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Bill Thayer
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A N T I Q V A

Ancient Sources

Strabo's Geography
[ complete ]

The Geography of Claudius Ptolemy: the world as one of Antiquity's great geographers actually saw it. In this Web edition of the Geography, I started replotting all of Ptolemy's maps in his own coördinate system.
[ 7/16/98: 28 chapters, 13 maps, partial index of places ]

(But — as I worked on the only existing English edition, it became painfully obvious that it is extremely bad. It seems the most satisfactory result would be produced by transcribing Karl Müller's edition of the Greek text with its Latin translation and its monumental apparatus: it is very good, but incomplete because of the scholar's death; in Latin and German rather than English; and involving Hebrew, Aramaic, Chaldean and other exotic scripts. Until I sort this all out, progress on my Web edition of the Geography will be at a standstill.)

Hardly Roman, but medieval topography that might be useful in similar contexts, so I might as well mention it here: the Africa and Spain portion of the work of the 12th‑century Arab geographer Sharif al‑Idrisi is online here as well: the First and Second Climates, and the western part of the Third. He covers several Roman towns, mostly to say how the Arabs pillaged and destroyed them to the detriment of the surrounding region; he describes the lighthouse at Alexandria, which was still standing in his day.

Offsite: A remarkable site by the Franciscan Order on the Bordeaux Itinerary (A.D. 333) includes an introduction, the complete text in Latin and English, and a series of clickmaps of the pilgrim's route linked to over a dozen pages with large photos and further text.

Offsite: After many years looking and waiting for it, wondering how to do it myself, etc., a kind reader of my site alerted me that a complete readable copy of Peutinger's Table had come online at Bibliotheca Augustana, apparently in 2001, with a mirror here. The Tabula Peutingeriana is a must for anyone who wants to learn about Roman roads and the geography of the empire.

Offsite: the Imago Mundi of Honorius of Autun (12c) and related material.

Works by Modern Topographers

Roman Roads in Britain, by Thomas Codrington: published in 1903, this authoritative classic covers the entire Roman road network in the sceptered isle, offering as it goes many insights into the basic tools and methods available to the student of Roman roads. For example, the introduction includes a general discussion of study methodology and of road construction techniques (plus the 15 British itinera of the Antonine Itinerary).

complete — includes 3 maps  ]

Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria, by George Dennis: although there have been many excavations and advances in Etruscan studies since its publication in 1848, this 1165‑page book remains one of the best general surveys of ancient Etruscan monuments ever written; with the additional interest of recording (a) a number of monuments that have since fallen victims to the degradations of time; (b) the state of archaeology as it was making the transition from antiquarianism to scientific discipline.

[ 8/3/02: 1165pp of print
presented in 64 webpages;
107 engravings, 2 plans, 6 maps;
4 photos of my own, not elsewhere onsite ]

The Romans on the Riviera and the Rhone, by William Henry Hall (1898): An Englishman of leisure traces on the soil of Provence the events of her Carthaginian and Roman history.

[ 8/26/16: 185pp of print
presented in 21 webpages;
5 photos, 5 maps, 10 other images ]

Influencia de la Civilización Romana en Cataluña comprobada por la orografía, by José Balari y Jovany (1888): Toponymy rather than topography, and rather specialized — but interesting enough to make up for it. The author seems to have been the first to notice that many terms for various types of mountains, in Catalunya and elsewhere in Occitania, derive rather unexpectedly from the Latin names for parts of the Roman amphitheatre and circus. [In Spanish]

[ 1/17/12: 71pp of print
presented in 15 webpages ]


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Ferentum and Ferentinum: a small page in the miscellaneous category, listing and partially sorting out the various Italian places by those and similar names.

The City of Rome

The topography of the city of Rome is a special case, because of its greater level of detail, its unusual continuity from Antiquity thru the Middle Ages to our own times, and the amount of interest it arouses. This website follows the trend; Topographia Urbis Romae covers the city in a separate index. Currently (2/26/14):

  • ancient sources:
    • Frontinus on Aqueducts,
    • the Regionaries,
    • the Ordo Benedicti
  • modern texts:
    • Platner's Topographical Dictionary,
    • Lanciani's Pagan and Christian Rome,
    • Hülsen's Foro Romano,
    • Titi's Descrizione delle Pitture, Sculture e Architetture esposte al Pubblico in Roma
    • Armellini's Le chiese di Roma dal secolo IV al XIX
    • Hülsen's Le Chiese di Roma nel Medio Evo


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Site updated: 26 Aug 16