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ORBIS - Travelling in the Roman Empire

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From a shared FB post, I thought this may be of interest to members:


ORBIS: allows us to express Roman communication costs in terms of both time and expense. By simulating movement along the principal routes of the Roman road network, the main navigable rivers, and hundreds of sea routes in the Mediterranean, Black Sea and coastal Atlantic, this interactive model reconstructs the duration and financial cost of travel in antiquity.

Link here @ http://orbis.stanford.edu/

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No. it expresses a model of Roman transport based on modern paradigms. For instance, it does not model the ignorance of the casual traveller - many Romans, whether freeborn or enslaved messengers, had no idea where their destination was whereas the user of ORBIS clearly would do. Optimal travel routes are therefore a bit fortunate. Granted the Romans had some access to route maps but these would have been rare and expensive. To be a bit nitpicky, it does not model risks of travel such as weather, violence, or crime. Travellers were sometimes at risk of capture by unscrupulous individuals and enslavement in rural barracks, or similar treatment from pirates.

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  • Map of the Roman Empire