Isidore of Charax

Isidore of Charax, also known as Isidorus Characenus, was a 1st century geographer from the city of Charax in Characene, on the northern end of the present Persian Gulf. He is mentioned by Pliny the Elder (23-79) as one of his sources.

Isidore is known to have written at least three books:

  • Parthians stations (Mansiones Parthicae) is an itinerary of the overland trade route from Antioch to India, specifically the caravan stations maintained by the Arsacid government. The work is said to have been commissioned by the Emperor Augustus.
  • Journey Around Parthia survives only as a fragment on pearl fishing in Athenæs (III).
  • Description of the World, which appears to have been about geographic measurements, is known of from references in Pliny.

References to an unnamed (possibly fourth) work are made by Lucian of Samosata (Macrobii 15 and 18). The references are to claims of longevity.


  • Despite the title, this book includes all of the known Isidore fragments, and also has notes on what little is known of Isidore himself.
    Portions are available online

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