The wonders of ORBIS

My colleague Emma Cox introduced me to something a friend had found. ORBIS. It turns out to be a work of genius. This month’s History Today also features an article about it.

It is an interactive map of the Roman Empire, with integrated sea routes, roads and lots of details about journeys, their modes of transport and prices.

You can find out how long it would have taken the Emperor Hadrian to travel from his home town of Italica to Rome, for example (just over 14 days, assuming a fast sailing ship and fast carriage, which surely the Emperor could afford) travelling round Spain to Carthago Nova, then sailing across to Sardinia, and on to Rome. Not cheap, but quite fast.

I used the programme with my Year 8 Latin set to find out how long it would have taken Quintus of Cambridge Latin Course fame to travel from Pompeii to Naples (with very little money) and then (having sold his father’s farms in Campania) by more speedy methods on to Athens, then Alexandria, and finally to Fishbourne. I’ll leave you to work that out for yourselves, as my Year 8s did!

The address for the website is, and I do recommend you have a look!

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