Like a true Classicist, on a recent trip to Verona I spent most of my time attempting to avoid the city’s never-ending “Romeo e Giulietta” obsession (not an easy task) and instead visiting as many Roman sites as I could. Obviously the first port of call was the Arena, home of Verona’s famous summer opera festival, whose stage sets were actually under construction at the time.
I’m sure many of you have often felt frustrated at the inability of Google Maps to accurately represent journey times within the ancient Roman Empire. Happily, a new online resource has been created for just such a purpose.
ORBIS, the Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World, will calculate the fastest, shortest, or cheapest route between any two major cities across the empire, based on a range of factors such as time of year, whether you are a member of the military or merely a civilian, and your chosen mode(s) of transport (options range from “rapid military march” to “horse relay” by way of “ox cart”, “fully loaded mule”, “private travel (routine, vehicular)” and a host of others. It even tells you the price (in denarii) per kilogram of wheat transported via your chosen route. Continue reading “ORBIS: Google Maps for the Roman Empire”