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ORBIS, the Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World, is pretty damn amazing:

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.

That means you can plan your epic adventures as per the ancient world. What the hell are you waiting for? For me to get to Alexandria from the nearest Roman settlement Lindum (Lincoln) it would have taken about 56.5 days. Pirates might well have made that more – or just killed me outright.

(Via Medieval POC on Tumblr.)

By Mark Newton

Born in 1981, live in the UK. I write about strange things.

2 replies on “ORBIS”

This is pretty cool, although I heard about it a while back.

It’s fun to use. I tried some “extreme points travel”, like a journey from Tanais in the far northwest to Olisipo in the far southeast (41.2 days), and a trip from Dura in Mesopotamia to Luguvalium in England (far longer at 85.1 days). Oddly enough, the latter trip had a pretty massive overland stretch through Gaul as opposed to sailing through the Strait and along the Atlantic Coast of Iberia and Gaul. No idea why, but I save a ton of money by using a donkey instead of a wagon.

It’s amazing how central water travel was, is, and continues to be central in transportation for civilizations. It’s still by far the cheapest way to send goods over long distances, even with the rise of railroads – the vast majority of US industries that developed in the 19th century US happened either in the “triangle” of the Midwest and Northeast that was connected by canals, the Atlantic coast, and the Great Lakes, or in coastal areas on the Pacific.

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