A Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire
August 1, 2014 3:47 PM   Subscribe

A Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire is an OpenLayers map that uses a new geographical dataset constructed from the award-winning Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World (previously), along with several other sources. You can search for sites by place name or zoom in and click sites to get more information about them. It includes tagged data from virtually every known location in the ancient world, and was implemented in 2012 by Johan Åhlfeldt. The geographical dataset can also be used as a background layer with other maps - for example, here is a basic Google Maps version. Åhlfeldt has made the data freely available under the CC-BY license.
posted by koeselitz (10 comments total) 79 users marked this as a favorite
(That "previously" is the last time we talked about the magnificent Barrington Atlas, way back in 2003. In that conversation, stbalbach noted that at $150 the Barrington Atlas was a great deal compared to previously comparable sets of maps, which ran around $4000. There were a number of people then who were understandably taken aback at hearing that $150 - or $350 for the CD-ROM edition! - was a "great deal." Well, it's amazing what can happen in a decade on the internet; now not only is this fantastic dataset available freely, but you can get a $20 Barrington Atlas app for the iPad, too.)
posted by koeselitz at 3:58 PM on August 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Oh, this looks like an amazing time sink for me. Thanks for posting!
posted by jaut at 3:59 PM on August 1, 2014

Yup, the maps verify it: All of the roads do lead to Rome.
posted by benito.strauss at 4:20 PM on August 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Related: ORBIS: The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World, a route planner for the roman empire (previously)
posted by effbot at 4:27 PM on August 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Wow, forts surprisingly far north into Scotland, far beyond the great walls (though at least some of them are "suspected" Roman forts, not yet confirmed or in some cases even controversial). Most extreme example I see is "Cawdor" (link to atlas and link to Wikipedia), all the way up by the Moray Firth, maybe 100 miles north of the Antonine Wall and, I dunno, maybe like 200 from Hadrian's Wall.

Another surprising (to me) Roman fort (again, albeit "suspected"): Drumanagh (link to atlas and link to Wikipedia)... in Ireland. Just like 10 miles or so outside of Dublin.
posted by Flunkie at 4:45 PM on August 1, 2014

Awesome. I've found out that the town my grandfather's family comes from (Atina, Frosinone) was a Samnite hill town with a polygonal masonry fortification wall. It had an aqueduct, and is evidently best known for the donation of 400,000 sesterces from a local senator, T. Helvius Basila, during the 50s CE, to the children of the town at a rate of 1,000 sesterces each (a prototype of Nerva's alimenta). This was roughly equivalent to a soldier's annual pay. In legend, it was founded by Saturn along with other cities starting with the letter "A." It was near Arpinum, the birthplace of Cicero. He flatters the citizens of Atina in his oration For Plancius.
posted by graymouser at 5:15 PM on August 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Nice. This is extremely relevant to my interests.

I think it is broken though, I clicked on Byzantium and it claims it has some other name.
posted by Justinian at 5:25 PM on August 1, 2014 [5 favorites]

It includes Margary 271 long known to be wrong. The road in question was laid out during enclosure.
posted by Thing at 5:35 PM on August 1, 2014

Aaaaaand there goes the rest of my week.

This is amazing.
posted by dazed_one at 5:47 PM on August 1, 2014

$350 for the CD-ROM edition

It is hard to think of a better cautionary tale about the ephemeral nature of multimedia formats and technology than the CD-ROM. It looked like it was going to be so huge, and so much interesting content was made for it in the early to middle 90's, and then, fold up the tents. It's over.
posted by thelonius at 5:48 PM on August 1, 2014

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