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Anonymous

How did the Romans navigate while on land? Specifically in the army? Did they use map and compass techniques, or did they do it by the stars? When were compasses introduced? <p>Tiberius Lantanius Magnus<BR>
CO/Optio,<BR>
Legio XXX "Ulpia Victrix"<BR>
(Matt)</p><i></i>
The compass (as in magnetized needles pointing north) were not invented until the 8-10th century, and in China. Secondly, the Romans did not have a concept of scale-drawn maps as we do today; they operated by the idea of landmarks (i.e., these itineraries that the others discuss more). A good book on this (or so I've heard - haven't read it myself) is:<br>
<br>
Exploratio : Military and Political Intelligence in the Roman World from the Second Punic War to the Battle of Adrianople<br>
by N. J. E. Austin, N. B. Rankov <p>Strategy<br>
Designer/Developer<br>
Imperium - Rise of Rome</p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://pub45.ezboard.com/ustrategym.showPublicProfile?language=EN>StrategyM</A> at: 4/16/02 12:26:24 pm<br></i>
The compass was known in ancient China, but it was unknown in Europe in Roman times. It didn't appear in Europe until the [url=http://"http://scholar.chem.nyu.edu/~tekpages/compass.html"]Middle Ages[/url], having found it's way from China along the 'Silk Road' sometime before 1190 AD.<br>
<br>
An astrolabe can be used to take very precise directional readings from the stars. They were invented by the Greeks, and so were known to the Romans, but (again) they were more fully developed by medieval Arabic and European astronomers, so I'm not sure how useful they would have been to Roman travellers.<br>
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Ptolemy's work shows that map-making was quite sophisticated in the ancient world, but Roman travellers' maps seem to have been more like itineraries tracing routes between major towns with notes and approximate distances rather than maps as we know them today. This kind of 'map'/guide may well have been used by the army to navigate from army base to army base, or commanders may have used local knowledge and the sun to find their way around. Doing this in <i> terra incognita</i> without the aid of helpful locals would have been difficult of course.<br>
Cheers,<br>
<p>Tim O'Neill / Thiudareiks Flavius<BR>
<P>
Visit Clades Variana - Home of the Varus Film Project<br>

</p><i></i>
There's a chapter devoted to maps et al in Susan Mattern's book Rome and the Enemy: Imperial Strategy in the Principate (1999), 259p. <p>Greets<BR>
<BR>
Jasper</p><i></i>

Guest

Salve,<br>
<br>
In addition to the works cited above these are also of interest:<br>
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Dilke, O.A.W., <i> Greek and Roman maps</i> (London 1985) 224p.<br>
Sherk, R.K., 'Roman geographical exploration and military maps' in: <i> ANRW</i> II-1 (1974), 534-562.<br>
<br>
Maps were known, but certainly not used as extensively as by today's military. Instead of true maps <i> itineraria</i> were used that detailed places and the distance between them. While the area of the empire itself was reasonably known, the world outside was considerably less so, even after centuries of campaigning over the same ground.<br>
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There was a rather schematic map drawn on one of the shield boards recovered at Dura, reproduced in Dilke.<br>
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Regards,<br>
<br>
Sander van Dorst <p></p><i></i>

Guest

Salve,<br>
<br>
This Ancient History Bulletin article has also some information on Roman maps<br>
<br>
Stumbling through Gaul<br>
<br>
Regards,<br>
<br>
Sander van Dorst <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

Sander,<br>
Very interesting article there.<br>
There's a little maxim by Napoleon that made me laugh: on s'engage, et puis on voit.<br>
It means "we move up, then we see".<br>
Woah Silver! What about some recon first?E EM<br>
Come to think of it, it's not before the advent of GPS that soldiers quit being lost, usually irremediably. With or without maps.<br>
And if I recall, more often than not, armies or military units, whether friend or foe, equipped with maps spent days looking for each other.<br>
The part about the "linear thinking" of the Romans is fascinating.<br>
I also think that due to its classified nature, a lot of the topographical kowledge of ancient military commanders is irremediably lost to us.<br>
In his commentaries, Julius Caesar told us only what he wanted to tell...<br>
<p></p><i></i>