First road maps
Ancient Roman road maps
Italy ()
The Romans created the first road maps. They were used not only for military reasons to conquer, control and administer their vast Empire but for commerce as well. Emperor Augustus Caesar had his son-in-law Marcus Agrippa (63 B.C.-12 B.C.) run a mapping mission that took surveyors nearly 20 years to finish. The mammoth project encompassed thousands of miles, running from as far east as the Middle East and all the way back to Britain. Agrippa created a circular map which was engraved in stone near the Roman Forum where Romans could gather and gaze upon this cartographic representation of the reach and power of Rome throughout the ancient world. Subsequently, travelers in the Roman Empire started to use the “itinerarium” to find their way throughout the dominions. The itinerarium began as a list of cities along a road but soon evolved into an early form of road map as diagrams were included to show where roads intersected along the way. These “travel aids” further developed to include symbols for the various cities, water and places to rest. These were the basis for the “Tabula Peutingeriana” (Peutinger table or Peutinger Map) which showed the “cursus publicus,” Latin for the vast network of roads throughout the Roman Empire. This “Tabula Peutingeriana” was a late Empire map that was last revised at the end of the 4th or early 5th Century AD—and is named for Konrad Peutinger, a 16th Century German who owned it. That map that Peutinger owned was believed to be an 11th or 12th Century copy of another map that was drawn in the 3rd Century AD. It was quite handy and practical as it could be conveniently carried in a slim case—very convenient for Roman soldiers, officials, and other travelers as they went about administering and maintaining order throughout the humongous imperial domain.