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.
Taking account of seasonal variation and accommodating a wide range of modes and means of transport, ORBIS reveals the true shape of the Roman world and provides a unique resource for our understanding of premodern history.
Not gonna lie, this is kind of amazing.
Basically, you can plan a trip from Rome to Alexandria, and get an estimate of journey time, expense of trip, the supplies you’ll need….let’s just say it’s better than Oregon Trail:
This looks SO COOL!
IT REALLY IS!
Imagine the possibilities for this as a world-building tool, for example. Like, if I can travel 2686 km in 15 days? On a donkey and a boat and a carriage? Like, for fantasy or historical fiction writers? ZOMG!!!
Incidentally this sort of explodes a lot of myths about the realities of travel in the ancient world. It’s really interesting to consider the possibilities for travel as a mobility-disabled person during this time, too.
Seven month old Loki the European brown bear cub enjoys himself on a pedalo covered in his favourite treats including strawberry jam and grapes, left in the enclosure by staff at Blair Drummond Safari Park in Scotland. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA
Oh my god, I thought it was a paddle boat massacre
I honestly thought the bear had decided he’d had enough of the paddle boaters and ate them.
A MISUNDERSTOOD BEAR NAMED LOKI. THAT’S ALL THE WORLD NEEDS RIGHT NOW. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME.
when u accidentally click a link so u dont release the mouse and kind of slowly drag away from the link. threat avoided. citizens safe. for now.
I want to go to this exact point and run around it saying “I’m in Sweden!” I’m in Finland!” “I’m in Norway!” until I get tired
i aspire to great things in life
According to Google Maps, that point is in the middle of a small lake.
So we’ll do it in January when it’s frozen.
actually that’s why they’ve helpfully dropped a big-ass cement block with a bridge surrounding it in the middle of the lake: for the express purpose of doing what OP aspires to do
what a time to be alive