#MaryBeard on being precartographic

Mary Beard, SPQR – A history of ancient Rome, 2015:

[T]he Romans did not plan to conquer and control Italy. No Roman cabal in the fourth century BCE sat down with a map, plotting a land grab in the territorial way we associate with imperialist nation-states in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. For a start, simple as it sounds, they had no maps. What this implies for how they, or any other ‘precartographic’ people, conceived the world around them, or just over their horizons, is one of history’s great mysteries.

Positano 411 7.JPG

I have tended to write of the spread of Roman power through the peninsula of Italy, but no one know how many – or realistically, how few – Romans at this date thought of their homeland as part of a peninsula in the way we picture it.


#MaryBeard on looking through Roman eyes

[F]rom the first century BCE … Roman scholars and critics began to pose many of the historical questions that we still pose even now. By a process that combined learned research with a good deal of constructive invention, they pieced together a version of early Rome that we still rely on today. We still see Roman history, at least in part, through first-century BCE eyes. (SPQR – A history of ancient Rome, 2015)

public wolf Rome 411.JPG

(I’m now reading The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall so I’m interested in this wolf for other reasons too.)