There were maps in the Roman Empire

Roman cities

Road networks and road maps

When the Roman Empire was consolidated in the 1st century AD and the greatest campaigns of conquest had been completed, its inhabitants became fond of traveling. They are interested in educational trips, go to festivals, health resorts and theater performances.

The well-functioning road network makes it possible. For travel planning there are even road maps such as the "Tabula Peutingeriana" or the "Itinerarium provinciarum Antonini Augusti" (both around 350 AD).

On the streets, travelers will find milestones for orientation that show the distance to the next place. Last but not least, the good road network serves trade, courier and transport services and the military.

Roman legionaries are responsible for the construction of highways between the military camps in the conquered areas and the administration in Rome. Where necessary, they build bridges to shorten routes. Only fast transport routes ensure supplies.

From Tunisia to England

The first prefabricated construction principle was soon found for the rapid construction of military camps. Prefabricated wall elements are fastened in the continuous foundation trench, supported at the corners by posts.

But soon a more permanent construction principle prevailed: a half-timbered building on a stone foundation. Spread over the entire Roman Empire, the occupiers now build their cities in this way.

The chessboard-like floor plan is characteristic, as introduced in Greece by the Greek Hippodamos of Miletus as early as 479 BC. The location is typical: mostly on one level next to military and trade routes. The floor plan is rectangular or square.

There are two main streets that cross at right angles. This creates four quarters and a square in the middle - the forum. There will soon be Roman cities from North African Tunisia via the Iberian Peninsula to France and England.

Military camps become cities

In Germany, the Roman cities are located south and west of the border wall, the so-called Limes. It marks the border between the Roman-controlled provinces and the areas outside the Imperium Romanum and was a protection against invading Germanic tribes. Remains can still be seen today near Welzheim in Baden-W├╝rttemberg and in the Hessian Taunus.

The Roman cities often emerge from former military camps. For example Regensburg from Castra Regina, Augsburg from Augusta Vindelicorum, Strasbourg from Argentorate, Mainz from Mogontiacum, Trier from Augusta Treverorum, Andernach from Antunnacum, Bonn from Bonna, Cologne from Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium, Neuss from Novaesium, and Xanten from the military camp Colonia Ulpia Traiana.

Promotional program for Roman culture

It seems important to the Romans to win over the local ruling class in the conquered territories. And that's an easy game. They introduce the "barbarians" to the comforts of Roman civilization.

This leads to the fact that the Roman historian Tacitus (around 55-115 AD) in his work "Agricola" soon expresses himself critically:

"So that the scattered, rough and therefore easily inclined to war people could get used to peace and leisure as a result of civilizational comforts, they were encouraged personally and offered public support for building temples, public squares and stone houses.

Gradually one surrendered to the effeminacy and seduction of civilization: Colonnades were built, baths were built and elegant dinners were given. The ignorant called this the cultivated way of life when it was part of their bondage. "