Strabo (/ˈstreɪboʊ/; Greek: Στράβων Strábōn; 64 or 63 BC – c. 24 AD) was a Greek geographer, philosopher, and historian who lived in Asia Minor during the transitional period of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire.
Many may object to identifying the later Corinthians of Paul’s time as Dorians, because the city was destroyed and later rebuilt by the Romans. And this is true, for in 146 B.C. the Roman consul Leucius Mummius captured Corinth and razed it by fire, selling the surviving populace into slavery, as was customary for the Romans to do. Giving the account, Strabo tells us that afterwards “the Sicyonians obtained most of the Corinthian country” (8.6.23). That the Sicyonians, those of the neighboring district, were also Dorians is evident in many places besides Diodorus Siculus at 7.9.1 (“Fragments of Book VII” in the Loeb Library edition) where he states: “it remains for us to speak of Corinth and of Sicyon, and of the manner in which the territories of these cities were settled by the Dorians.” Sicyon, a sort of sister city of Corinth, was its equal in the arts, where Strabo says of Corinth: “for both here and in Sicyon the arts of painting and modelling and all such arts of the craftsman flourished most” (8.6.23). So in this manner did the territory of Corinth retain a Dorian composition of its population.
Strabo speaks of the rebuilding of Corinth as such was ordered by Caesar, which began about 44 B.C., and states that “it was restored again, because of its favorable position, by the deified Caesar, who colonised it with people that belonged for the most part to the freedmen class” (8.6.23). Yet Diodorus Siculus (in “Fragments of Book XXXII” in the Loeb Library edition) is recorded as telling us further:
“Gaius Iulius Caesar (who for his great deeds was entitled divus), when he inspected the site of Corinth, was so moved by compassion and the thirst for fame that he set about restoring it with great energy. It is therefore just that this man and his high standard of conduct should receive our full approval and that we should by our history accord him enduring praise for his generosity. For whereas his forefathers had harshly used the city, he by his clemency made amends for their unrelenting severity, preferring to forgive rather than to punish” (32.27.3).
Strabo quotes Polybius where he says that “the priests of the Egyptians, the Chaldaeans, and the Magi, because they excelled their fellows in knowledge of some kind or other, attained to leadership and honour among the peoples of our times” (Geog. 1.2.15). Quoting Poseidonius, he says that “the Council of the Parthians … consists of two groups, one that of kinsmen, and the other that of wise men and Magi, from both of which groups the kings were appointed” (11.9.3). The Magi kept a guard at the tomb of Cyrus, directed the sacrifices of the Persians and distributed the meat from the altar, without setting aside a portion for the Persian deities because the gods do not need meat, where Strabo also said that “the Persians do not erect statues or altars, but offer sacrifice on a high place”, a practice we see the Israelites chastised for in Scripture.
Strabo also mentions his own eye-witness account of a “sect of the Magi, who are called Pyraethi (fire-kindlers)” who dwell in Cappadocia. They are said to keep an eternal fire, and to sacrifice animals by cudgeling them, and to carry about in procession a wooden statue of a strange god named “Omanus”. Among the Magi of Persia Strabo said that when they die they are not buried, but rather their bodies are left “to be eaten by birds”, and mentions that they were known to “consort even with their mothers”.
Strabo tells us that the Syrians were White.
Views on Homer
The Dorians were a tribe said to have invaded Greece, by all ancient accounts, a short time after the Trojan wars. The Greeks who inhabited all of the Peloponnese before the Dorian invasion, as well as areas of the mainland, were called everywhere “Danaans” (Danai) and “Achaians” by Homer. Modern historians assert that the Dorians came “from the north”, and point to the Dorian Tetrapolis, four cities (Erineus, Boeum, Pindus and Cytinium, for which see Strabo 9.4.10) which lie west of Phocis and north of Delphi on the Greek mainland, as evidence of this. These historians also claim that all Aryans came “from the north” into the ancient world at one time or another, yet they are consistently in error. Homer is given much credit by Strabo for his knowledge and accuracy in describing the peoples of the οἰκουμένη and the regions where they lived, and the poet is constantly cited by the geographer. Homer described all of the people of Greece, and the peoples and places known to the Greeks in the period which he wrote about. Yet Homer makes no mention of the cities of the Tetrapolis, of Dorians in Greece, or anywhere in the north. The Dorians, who invaded Greece by sea (hardly necessary if they came from the north) and pushed the Danaans out of the Peloponnese, and who also later founded their mainland cities, are only mentioned by Homer as being on Crete (in his Odyssey, Book 19).