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The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World
May 11, 2012 6:13 PM   Subscribe

Spanning one-ninth of the earth's circumference across three continents, the Roman Empire ruled a quarter of humanity through complex networks of political power, military domination and economic exchange. These extensive connections were sustained by premodern transportation and communication technologies that relied on energy generated by human and animal bodies, winds, and currents. Conventional maps that represent this world as it appears from space signally fail to capture the severe environmental constraints that governed the flows of people, goods and information. Cost, rather than distance, is the principal determinant of connectivity. For the first time, 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.
posted by Blasdelb (57 comments total) 107 users marked this as a favorite

 
Click on the Introducing ORBIS link for awesome figures
posted by Blasdelb at 6:13 PM on May 11, 2012


In other news, the awesomely huge History of Rome podcast just concluded.
posted by Artw at 6:15 PM on May 11, 2012 [17 favorites]


Well, this is awesome. Good thing it isn't a game engine, because I have to eat, sleep and so forth.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:18 PM on May 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


OMG. Or the Latin equivalent.
posted by jokeefe at 6:24 PM on May 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


O mea Deus
posted by Artw at 6:26 PM on May 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Here's the coolest link from the Rome FPP I didn't get around to.

Any pleb can make a list of the greatest Roman emperors, but here's a list of the emperors in order of how hardcore their deaths were.
posted by Winnemac at 6:31 PM on May 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


Just think if Crassus or someone had access to this model contemporaneously. Caviar from Tanasis to Dura in 77.4 days, that'll be 693,000 denarii please. What can bruneus enim faciam?
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:32 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


O Meus Deus! This will come in handy when I finally take my long planned trip to ancient Rome. You heard me.
posted by Davenhill at 6:32 PM on May 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Can someone tell me if the Carthaginian ping time sucked as much as I suspect?
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:38 PM on May 11, 2012


Hey, that list of emperor's deaths is by the Comics Curmudgeon.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:39 PM on May 11, 2012


This is just going to encourage those marines to go back in time, isn't it?
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:46 PM on May 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


To take up the mantle of "science vs. humanities in academia, now FIGHT" from an earlier thread, I sort of want to go for a PhD in military history, because roads are fucking awesome.

Roads are weapons. They allow men and materiel to flow to the edges of empire, bringing the dominion of civilization to the barbarians... and then they bring the barbarians into the heart of civilization, to loot-and-scoot with impunity. If you understand how the roads work, how the maritime trade routes work, you can control the entire world through trade. (How YOU doin', Estados Unidos?)
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:59 PM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


A trireme leaves Massalia rowing East at ten Gallic leagues a day, while at the same time an oxcart leaves Brudisium traveling West on the Appian Way at a rate of ½ milliarium per horae. It is the Vernal Equinox...
posted by XMLicious at 7:07 PM on May 11, 2012 [25 favorites]


Can someone tell me if the Carthaginian ping time sucked as much as I suspect?

Here's the deal with the first Punic War - the Romans sucked at Navy compared to the Carthaginians, who had the smartest, boldest captains, and the best built ships. They would ram Roman ships at will, and laugh as they rowed away, leaving the dum Itlians to drown. The Romans completely kicked anyone's ass on land with their highly-trained and well disciplined armored infantry, but the war with Carthage was over who would rule the Mediterranean... by sea!

So, as usual, the Romans cheated like a bastard. They outfitted their weak-ass navy ships with something called a Raven. When the smart and bold Carthaginian captains rammed the weak and lame roman vessel, a gigantic gangplank, sporting a giant spiked barb at its tip, the Raven, slammed down and stuck into the deck of the attacking vessel. A gajillion heavily armed and armored Roman soldiers, not keen on drowning, rushed across, killed everyone on the other ship, and took it over.

Yes, the Romans won a sea war with infantry. That is a level of bad-ass that boggles even modern strategists.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:09 PM on May 11, 2012 [54 favorites]


Start: Circesium
Destination: Roma

Speed options
-Foot/army/pack animal (mod. load)/mule cart/camel caravan
-Rapid military march
-Ox cart
-Porter/fully loaded mule
-Horseback rider (routine travel)
-Private travel (routine, vehicular)
-Private travel (accelerated, vehicular/horseback)
-Fast carriage
-Horse relay
-35th Marine Expeditionary Unit Sea Knight helicopter
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:11 PM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Doesn't take into account the apparently permanent roadworks on the Eboracum bypass; most weeks it's practically a wagon-park.
posted by Abiezer at 7:15 PM on May 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


Awesome work, but the equirectangular projection is a terrible choice for this (and really any) map. A conformal conic projection would be much better for a mesoscale navigation map like this.
posted by foobaz at 7:16 PM on May 11, 2012


"Awesome work, but the equirectangular projection is a terrible choice for this (and really any) map. A conformal conic projection would be much better for a mesoscale navigation map like this."

Well, it does date from that era
posted by Blasdelb at 7:22 PM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Visne iterum agere?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:27 PM on May 11, 2012


This is all kinds of amazing.

Cost, rather than distance, is the principal determinant of connectivity.

I think it's important to point out that distance is still the principal determinant of connectivity. It's just that the dollar cost of oil doesn't reflect its true worth, so we ship things back and forth across the Pacific like we're walking across the street.

When the oil runs out, most of humanity is going to die. And we'll have to figure out how to get around like the Romans again.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:30 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is the sort of tool I can see myself having a lot of fun with. That having been said, I've been doing a lot of reading recently on the empire's abortive attempts to control Germania and about a lot of contacts the Romans had with nomadic tribes in Libya and Cyrenaica, and the existence of local civilization and infrastructure (even if not on the same level as a legionary road) isn't represented at all, let alone to Parthia in the east and the traders in Arabia Felix.

edit: I guess I'll post this anyway, because I'm excited about it, but the "Building Orbis" tab addresses these limitations and hopes to ultimately include the Indian sea trading routes.

"Eastward extension of maritime connections could be complemented by the addition of caravan routes in the Arabian peninsula and the inclusion of southern Mesopotamia."

That would be fun, but I hope the Sahara could get there sometime, even if it was largely a Berber affair. And Parthia certainly, juggling Rome and China, keeping them both directly unaware of the other...
posted by Earthtopus at 7:49 PM on May 11, 2012


You have died of dysentarius.
posted by mhoye at 8:01 PM on May 11, 2012 [12 favorites]


Damn, now you've triggered fresh Roman history obsession for me. And I was just getting over a jet fighter and a Western movie obsession, too.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:12 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


O Meus Deus!

Don't your links there point out that that was a medieval construction? I think it's wonderfully interesting that there is no attested classical usage of the singular vocative of deus.

posted by junco at 8:12 PM on May 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


mhoye: "You have died of dysentarius."

You collect 4,276 lbs of buffalonium, but your wagon can only carry 3 lbs more.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:17 PM on May 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


What is a denarii in inflation-adjusted dollars?
posted by shivohum at 8:21 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder if these travel times were substantially different 1000 years later. Probably not.
posted by Kevin Street at 8:24 PM on May 11, 2012


O Meus Deus!

Don't your links there point out that that was a medieval construction? I think it's wonderfully interesting that there is no attested classical usage of the singular vocative of deus.


Oh great, here comes the metatalk callout calling for a moratorium on bullshit cod Latin...
posted by Artw at 8:29 PM on May 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


When the oil runs out, most of humanity is going to die.

To be fair, history teaches us that one of these events is not dependent on the other.
posted by mwhybark at 8:32 PM on May 11, 2012



What is a denarii in inflation-adjusted dollars?


There's a good discussion of the buying power of Roman coinage at different periods
here. For example, during Nero's reign, a measure of grain sufficient to bake 20 loaves of bread cost about 2 denarii.
posted by junco at 8:34 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


shivohum: "What is a denarii in inflation-adjusted dollars?"

That is actually a surprisingly difficult question to answer well, if only because the Roman economy and what you could buy were so fundamentally different from today. A single denarii in the first century could buy you the same amount of bread then that $28 2005 dollars could buy you now. However, a day's worth of unskilled labor was also generally thought to be worth somewhere around 1 denarii untaxed, while today a day's unskilled labor at minimum wage is valued at around $58 before taxes. So the answer really is, somewhere in that general ballpark.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:36 PM on May 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


And Parthia certainly, juggling Rome and China, keeping them both directly unaware of the other...

"You, dear Uncle, are now the most famous artist in all of Rome."
Nick paused before panic, a healthy habit he had formed when he first joined his Legion. Scout the enemy, know his strength.
"In all of the Seven Hills, or the city entire?"
"In all of Rome. The Republic, plus colonies and tributaries."
Nick nodded. Retreaaat, retreat retreat retreat!
"You know I haven't a creative bone in my body. That's your job."
"I know no such thing. And, since you are the only Roman artist known here, you are, by default, the most famous."
"You have a future as a lawyer if the poetry doesn't work out," said Nick, glowering at his competition, who was probably the most famous artist in these lands, the way his luck was holding up.
"That is Boying Changus Chii Jiquanus, the most famous artist in these lands. He writes words."
"A poet?"
"No, an inscriber. They say he inscribes very beautifully."
"Huh," said Nick. Well, all right, he knew a bit about inscription. As long as he didn't have to figure out what words to say. That was Mark's specialty... so, yeah, maybe between the two of them, they could scribe something.
"What are we scribing?"
"Inscribing, uncle. The Emperor's name."
"What on earth is an Emperor?"
"A king of kings. Like Alexander or Agamemnon."
"Wow. He's that kind of hot?"
"Yeah. He took the job from the idiot brother of the previous Emperor. He's known for being a bit flighty, though."
"Aha! Hence the art contest."
"Exactly."
"Now, this Chii, he's got a pot of paint and a brush and a piece of papyrus, and he's staring off into space."
"Rice paper. Yes. He's inscribing."
"I think I have detected a fatal flaw in his technique."
"Waiting is a part of the process, Uncle."
"The customer waiting is part of the process, but only because you're busy doing things to get it done. You're supposed to be putting words down. You get paid by the word, inscribing, not by the hour."
"And what are you are paid if you fuck up?"
"An ass-kicking by the architect. You get no credit for any fuckups along the way."
"This is his way of not fucking up."
"Keep at not-fucking-up for too long, and you fuck up."
"They have a different notion of productivity here, Uncle, especially for the learned."
"I suppose. Not too different, now that I think on it. "Hercules and Pluto" would be the worse if it were rushed from you. So let's wait and see what comes unhurried from this inscriptionist."
"Inscriber, Uncle," corrected Mark.
They waited quite a while. Then, with a startling abruptness, the aged artist dipped his brush in the jade ink-pot, and with a sway and flourish that travelled the length of his body, like a dancing girl at the feast of Dionysus, he committed a series of strokes to the papyrus.
Nick crossed his arms, and tilted his head to the side. Mark leaned down to see as his uncle did, and to murmur in his ear, "Well?"
"He certainly didn't fuck up. That's beautiful."
"You really think so?"
"Yes. It's barbaric and uncouth, but I cannot deny the artistry in it. The passion flows through the brush and onto the surface."
"Can you best it?"
"Get bent!"
"You know you can."
"I can scribe letters in stone, I can't do whatever it was he did."
"Well, he cant scribe letters in stone."
"Huh! Then I suppose we can pull a fast one. Should we use the local patter to write it down?"
"This is an Emperor! A king of kings!"
"Ah! I take your point. He deserves to see his name in Latin."
"Zimeng Huo Guangus," said Mark.
"You're the poet."
"What do you need, uncle?"
"Have them fetch me some hewn and faced stone, preferably marble or what passes for travertine hereabouts. Two paces wide, a half pace tall. We'll need a steel compass, which I have in my kit, and a chisel as well. We'll also need, as always, my groma and chorobates. See if they'd be willing to front us a mallet, as I wrecked my last one leveling that one guard that time, you recall?"
"I remember, a good mallet and a good hit they were! Some good stone, a mallet and our luggage. Anything else?"
"Nope. I already have a bit of blue chalk, stuck away in my boot-top. My groma, my chalk and my dolabra, that's all I need to conquer a kingdom. Though it's always wise to have more options for good measure... and good measurement! That's a joke."
"You don't need to explain humor as it happens, Uncle, it's something of a social error. You let the comedy move the listener as it may."
"Were you moved?"
"Did you find your own joke funny?"
"Yes!"
"Then I was moved to laughter."
"Now you're being all barbarian-mystic again. That was a "koan" if I ever heard one. I blame your blonde hair."
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:42 PM on May 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


13. Valentinian I (375): Became so angry at German ambassadors who were not sufficiently deferential that he suffered a rage-stroke.

Oh man I wish I could have seen that.
posted by A dead Quaker at 9:04 PM on May 11, 2012


13. Valentinian I (375): Became so angry at German ambassadors who were not sufficiently deferential that he suffered a rage-stroke.

Oh man I wish I could have seen that.
posted by A dead Quaker at 9:04 PM on May 11
[+] [!]

Join IT. You'll see one about once a week.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 9:16 PM on May 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


Don't your links there point out that that was a medieval construction? I think it's wonderfully interesting that there is no attested classical usage of the singular vocative of deus.
It's very surprising, and I say that as a Classics major who studied Greek and Latin. After all, the vocative is used frequently (Gods are addressed all the time, but apparently not generically as "deus" or "dee" but specifically by name, nickname, or title). Who knew?

Allen & Greenough's New Latin Grammar seems to concur: the vocative singular of deus does not occur in classical Latin, but is said to have been "dee"; "deus" occurs in the Vulgate, which seems to work well enough for our purposes (presuming the G following the OM is Christian). And a superficial scan of Virgil's Aeneid seems to suggest there wasn't a problem with the feminine vocative, dea:
Sic Venus; et Veneris contra sic filius orsus: 325
'Nulla tuarum audita mihi neque visa sororum—
O quam te memorem, virgo? Namque haud tibi voltus
mortalis, nec vox hominem sonat: O, dea certe

[...]

'O dea, si prima repetens ab origine pergam, 372
et vacet annalis nostrorum audire laborum,
ante diem clauso componat Vesper Olympo.

For the big Latin and linguistic nerds, I highly recommend Latin Alive: The Survival of Latin in English and the Romance Languages by Joseph Solodow. It mostly covers the transition of classical Latin to modern Romance languages. What's so surprising is that some modern forms (or nearly modern forms) start appearing very, very early, e.g. as early as the 4th and 5th century, suggesting rather strongly "classical Latin" was more of an artificial construct language even during the time of Caesar and Cicero than most people realize.
posted by Davenhill at 9:40 PM on May 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


I thought it too snarky to suggest that speakers of classical Latin wouldn't say "oh my god" because they were polytheists (i.e. it would either be plural or, if singular, they'd need to specify which god they were addressing). But that's not consistent with the "O dea" examples which clearly refer to a specific named goddess.

Seriously, this is really weird.

[on edit: apparently the polytheist argument was offered by Einar Löfstedt, albeit questionable for the same reasons above. Due to Latin related psychological scarring by another Latin professor of the same name, I'm going to accept this as a plausible explanation and move on... that, and I'm not going to drop $14 to read the rest of the above-linked article on the topic).
posted by Davenhill at 11:16 PM on May 11, 2012


Of course the Roman Empire spent a fair portion of it;s later days being either nearly or actually monotheist.
posted by Artw at 11:40 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is the coolest goddamn thing I've ever seen. I work with these sorts of networks for transportation planning. A modern multi-modal network of links and nodes like this can be man-years of work to put together (although it's a lot easier with current GIS and software), and that's with the routes well known.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 1:53 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lots of fascinating data here. I'm intrigued that it takes a civilian 37.3 days to get from Rome to Londinium, but only 31.5 days to get back again. Can anyone explain this? I can only assume the quantity of perishable goods being transported into Rome makes it quicker to travel in that direction.

And I'd have thought that crossing the Alps in winter would make a big difference, but apparently not:

Review of data for Alpine travel in the Middle Ages, when road conditions were inferior to those of the Roman imperial period, suggests that at least as far as individual travelers on horseback or in light carriages are concerned, grade did not represent a very serious impediment and did not systematically increase travel times except in extreme circumstances, notably at high-altitude mountain passes. Even winter conditions did not normally impose severe time costs on Alpine crossings.

By coincidence, I've just been reading Mary Beard's excellent review of several books on Roman travel and transport (including a book of essays with such gems as 'Cart Traffic Flow in Pompeii and Rome' and 'Where to Park? Carts, Stables and the Economics of Transport in Pompeii'). It sounds as though archaeologists are doing interesting work in this area, e.g. analysing wheel ruts in Roman roads to reconstruct the traffic flow. But overall Beard suggests that there's still a lot we don't know, or aren't sure about, even basic things like whether wheeled traffic was allowed in Rome during the daytime. So the Stanford approach, i.e. analysing transport at the macro level, sounds like the best way to go.
posted by verstegan at 2:20 AM on May 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


roads are fucking awesome

A smarter person than me pointed out that the Great Wall of China isn't so much a wall keeping North from South as it is a huge stone highway stretching from the coast/capital in the East into the dangerous central Asian heartland to the West, allowing you to move troops directly into your Western provinces.
posted by alasdair at 3:37 AM on May 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Tom Holland (author of the wonderfully readable) just tweeted this wonderful interactive map.
posted by Gratishades at 6:04 AM on May 12, 2012


I'm intrigued that it takes a civilian 37.3 days to get from Rome to Londinium, but only 31.5 days to get back again.

More down river than heading to London at a guess.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:23 AM on May 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


more down river than up river.

damn preview
posted by IndigoJones at 6:24 AM on May 12, 2012


> A single denarii

A single denarius, damn your barbarian soul! Understand? Now, write it out a hundred times. And if it's not done by sunrise, I'll cut your balls off.

Also, superb site and post. Many thanks!
posted by languagehat at 7:34 AM on May 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


By the way, David Abulafia's The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean sounds valuable for anyone interested in this stuff. There's a review by Nigel McGilchrist that goes into considerable detail (and points out some fascinating stuff that Abulafia omits, like the link between obsidian, marble, and emery and how their easy transport by ship allowed the Western sculptural tradition to develop); if you know anyone with an LRB subscription, it's well worth the read.
posted by languagehat at 7:40 AM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jupiter's cock Roman history is so fascinating. It seems to tickle some sort of childish glee in me. Oh, to be a Caesar or a verbose senator. Hell, even a gladiator or shady merchant seems like fun. Well, maybe as a tourist at least.
posted by M Edward at 9:45 AM on May 12, 2012


From an older time:

Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army
posted by dragonsi55 at 10:03 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


languagehat: " A single denarius, damn your barbarian soul! Understand? Now, write it out a hundred times. And if it's not done by sunrise, I'll cut your balls off. "

βάρβαρ! βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ, βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ-βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ. βάρβαρ, βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ; βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ? βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ... βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ (βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ) βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ. βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ, βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ, βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ! βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ, "βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ" βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ. βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ. βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ, βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ βάρβαρ!
posted by Blasdelb at 11:00 AM on May 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


One thing I want to use this to do is to map out the approximate cost of the many journeys of Paul of Tarsus. There is a great deal of handwringing about what he did for a living, how much he relied on wealthy patrons, and more generally how the financial logistics of the early church could have supported his ministry.

We've got a pretty solid idea of where he traveled, a pretty good idea of how he did it, and a decent idea of when when. So after I defend my masters in a few weeks I'll go ahead and calculate it if no one here beats me to it.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:58 AM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


> βάρβαρ! βάρβαρ βάρβαρ....

So 'βάρβαρ' is Greek for 'buffalo'?
posted by benito.strauss at 12:54 PM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


βάβαρ?
posted by XMLicious at 1:44 PM on May 12, 2012


So, do all railroads lead to Rome? From Railroad gauge and a horse's ass at Discover Live Steam:
...websites now present the story of how the most common railroad standard, the track gauge (the distance between the two rails), evolved. Whichever version you stumble across, it sounds interesting, worth a laugh, and you may even feel that urge to shake your head that such a standard could survive for over 2,000 years.

The legend's original claim was merely that chariot wheel spacing had such an influence on the British that 1400 years after the Roman legions were gone, it was still used to build the first railways. However, this story grew to include the width of horses, and even the spacing of wheels for Conestoga wagons made it to some versions of the story.

However, there is no truth to this interesting legend, which only began after World War II.
More details at Snopes.com and Straight Dope.
posted by cenoxo at 2:15 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Roman economy is fascinating and wonderful and there is a lot of really excellent scholarship being worked on right now, not only at Stanford but also through Oxford's Roman Economy project, and many others.

Some sweet related links I haven't seen linked to above that might be of interest:

A digital version of the Peutinger Table or the tabula Peutingeriana which also lets you create routes and play with a more specific view of the Empire.

The Oxford Roman Economy Project which has great bibliographies and papers on different aspects, including transportation difficulties and costs. [Admission: personal connections]

Anyone interested in Libya and sub-Saharan trade should definitely look at David Mattingly's work, especially the Garamantes.

The Romans had extensive trade relations with India and Sri Lanka, much of it through the Red Sea and on the monsoon winds; I think Roberta Tomber's work is really interesting, and this book is a good introduction to the subject.

And lastly, a first-hand look at the state of roads in England comes from a Vindolanda tablet, which includes these lines:

"The hides which you write are at Cataractonium, write that they be given to me and the wagon about which you write. And write to me what is with that wagon. I would have already have been to collect them except that I did not care to injure the animals while the roads are bad."

(As a very minor aside, I have have excavated at Tarsus, though very little of the city from Paul's period is known, and it would be very interesting to see your conclusions, Blasdelb.)
posted by jetlagaddict at 6:44 PM on May 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


When the oil runs out, most of humanity is going to die.

When the oil runs out, most of humanity will yawn and resume the sane alternatives. Those who have made us dependent on prehistorical reserves may choose to die. Good riddance.
posted by Twang at 11:42 PM on May 12, 2012


most of humanity will yawn and resume the sane alternatives.

And the following centuries of subsistence farming and back breaking labor is going to be sweet! Especially once 70% of everyone you've ever known is dead. Fuck those guys!
posted by Chekhovian at 3:43 AM on May 14, 2012


Since when did a thread about neat digital way to aggregate solid historical scholarship turn into ravings about speculative Malthusian bullshit?
posted by Blasdelb at 8:00 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry Bd, I couldn't resist a little tail pulling. But this is a really interesting thing, especially given the Bernie Sanders thread train transport detour that's occurring in parallel. Maybe that's what's primed people for the post apocalyptic nightmare scenario.
posted by Chekhovian at 12:19 PM on May 14, 2012


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