Maps (6) Tabula Peutingeriana

All roads lead to Rome...

All roads lead to Rome…

Romans had a clear practical sense that led them to build a large road network. One of the first known maps is the Tabula Peutingeriana, a middle ages copy of a Roman itinerary map, so there was a mr Michelin or mr Rand- Mcnally at the moment… In fact, it is closer to a network graph than to a contemporary map, as there is no attempt to render the geometrical shape of the land, and “not to waste paper” the Mediterranean becomes a sort of long river. Despite that, Italy is already boot-shaped, and it is interesting to see how the current lands are depicted. The original map covered the Empire from Portugal to India, but the first page (Iberian peninsula, parts of Maghreb and the British isles) was lost and rebuilt in 1898.

The document is a parchment scroll, 0,34 m high and 6,75 m long, so it does not make easy to show it on a screen. An original image of the document can be seen on the Biblioteca Augustana (Augsburg University), at http://www.hs-augsburg.de/~harsch/Chronologia/Lspost03/Tabula/tab_manu.html (a latin language website), and a clearer image, integrating the lost Iberian peninsula page, can be consulted on Wikipedia.

The reconstruction of the lost Iberian part of the map. You can see Gibraltar (columne ercole), Lisbon (Olisipona) and my home region around Brigantia

The reconstruction of the lost Iberian part of the map. You can see Gibraltar (columne ercole), Lisbon (Olisipona) and my home region around Brigantia

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