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Ancient PerspectivesMaps and Their Place in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome$
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Richard J. A. Talbert

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226789378

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226789408.001.0001

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Putting the World in Order: Mapping in Roman Texts

Putting the World in Order: Mapping in Roman Texts

(p.193) Seven Putting the World in Order: Mapping in Roman Texts
Ancient Perspectives

Benet Salway

University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores how inhabitants of the Roman Empire used maps (if at all), constructed “mental maps” of it, and oriented their worldview. Drawing on a wide range of texts from Roman antiquity (in Greek and Latin), it examines signs of mapmaking and map consciousness as well as evidence of its nature. It considers the “Romanness” of the mapping encountered in Roman texts and the texts' relationships with maps, the Romans' knowledge of geography and cartography, fundamental differences between textual versus graphic mapping, and the organization of intrinsically geographic data based on a spatial principle. The chapter also discusses the use of itineraries for planning and recording routes, Eratosthenes's oikoumenē and how it influenced many educated Romans in terms of mapping their understanding of the world, the use of the terms superior (upper) and inferior (lower) in Roman political geography, and the ordering of tribes, regions, legions, and provinces in ancient Rome. The chapter concludes with a discussion of ancient writers' attempt to blend history with comprehensive accounts of geography.

Keywords:   maps, Roman Empire, mapmaking, Roman texts, geography, cartography, mapping, itineraries, Eratosthenes, oikoumenē

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