A repetition of Eratosthenes's calculations in 2012 using more accurate data; delivered a result of 40,074 km, just 66 km off the mark.

Eratosthenes would have started his education studying the regular curriculum at the local gymnasium, then moved to Athens to continue his studies with Zeno of Citium, the founder of Stoicism, the more cynical in Aristo of Chios, and Arcesilaus of Pitane, who headed the Platonic Academy. 

Eratosthenes' first scholarly work, Platonikos, inquired into the mathematical basis of Plato's philosophies but he made his name as a talented and imaginative poet. He produced many significant works: 

Hermes, portraying the god's life history; 

Erigone, about the suicide of the Athenian daughter of Icarius; 

Chronographies, an accurate listing of dates from the beginning of the Trojan War and dating The sack of Troy to 1183 BC;

Olympic Victors, covering the winners of the Olympic Games.

In 245 BC the quality of those works led pharaoh Ptolemy III Euergetes to offer him a position as a librarian at the Library of Alexandria. Around five years later he replaced the poet Apollonius Rhodius as head of the library. 

© Ian Hughes 2017