as the saying goes, all roads lead to rome — but it’s not that easy to imagine the actual scope and size of the romans’ vast empire and its intricate interconnectivity. sasha trubetskoy — a statistics major at the university of chicago and self-described ‘geography and data nerd’ — has undertaken the task of condensing the immense network into a graphic that can be easily and quickly understood. after weeks of research across a range of historical sources, trubetskoy designed a subway-style map of the major roman roads, based on the empire of CA. 125 AD. 

roman road subway map
the subway-style map of major roman roads is based on the empire of CA. 125 AD

 

 

trubetskoy’s diagram depicts the important stops and transfer points along the routes — just like a subway map does. lines are organized by color, indicating their course across land. the routes are a combination of authentic, named roads — like via appia or via militaris — and pathways that did not have a known historic name — which trubetskoy notes were creatively invented for the purpose of the graphic. trubetskoy recounts the creation process and liberties taken in great detail, indicating that it was the empire’s enormous size that posed the largest problem: ‘the biggest creative element was choosing which roads and cities to include, and which to exclude. there is no way I could include every roman road — these are only the main ones.’

roman road subway map
the lines are a combination of authentic, named roads — like via appia or via militaris

roman road subway map
lines are organized by color, indicating their course across land

roman road subway map
trubetskoy notes that the names of some lines were creatively invented for the purpose of the graphic

roman road subway map
the red line — via egnatia — was a road constructed by the romans in the 2nd century BC

roman road subway map
the diagram depicts the important stops and transfer points along the routes 

  • What a wonderful outline for a self-driving tour (or a commercial one). I hope he/she finds a publisher. …then break it down into regions. Kudos.

    Jim

    JimCan says:

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