About Pytheas

Who is it?: Geographer, Explorer
Birth Place: Marseille, France, Greek
Died On: Approximately 285 BC
Citizenship: Massaliote
Known for: Earliest voyage to Britain, the Baltic, and the Arctic Circle for which there is a record, author of Periplus.
Fields: Geography, exploration, navigation
Influenced: Subsequent classical geographers and explorers

Pytheas Net Worth

Pytheas was born in Marseille, France, Greek, is Geographer, Explorer. Pytheas was a Greek geographer and explorer from the Greek colony of Massalia (modern-day Marseille). He made a voyage to northwestern Europe in about 325 BC and traveled all the way around Great Britain. He wrote the first account of Scandinavia, but his description of it has not survived. He is often referred to as the first known explorer in the modern sense of the word. Pytheas was known to have visited the Arctic, polar ice, and the Germanic tribes, and is the first person on record to do so. Born in Massalia, he was commissioned by merchants in his native city to find a route to the tin mines of southern Britain, where the trade was controlled by the Carthaginians. The Greeks looked to break the monopoly and thus sought a reliable route to the tin mines. Pytheas successfully circumnavigated a considerable portion of Great Britain and described the land in his now-lost memoir. In this works, he also described another land called the "Island of Thule." Now often considered to be an island in antiquity, Thule was sometimes identified as Iceland or Greenland, giving rise to the belief that Pytheas might have reached as far as Iceland. As astute astronomer, he was among the first ones to have suggested that the tides are affected by the moon.
Pytheas is a member of Miscellaneous

💰 Net worth: Under Review

Some Pytheas images

Famous Quotes:

... the Barbarians showed us the place where the sun goes to rest. For it was the case that in these parts the nights were very short, in some places two, in others three hours long, so that the sun rose again a short time after it had set.



An alternate theory holds that by the 4th century BC, the western Greeks, especially the Massaliotes, were on amicable terms with Carthage. In 348 BC, Carthage and Rome came to terms over the Sicilian Wars with a treaty defining their mutual interests. Rome could use Sicilian markets, Carthage could buy and sell goods at Rome, and slaves taken by Carthage from allies of Rome were to be set free. Rome was to stay out of the western Mediterranean, but these terms did not apply to Massalia, which had its own treaty. During the second half of the 4th century BC, the time of Pytheas' voyage, Massaliotes were presumably free to operate as they pleased; there is, at least, no evidence of conflict with Carthage in any of the sources that touch on the voyage.


Pliny reports that "Pytheas of Massalia informs us, that in Britain the tide rises 80 cubits." The passage does not give enough information to determine which cubit Pliny meant; however, any cubit gives the same general result. If he was reading an early source, the cubit may have been the Cyrenaic cubit, an early Greek cubit, of 463.1 mm, in which case the distance was 37 metres (121 ft). This number far exceeds any modern known tides. The National Oceanography Centre, which records tides at tidal gauges placed in about 55 ports of the UK Tide Gauge Network on an ongoing basis, records the highest mean tidal change between 1987 and 2007 at Avonmouth in the Severn Estuary of 6.955 m (22.82 ft). The highest predicted spring tide between 2008 and 2026 at that location will be 14.64 m (48.0 ft) on 29 September 2015. Even allowing for geologic and climate change, Pytheas' 80 cubits far exceeds any known tides around Britain. One well-circulated but unevidenced answer to the paradox is that Pytheas is referring to a storm surge.


Pliny says that Timaeus (born about 350 BC) believed Pytheas' story of the discovery of amber. Strabo says that Dicaearchus (died about 285 BC) did not trust the stories of Pytheas. That is all the information that survives concerning the date of Pytheas' voyage. Presuming that Timaeus would not have written until after he was 20 years old in about 330 BC and Dicaearchus would have needed time to write his most mature work, after 300 BC, there is no reason not to accept Henry Fanshawe Tozer's window of 330–300 BC for the voyage. Some would give Timaeus an extra 5 years, bringing the voyage down to 325 BC at earliest. There is no further evidence.


The start of Pytheas's voyage is unknown. The Carthaginians had closed the Strait of Gibraltar to all ships from other nations. Some historians, mainly of the late 19th century and before, therefore speculated (on no evidence) that he must have traveled overland to the mouth of the Loire or the Garonne. Others believed that, to avoid the Carthaginian blockade, he may have stuck close to land and sailed only at night, or taken advantage of a temporary lapse in the blockade.