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cinzia8

The Via Egnatia

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Hi all:

 

I'm trying to find some resources or a clear picture of how a traveller from Brundisium (Brindisi) would in the spring get to Constantinople.  I've read that people avoided sea travel in the spring, so I thought to bring my characters to the big city on the Via Egnatia, but in some general reading I came across a passage paraphrased from Haddon's Warefare, State and Society in the Byzantine World that the western sections of  the road were in such a poor state that travelers could barely pass along it.  In another instance, I read that it fell mostly into disuse in the 5th century because of regional instability.

 

My question is for anyone familiar with travel in Late Antiquity.  What might have been the land travel alternative to the Via Egnatia for one trying to get to Constantinople from Dyrrachium( Durres) ?

 

Or if you know of any resources that focus on life style in late antiquity either or both empires.  I have Casson's book on travel in the ancient world, but his information doesn't always cover into the fifth century.

 

As always, any help or suggestions is greatly appreciated. :-)

 

Cinzia

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First route, if not doing the sea, you hug the shore, using the south road if by foot.

 

Http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durres

 

Under Roman rule, Dyrrachium prospered; it became the western end of the Via Egnatia, the great Roman road that led to Thessalonica and on to Constantinople. Another lesser road led south to the city of Buthrotum, the modern Butrint.

 

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butrint

 

From here on out, you choose the cities. I strongly recommend your traveler goes via the green area along the ocean where the shore is, it means water. No more than a 30 mile gap between cities if by foot. That's my rule, I have experience walking very long distances.

 

A sudden increase in elevation along a high trail will make the travel laughable, it takes much longer. You don't feel weaker, just burn out faster, and when you linger, it's longer, and the cold in the morning is more noticeable, even though your suntanned and burnt from the plains below where you made awesome time.

 

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_in_ancient_Epirus

 

Second route, via land.... you go north:

 

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shkod%C3%ABr

 

I'm assuming there is a pilgramage route from that city to Pelion anf Lychnidos. Notice there is water most of the way, and choices on which way around the mountains once there, and a city in close proximity on the otherside.

 

Remember.... 30 miles top, 40 miles can kill you without water.... ypu move slower. I had wanted to take a mountain pass that had water just outside that range, but at a higher elevation than I had yet experienced, so decided not too (pissed me off).

 

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Ohrid

 

This river looks approachable.

 

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maritsa

 

 

I would just take a established road, but if you really gotta go off the mainroute (pedestrians gotta take back roads, not highways) water + communities within 30 miles = backroads..... always. Just, you gonna see alot of goats, and some deadends, and scabbed knees, and bears.

 

I strongly recommend the main route. It sucked to kive in the early dark ages, if GPS existed back then, everything would be rerouted to the sea, if even that.

Edited by Onasander

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Hi Cinzia,

 

Try one of the collection of papers in "War and Warfare in Late Antiquity", parts to read at Google.Books.

Paper: Homeland security in the South-West Balkans (3rd-6th AD), by contributor John Wilkes, pages 735-758.

 

Auris Arrectibus

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Thanks Onasander & Auris.  These are excellent suggestions, which for my purposes add description and logic, and the resources look to be very helpful. I will definitely delve into them.  I also have to correct myself. In reviewing Casson's passages on travel it was in the winter that sailing was discouraged and not the spring.

 

Thanks again,

Cinzia

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Mountain trails suck in both winter and spring. Your traveler is gonna get hypothermia and trenchfoot. I've gotten both.

 

In the warmer weather, candidia breakouts (monkey butt/heat rash).

 

They will also ponder drinking something objectionable if they can't judge the distance to the next spring/creek/lake/river. They will feel like musty mildewed wet cothing, cause they are,and their dirty hair will drip on their faces, and dirt n sweat will hit their lips from it. As they walk, smelly wet cats will meow from under the exposed roots of Teresa's they walk.

 

The mud from the road will get in their shoes, they will slip on some crusty ice getting their side wet, and possibly tumble off the road into the thickets. They can try to unsuccessfully find shelter under a tree, only to find trees suck as roofs, and the raindrops continue to drop from them long after it's stopped raining elsewhere while you sleep.

 

The biggest raindrops of course will hit your face as you sleep. You can try to cover your face up, but it will press up against your face like it's suffocating you. Spring and poking in the rain is wonderful, but what is best is pooping in humid heat with no water whatsoever to clean yourself with.... like Other said, monkey butt.

 

I can provide you with more details if you desire.... a gripping tale of travel that will keep your readers disturbed, horrified, and spell bound. You'll win a Nobel Prize for Literature.

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It's 1st/2nd century, but you may be interested in Vindolanda Tablet 343.

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Mountain trails suck in both winter and spring. Your traveler is gonna get hypothermia and trenchfoot. I've gotten both.

 

In the warmer weather, candidia breakouts (monkey butt/heat rash).

 

They will also ponder drinking something objectionable if they can't judge the distance to the next spring/creek/lake/river. They will feel like musty mildewed wet cothing, cause they are,and their dirty hair will drip on their faces, and dirt n sweat will hit their lips from it. As they walk, smelly wet cats will meow from under the exposed roots of Teresa's they walk.

 

The mud from the road will get in their shoes, they will slip on some crusty ice getting their side wet, and possibly tumble off the road into the thickets. They can try to unsuccessfully find shelter under a tree, only to find trees suck as roofs, and the raindrops continue to drop from them long after it's stopped raining elsewhere while you sleep.

 

The biggest raindrops of course will hit your face as you sleep. You can try to cover your face up, but it will press up against your face like it's suffocating you. Spring and poking in the rain is wonderful, but what is best is pooping in humid heat with no water whatsoever to clean yourself with.... like Other said, monkey butt.

 

I can provide you with more details if you desire.... a gripping tale of travel that will keep your readers disturbed, horrified, and spell bound. You'll win a Nobel Prize for Literature.

OMG. After reading all these descriptions, I think they are going to take a ship!! LOL I just might put them right into Constantinople and reflect on the journey somewhat in the narrative.  I know what you're saying is very real and yes it would be a 'tale of travel that will keep [my] readers disturbed, horrified, and spell bound.'  I think a person should get a Nobel Prize for enduring such a journey. LOL  It's very descriptive, though, so it won't go unnoticed.  I will draw on it no matter the chosen path.

 

If you've actually endured this sort of travel, you should write a book about it. In the states, right now, one of the big selling movies is WILD based on the book of the same title, I believe, about a woman who went into the wilderness on a spiritual trek of her own. 

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Is this for the second book in the series, Cinzia?

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Is this for the second book in the series, Cinzia?

Yes. The second book is about a murder, and a quest to bring a prized relic to Constantinople right at the time that Petronius Maximus is killed and the Vandals enter Rome.  I'm about three quarters of the way through.  Hopefully, the cover for this one will be a bit more subdued. LOL

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http://omnesviae.org

 

This is exactly what you requested, found it just now by accident, it's like a Roman Mapquest.

 

I'm amazed someone went out their way to make this. I've been thinking of getting (pestering) Viggen to make a section dedicated as a "how to" section for writing history books and historical fiction, with resources like this to help out authors. If I ever convince him, I hope this link gets permanently pegged at the top of the forum. It's amazing.

Edited by Onasander

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http://omnesviae.org

 

This is exactly what you requested, found it just now by accident, it's like a Roman Mapquest.

 

I'm amazed someone went out their way to make this. I've been thinking of getting (pestering) Viggen to make a section dedicated as a "how to" section for writing history books and historical fiction, with resources like this to help out authors. If I ever convince him, I hope this link gets permanently pegged at the top of the forum. It's amazing.

Thank you Onasander!  I'm sure this will prove to be helpful.  I also think a resources page maybe added to by members would help the writers who come here a lot.  Would it be more work for Viggen? Lord knows he does quite a bit now.  :-)

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Naw, he would just add the forum with two subforums.

 

People like you can start topics on how to write a book, research it, best software for ebooks, marketing, grammar and cover design.

 

Caldrail, as he made it to professor of history status, would be the ideal leader/authority for writing a nonfiction history book.

 

There are a lot of authors where I'm from, we have writer groups. This website has a tendency to attract authors. I thought it would arise naturally, but hasn't yet. Been pondering asking him. Just, I don't know much about Viggen, other than he is really, really old, is a Austrian, and started this site as part of a role playing game, and for selling maps. So he might only be doing this to recruit new players for all I know.

 

It just makes a lot of sense to do this, it give the site a lot of credibility, and as a hub of potential and actual authors, would be a magnet for publishers and even movie producers looking for the next big book or script.

 

Too many sites pretend to be academic in orientation, like their a history journal. I don't know of any that actively seeks to support authors as real people with real gaps or need for select, specific knowledge. We're increasingly like a reference librarian here, which is fine. Just libraries have writer groups too. It seems a natural evolution of a aspect of what we're already doing. We just would systematise and dedicate a section to it. By we, I mean Viggen. I would just watch.

Edited by Onasander

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Hi Cinzia,

 

And this is another one: I guess even better than the other two to get your answer.

It calculates how many days it takes to get from one place to another, depending on season, which way to travel (over land, sea, &c.) and what transport (foot, oxcart, &c).

 

See: http://orbis.stanford.edu/

 

Safe trip,

Auris Arrectibus

Edited by Auris Arrectibus

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