Designer Imagines Roads Of Ancient Rome As A Subway Map

Designer Imagines Roads Of Ancient Rome As A Subway Map
Arts & Culture

A student from the University of Chicago created the concept to map the empire of Ancient Rome, with lines running through three continents

Matt Vitone
  • 3 august 2017

A student from the University of Chicago has reimagined the Roman Empire’s extensive road network as a subway map, linking ancient cities from Amphipolis to Alexandria. Sasha Trubetskoy did extensive research into the Roman Empire’s road system circa 125 AD, which spanned some 250,000 miles, from Britain to Spain to northern Africa. The lines are a combination of actual named roads (like the Via Appia and Via Militaris) as well as roads that do not have known historic names (in which case Trubetskoy invented them).

Trubetskoy took some creative liberties while making the map. Given the massive size of the Roman Empire at its peak, the designer simplified the scope by excluding many places that would have been a part of the actual road system, which he said was the most difficult part of the project.

“There is no way I could include every Roman road, these are only the main ones. I tried to include cities with larger populations, or cities that were provincial capitals around the 2nd century,” he wrote in a blog post.

The map isn’t perfect, or even perfectly convenient (in many cases it would be faster to take a boat to your destination than ride a subway line with transfers), but the colorful design certainly inspires the imagination. Trubetskoy is selling hi-res PDFs fit for printing through his website, where the map can also be viewed in more detail.

Sasha Trubetskoy

+ancient rome
+arts & culture
+sasha trubetskoy
+subway map
+University of Chicago

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