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HomePoems > Kubla Khan > Sources > Strabo                           



1. River running under earth and sea

2. Underground cavern with rivers


Strabo wrote in Greek, during the time of the early Roman empire. 

His book on geography and history was probably intended as a manual for Roman officials and military officers. 

Strabo goes through a very thorough itinerary, linking political history and mythology to particular places along the way. 

At times his text is a tedious recitation of factoids and folklore, but at other moments, he tells gory tales of tyrants, and strange stories of bizarre natural phenomena.

For someone like Coleridge, who had immersed himself in the Greek and Roman classics, Strabo was probably an amusing tour guide to familiar territory.

Lowes argues that Coleridge may have read Strabo's Geography in the original Greek when studying as a medical student at Christ's Hospital.

And Coleridge knew Strabo well enough to quote the Greek in 1806 or 1807 in his Omniana, recognizing Strabo behind a phrase in Jonson's play Volpone.


Strabo's Geography, in translation of H. I. Jones, in Loeb Classical Library.

Other sources

William Bartram
William Beckford
F. Bernier
James Bruce
Thomas Burnet
William Collins
Athanasius Kircher
Jerome Lobo
Thomas Maurice
John Milton
Samuel Purchas
Major James Rennell

Mary Wollstonecraft

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