This Map Reimagines the Roman Empire With Subways
A new map of the ancient Roman empire plots its major roads in a way that makes sense to modern city dwellers— a subway system.
Basing the map off of 125 A.D, in the midst of Hadrian’s reign, the map shows the complexity of one of the longest lasting societies in the world. Based off public information from the Stanford’s ORBIS model, The Pelagios Project, and the Antonine Itinerary, Sasha Trubetskoy, a geographer studying at the University of Chicago, made a map that shows actual roads as well as a few whose names he invented.
But even the imagined names had real purposes. The Via Sucinaria, he says, involved a real trade from the Baltic region to Italy that carried amber but didn’t refer to a single road. This sort of collapsing is helpful for those just getting their feet wet in the complexity of Roman systems.
Of course, the Mediterranean is also a massive piece of the infrastructure puzzle when it comes to Roman trade. “Sailing was much cheaper and faster,” Trubetskoy says, with “a combination of horse and sailboat would get you from Rome to Byzantium in about 25 days, Rome to Carthage in 4-5 days.”
If you’re a fan of history and infrastructure, you can buy Trubetskoy’s map though PayPal.