In Our Time: Strabo's Geographica

4 years ago

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Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss Strabo's Geographica, an early work of geography.


In Our Time: History

Related programmes:
Ptolemy and Ancient Astronomy
The Library of Alexandria


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It's still rather a mystery why Strabo was not picked up more frequently before the sixteenth century. Perhaps geography didn't penetrate the consciousness of Europe until post-Renaissance times. Certainly it was not as useful as the work of Galen and Ptolemy in medicine and astronomy. Nevertheless, it was a vast enterprise and it survived complete, and so it still could be said to be rather strange that it was not taken up with more fervour.
After the programme, to the office to attack the pile of e-mails and prepare for filming with Daniel Radcliffe in New York in a couple of weeks' time. Then lunch with an old pal and commentary on the Kate Atkinson film which we're putting out on The South Bank Show in a month or two's time, and then to the Cinema Museum just outside the Elephant & Castle where I did various links for various new arts programmes. The Cinema Museum is extraordinary. It's tucked away in a Victorian building and around has the air of a neglected, if not even abandoned, place. Inside it is stuffed to the rafters (there are rafters) with what could best be described as a cinema fanatic's dreamland. Posters, postcards, old cameras, tripods, pieces from this or that film, collections, DVDs, books, etc, etc. The higgledy-piggledyness of the arrangement (the organisers will probably and justifiably rise up against that description and point out the deep order inside the apparent disorder) adds to the feeling of discovery or discoveries. There's so much to see. And yet there's a sadness in the photographs. Those rose-tinted, Hollywood stars of the Thirties and Forties. The posters, which like so many theatre and film posters, started off as quick ads and ended up as something approaching works of art. They say so strikingly that this was young and vibrant and new and now it's gone completely. But it is a place to see.
Now on my way to Euston station to catch a train to the deep North to breathe the clean, pure air of the Lake District and stride across rain-soaked fells in a high wind. What could possibly be better?
Best wishes
Melvyn Bragg



In Our Time

Melvyn Bragg presents In Our Time, a series where he and his expert guests discuss the history of ideas, and explore subjects in culture and science.
Read more about Melvyn Bragg
Melvyn Bragg on the Radio 4 Blog

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