#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.

Published by

Paul Hodson

Head of Unit "EnergyEfficiency" at European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy

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