news material The Google Maps of the Roman Empire: Plan a 2000-year-old route with this interactive map
We are now used to using Google Maps to get our bearings and get everywhere. Imagine if the inhabitants of the time of the Roman Empire had access to this kind of tool. This interactive map shows us an overview.
An interactive map of routes to go back in time
As you can imagine, Traveling in the days of the Roman Empire was no small feat. Many pitfalls stood in the way of travelers, and journeys stretched over days, weeks or even months.
In the year 20 BC, The Internet was only going to arrive in 2000 years and yet, there were already more than 380 official routes that stretched for about 80,000 km through the Empire. Everything was designed so that citizens and merchants could reach Rome from any point. Hence the expression “All roads lead to Rome”.
If the inhabitants of the time had had the right to a technology like that of Google to orient themselves, everything would be much easier. This is what wants to show us this route planner which uses the visual and interface of Google Maps but with the real roads of two millennia ago.
The site is called Omnes Viaeand to reproduce this feat, the developers were inspired by the Table of Peutingerianaone of the maps is more precise than has been found, many others having been destroyed.
When you go to the site, you can directly see a map of the entire Roman Empire and the roads that existed at the time. They each lead to the main towns and villages which were lucky enough to be on the way to a main road. We find of course the cities that we know today with their Latin name.
One can click on each location to view their appearance on the Tabula Peutingeriana map, as well as the name of the place to populate it in the route search.
To do so, we enter in the first box at the top left the name of the starting point, and in the second box the point of arrival. You can even write the current names of certain cities and the software understands by adapting them.
Press the “OSTENDERE” button just below and voila: on We found the name of the villages by asking on the pass and the rivers that we will have to cross, the bridges were far from being as numerous and accessible with any means of transport.
Can also know how many kilometers you would have to travel to reach your goal, and approximately how many days it would take. For example, by drawing a route between Paris (Lvteci) and Marseille (Masilia), on the snapshot 462 miles or 743 km, for a total of 31 days of travel. Numbers quite unimaginable these days.
Moreover, by zooming in well, you can see the current roads and highways, enough to compare routes with 2000 years of technology apart.