back to article Roman roads get the web maps treatment

Classical scholars at Stanford University have created a “Geospatial network model of the Roman world” which offers the chance to calculate journey times along Roman roads in much the same way as is possible on Google Maps and other online mapping services. ORBIS, as the model is known, can calculate journey times between 751 …

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Anonymous Coward

Interesting...

Although some of its routing is curious.

Colchester to Ramsgate (both Roman towns - Camulodunum and Rutupiae) takes the Roman road (now the A12) into London, but for fastest route then takes a boat down the Thames and along the Kent coast to reaching Ramsgate, despite the well known Watling Street being available from London (A2).

Maybe they heard about the queues at the Blackwall tunnel!

Anyhoo...If the boat really was that much quicker than the roads, surely walking from Colchester to West Mersea or Clacton and just taking a boat straight down to Kent would be far quicker than walking into London and back out again?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Interesting...

taking a boat might have been quicker, provided one was available... otherwise: "add 3 - 26 days for the wait"

;)

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Re: Interesting...

They did say that the shipping was based on routes favoured by the Romans. Maybe the database doesn't have a sea link from Colchester?

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Anonymous Coward

These scholars are crazy!

*taps side of head*

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These scholars are crazy...

...by Toutatis!

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Walking to londinium singing...

IM bottles of beer on the wall, IM bottles of beer

If one of those bottles should happen to fall,

IIM bottles of beer on the wall.

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Re: Walking to londinium singing...

CMXCIX followed by CMXCVIII shirley?

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This post has been deleted by its author

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Facepalm

Re: Walking to londinium singing...

D'OH!

You are entirely right: CMXCIX it should be. Then again, I should probably have said XCIX instead anyway.

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Re: Walking to londinium singing...

You're only XXIV hours from Tusla though

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Yes but...

What have the Romans ever done for us?

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Built the aqueducts

then privatised them. That was Romans wasn't it? My British history's a bit vague.

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Puts a whole new sandal on

Global Romin'

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Roman GPS?

What next, a Roman search engine? AskJove.com could work.

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Re: Roman GPS?

The Greeks were first with AskApollo at Delphi

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Re: Roman GPS?

AskApollo:

Nothing's changed then. The Temple of Apollo at Delphi was said to have one of the best spy networks in the ancient world.

It helped them to know which way the wind was blowing, when consulted by governments.

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Fascinating

How long before someone offers tours for the more energetic, following Roman routes and methods?

I'd like to know how much a denarii is in pounds - is it cheaper to go to from Caerleon to London via bus & rail, or from Isca to Londinium by fast carriage? I imagine the time is about the same.

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Re: Fascinating

About £13.20 to the Denarius (calculated in 2005 based on bread-buying power).

Based on the fact it was made from ~4.5g of silver, that's roughly £2.47 per Denarius assuming 99.9% silver purity (£2.29 if Sterling silver). I doubt they were *that* pure, however.

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@ Neoc - Re: Fascinating

Ta.

That means the Roman way would cost me £4475.46. Bloody extortionate! The Romans clearly didn't want us peasants travelling around too much.

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Re: @ Neoc - Fascinating

Even worse than that, in my opinion. Calculating value is so hard over these lengths of time, and I don't think doing it on what you could buy works too well. They couldn't buy an iPad for example, and their food was proportionally more expensive. On the other hand, we can't go out and buy a slave...

So I like to look at wages/incomes. I think 1 denarius/day was pay for an ordinary soldier or labourer. Minimum wage is about £6 an hour, so that's £50 for an 8 hour day. So I'd say a denarius is about £50-odd - or better, just say a day's low wage.

This comes down to the differences in the economy. We've got mass production, so can have more stuff. And cheaper food, so it's proportionately less of our income. On the other hand, labour is much better rewarded now, so it's much more expensive to have servants, or a statue of yourself knocked up.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @ Neoc - Fascinating

"They couldn't buy an iPad for example, and their food was proportionally more expensive. On the other hand, we can't go out and buy a slave..."

Ironically, however, there are some who say that Apple can purchase slaves by selling them an iPad :-)

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Re: @ Neoc - Fascinating

Actually I thought that iPads were made by slaves?

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Re: @ I ain't Spartacus @ Neoc - Fascinating

I understand how one knocks up a servant, but how does one knock up a statue?

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Re: @ I ain't Spartacus @ Neoc - Fascinating

"I understand how one knocks up a servant, but how does one knock up a statue?"

If you've not done it in the open air, with a 7 foot tall goddess and pigeons crapping on your shoulders, then you haven't lived!

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Anonymous Coward

Pointless...

...waste of time, money, effort...

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Re: Pointless...

>...waste of time, money, effort...

add to that, 'my comment'.

There, fixed it for you ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

How long will it take...

For google to invent a time machine to do a street view (at the same time snooping open wifi)?

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Anonymous Coward

Doesn't work on IE8

Ho hum, looks like I might actually have to do some work today and leave playing with this until I get home to a more updated browser...

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Re: Doesn't work on IE8

Yes, I've just found that. Since I have no intention of ever 'upgrading' to IE9 (I have the misfortune to have to use it at work, so know never to install it at home), I'll not bother with this site. I could use an alternative to IE8, but a site which cares which browser I'm using is probably not run by sensible people and so is probably not worth visiting.

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Not just the ancient world

Transport speeds were static until the steamship and the railway. The world of ORBIS is very similar to the world of Pickwick Papers. Even the C18th turnpikes only brought land speeds back up to Roman levels.

I do sometimes wonder what the world would be like if the Romans had invented the limited liability joint stock company.

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Re: Not just the ancient world

Worse still, imagine what the world would be like if the Romans had invented patenting!

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Linux

Great Opportunity Missed

Salve!

Looks like the ancient forebears of Michaelis O'Learius missed a great opportunity to develop low cost travel options!

Imagine Roma (Ravenna) to Londinium (Burrio) - 1 denarii !

I can see it now 5000 seater galleys painted yellow and blue, powered by the paying passengers and the odd shot of "le potion magique!" ! However, only one (paid) toilet visit en route!

Vale!

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Re: Great Opportunity Missed

Sure, it's 1 denarius to get to Londinium (Burrio).

However, you've forgotten to mention the surcharge of 100 denarii for hire of your oar. Plus 1 denarius/day food, plus luggage, taxes and port charges.

Obviously what shows up when you point your tablet at www.pretiumcompario.com would be the 1 denarius headline cost.

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Or, as, "Numerical Recipes in C" has it...

"The practical scientist is trying to solve tomorrow's problem on yesterday's computer. Computer scientists often have it the other way around. "

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Mushroom

Will be Useful.

.. when the Euro collapses, taking the world economy with it and when no-one can afford petrol for their vehicle

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Pint

Excellent

Should be a great teaching school, I never 'really' realised how long such journeys took. 90 days from Rome to London.

As you say it could do with a Denarii -> Dollar etc conversion for each stage. Again I never realised how expensive it was.

And maybe a maximum load carried.

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Re: Excellent

The Romans were unusually mobile. Big empire, big army, lots of trade and all that. But basically before the 19th Century it was unusual for people ever to go more than 5 miles from their village.

Travel was time-consuming, difficult, dangerous and horribly expensive. Hmmm. How much has actually changed? Ever been on the 3:17 from Cleethorpes?

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Anonymous Coward

Venta Belgarum, you mean

"Venta" just means "market".

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Joke

Sometimes travelling's not worth the hassle.

All the tablets you have to engrave, just to enter Armorica...

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A bit limited

Sitting here in Lactodorum it would appear that I do not exist.

Mind you my managers' attitudes to us and the wages they pay suggest Roman style slavery is not dead in the IT industry.

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Stop

Glevum to Lindum via Viroconium????

Where's the Fosse way running past Glevum then??? It linked Exeter with Lincoln and ran past Gloucester through Cirencester

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1d/Fosse_Way.JPG

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Re: Glevum to Lindum via Viroconium????

Yup. That's modern navigation tech for you.

My OS Map of Roman Britain shows that it's simply 'Turn left at Corinium and straight on to Lindum'. You don't really need to go via Viroconium (though an unscrupulous taxi driver might suggest that you do).

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Go

@paulc: Look at the map again

> Where's the Fosse way running past Glevum then?

Only for certain values of "running past". The Fosse Way is interesting: large stretches still exist as arrowstraight footpath, not built over by modern roads, see for instance the 19 mile stretch from the edge of Colerne Airfield to the modern Cotswold Aiport just outside Cirencester. I recently walked a lot of this, verifying as I went that the modern statute mile is indeed a thousand marching-pace paces :-)

The Gloucester Road from Cirencester is clearly the Roman Ermin Way (not to be confused with Ermine Street), though only the stretch from Calleva to Corinium appears on the map you linked to. It too goes straight until it reaches the edge of the Cotswold escarpment at Birdlip, then winds down the hill and then straight across the more difficult lower terrain to Glevum (modern Gloucester).

A quick measurement on Google Earth makes it over sixteen miles by that route, or four hours on foot at the aforesaid marching pace.

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Anonymous Coward

I was hoping for Navio to Templeborough. :-(

see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peutinger_Table

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I welcome our new Roman ove... oh wait, that already happened, didn't it?

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Unhappy

They never got up here to Stockholm,

but then, on the other hand, the town wasn't founded until the middle of the 13th century. So can it go....

Henri

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WTF?

and the romans gave us the metric system?

Distances in kilometers? Weights in kilograms?

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FAIL

IE 9 required???

What on earth does the site do that it won't run on IE8, but works perfectly well on Firefox 3.6?

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Wonderful stuff.

ORBIS is the sort of exciting stuff where computers can really help researchers. Programs like this can, over many years, mature into truly sophisticated tools when the input of many researchers is taken into account. Great.

Now I must have another play.

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