How long did it take to travel from Rome to Brundisium?
Ever so often, an idea comes around that has the potential to revolutionise a number of academic disciplines. Walter Scheidel, a colossus in the field of Roman history, has unveiled ‘ORBIS’ – a geospatial network model of the Roman World developed at Stanford University. With this model, it becomes possible to work out the route between two points in the Roman world within a given season as well as the likely cost of moving commodities long that route using different forms of transport. It does not take much to appreciate that this sort of information will reinvigorate the much-discussed debate initiated by Moses Finley concerning the economic significance of road vs. sea transport in the Roman Empire.
In case you are wondering, the answer is 8.9 days if you travelled fast during the month of July.