Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography/Preface
The present work completes the Series of Classical Dictionaries, and forms, with the Dictionaries of "Greek and Roman Antiquities" and "Greek and Roman Biography" already published, an Encyclopædia of Classical Antiquity. The Dictionary of Geography, like the other two works, is designed mainly to illustrate the Greek and Roman writers, and to enable a diligent student to read them in the most profitable manner; but it has been thought advisable to include the geographical names which occur in the Sacred Scriptures, and thus to make the work a Dictionary of Ancient Geography in the widest acceptation of the term. The name "Greek and Roman" has however been retained, partly for the sake of uniformity, but chiefly to indicate the principal object of the work.
Our knowledge of ancient Geography has been much enlarged within the last few years by the researches of modern travellers, many of whom have united an accurate knowledge of the ancient writers with great powers of observation and accuracy of description. There are few countries of the ancient world which have not been explored and described by our own countrymen; but a knowledge of the results thus obtained is confined to a few, and has not yet been made available for the purposes of instruction. Hitherto there has not existed, either in the English or in the German language, any work sufficiently comprehensive and accurate to satisfy the demands of modern scholarship. The German works upon this subject are unusually scanty. In English, the only systematic works worthy of mention are the well-known treatises of Cramer upon Greece, Italy, and Asia Minor, which however have now become obsolete. Since the publication of his "Greece," for instance, we have had the incomparable travels of Colonel Leake, the results of the discoveries of the French Commission in the Peloponnesus, and the works of Ross, Ulrichs, Curtius, and other learned German travellers. No apology is therefore necessary for the publication of a new work upon Ancient Geography, which is in many respects more needed by the student than the two former Dictionaries.
This work is an historical as well as a geographical one. An account is given of the political history both of countries and cities under their respective names; and an attempt is made to trace, as far as possible, the history of the more important buildings of the cities, and to give an account of their present condition, wherever they still exist. The history is, for the most part, brought down to the fall of the Western Empire in the year 476 of our era: but it was impossible to observe any general rule upon this point; and it bas sometimes been necessary to trace the history of a town through the middle ages, in order to explain the existing remains of antiquity.
Separate articles are given to the geographical names which occur in the chief classical authors, as well as to those which are found in the Geographers and Itineraries, wherever the latter are of importance in consequence of their connection with more celebrated names, or of their representing modern towns, or from other causes. But it has been considered worse than useless to load the work with a barren list of names, many of them corrupt, and of which absolutely nothing is known. The reader, however, is not to conclude that a name is altogether omitted till he has consulted the Index; since in some cases an account is given, under other articles, of names which did not deserve a separate notice.
The Illustrations consist of plans of cities, districts, and battles, representations of public buildings and other, ancient works, and coins of the more important places. The second volume of the work will be followed by an Atlas of Ancient Geography, which will be on a sufficiently large scale to be of service to the more advanced student.
London, December, 1853.