church by his wife for Christmas in 1879. It’s a reference in this volume to Olane: “one of the treasure storehouses on the Araxes river,” that inspired the original choice of the name Olana for the Churches’ home. Eve’s letters to Finn during his travels: her Letters to Strabo, form the spine of the ensuing love story. In a way, I guess they might also have been called her Letters from Olana. Given ensuing events, Strabo certainly had a lot to answer for…

Letters to Stabo

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