FlourishedAlexandria, (Egypt), sixth century
After sailing to Ethiopia and India on trading voyages, Cosmas Indicopleustes retired to the monastery of Saint Catherine in the Sinai Desert, where he wrote cosmographical and theological treatises in Greek, of which only his Christian Topography and a few fragments of other works have survived. Both elements of the name Cosmas Indicopleustes appear to be descriptive and may be monastic; Cosmas may be derived from his account of the Universe (cosmos in Greek) and Indicopleustes (“Indian sailor” in Greek) from the voyages to India that he mentions in his Christian Topography.
Cosmas included a number of autobiographical details in the Christian Topography. He wrote that he suffered from continual ill health in Alexandria, and that he received a Christian education there that was based on the scriptures and the teachings of the Nestorian Patricius. He claimed that this education left him ignorant of the rhetorical techniques of the pagans....
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