Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Cosmas Indicopleustes

  • John HiltonEmail author
Reference work entry

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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Selected References

  1. Beazley, C. Raymond (1879). The Dawn of Modern Geography. London, pp. 273–303.Google Scholar
  2. Brown, L. A. (1951). The Story of Maps. London: Cresset Press, pp. 88–93.Google Scholar
  3. Dilke, O. A. W. (1985). Greek and Roman Maps. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, p. 171f.Google Scholar
  4. McCrindle, J. W. (tr.) (1897). The Christian Topography of Cosmas, an Egyptian Monk. London. (English translation with notes).Google Scholar
  5. Schwartz, F. F. (1975). “Kosmas und Sielediba.” Ziva antika 25: 469–490.Google Scholar
  6. Wecker, O. (1922). “Kosmas Indikopleustes.” In Paulys Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft. Vol. 11, cols. 1487–1490. Stuttgart: J. B. Metzler.Google Scholar
  7. Winstedt, E. O. (ed.) (1909). The Christian Topography of Cosmas Indicopleustes. Cambridge: University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Wolska, Wanda (1962). La Topographie chrétienne de Cosmas Indicopleustés. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.Google Scholar
  9. Wolska-Conus, Wanda (ed. and trans.). Cosmas Indicopleustés: Topographie chrétienne. 3 Vols. Paris, 1968, 1970, 1973. (All references in this article are to this edition of the text).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of NatalDurbanSouth Africa