Tabula Peutingeriana (Latin for "The Peutinger Map"), also referred to
as Peutinger's Tabula or Peutinger Table, is an illustrated
itinerarium (ancient Roman road map) showing the layout of the cursus
publicus, the road network of the Roman Empire.
The map is a 13th-century parchment copy of a possible Roman original.
Europe (without the
Iberian Peninsula and the British
Isles), North Africa, and parts of Asia, including the Middle East,
Persia, and India. According to one hypothesis, the existing map is
based on a document of the 4th or 5th century that contained a copy of
the world map originally prepared by Agrippa during the reign of the
Augustus (27 BC – AD 14). However, Emily Albu has suggested
that the existing map could instead be based on an original from the
Named after the 16th-century German antiquarian Konrad Peutinger, the
map is now conserved at the
Austrian National Library
Austrian National Library in Vienna.
2 Map description
4 Printed editions
8 External links
The Tabula is thought to be a distant descendant of the map prepared
under the direction of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, a Roman general,
architect, and friend of emperor Augustus. After Agrippa's death in 12
BC, that map was engraved in marble and put on display in the Porticus
Vipsania in the
Campus Agrippae area in Rome, close to the Ara Pacis
The early imperial dating for the archetype of the map is supported by
American historian Glen Bowersock, and is based on numerous details of
Roman Arabia that look entirely anachronistic for a 4th-century
map. Bowersock concluded that the original source is likely the map
made by Vipsanius Agrippa. This dating is also consistent with the
map's inclusion of the Roman town of
Pompeii near modern-day Naples,
which was never rebuilt after it had been destroyed in an eruption of
Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.
The original Roman map, of which this may be the only surviving copy,
was last revised in the 4th or early 5th century. It shows the
city of Constantinople, founded in 328, and the prominence of Ravenna,
seat of the Western
Roman Empire from 402 to 476, which suggests a
fifth-century revision according to Levi and Levi. The presence of
certain cities of
Germania Inferior that were destroyed in the
mid-fifth century also provides a terminus ante quem, i.e. the map's
latest creation date, though Emily Albu suggests that this information
could have been preserved in textual, not cartographic, form.
Tabula Peutingeriana is thought to be the only known surviving map
of the Roman cursus publicus, the state-run road network. The
surviving map itself was created by a monk in
Colmar in modern-day
eastern France in 1265. It is a parchment scroll, 0.34 metres
(1 foot 1 inch) high and 6.75 metres (22.1 feet) long,
assembled from eleven sections, a medieval reproduction of the
It is a very schematic map, designed to give a practical overview of
the road network, as opposed to an accurate representation of
geographic features: the land masses shown are distorted, especially
in the east-west direction. The map shows many Roman settlements and
the roads connecting them, as well as other features such as rivers,
mountains, forests and seas. The distances between settlements are
also given. In total no fewer than 555 cities and 3,500 other place
names are shown on the map. The three most important cities of the
Roman Empire at the time – Rome,
Antioch – are
represented with special iconic decoration.
Besides the totality of the empire, the map also shows areas in the
India and the Ganges,
Sri Lanka (Insula Taprobane), and
even an indication of China. It even shows a "Temple to Augustus" at
Muziris on the modern-day Malabar Coast, one of the main ports for
trade with the
Roman Empire on the southwest coast of India. On the
western end of the scroll, the absence of Morocco, the Iberian
Peninsula, and the
British Islands indicates that a twelfth original
section has been lost in the surviving copy; the missing section was
reconstructed in 1898 by Konrad Miller.
The map appears to be based on "itineraries", lists of destinations
along Roman roads, as the distances between points along the routes
are indicated. Travelers would not have possessed anything so
sophisticated as a modern map, but they needed to know what lay ahead
of them on the road and how far. The Peutinger Table represents these
roads as a series of stepped lines along which destinations have been
marked in order of travel. The shape of the parchment pages accounts
for the conventional rectangular layout. However, a rough similarity
to the coordinates of Ptolemy's earth-mapping gives some writers hope
that some terrestrial representation was intended by the unknown
The stages and cities are represented by hundreds of functional place
symbols, used with discrimination from the simplest icon of a building
with two towers to the elaborate individualized "portraits" of the
three great cities. The editors Annalina and Mario Levi concluded that
the semi-schematic, semi-pictorial symbols reproduce Roman
cartographic conventions of the itineraria picta described by
4th-century writer Vegetius, of which this is the sole known
The map was discovered in a library in the city of Worms by German
Conrad Celtes in 1494, who was unable to publish his find
before his death and bequeathed the map in 1508 to Konrad Peutinger, a
German humanist and antiquarian in Augsburg, after whom the map is
named. The Peutinger family kept possession of the map for more
than two hundred years until it was sold in 1714. It then bounced
between several royal and elite families until it was purchased by
Prince Eugene of Savoy
Prince Eugene of Savoy for 100 ducats; upon his death in 1737, it was
purchased for the
Habsburg Imperial Court Library in Vienna
(Hofbibliothek). It is today conserved at the Austrian National
Library at the
Hofburg palace in Vienna.
In 2007, the map was placed on the UNESCO's Memory of the World
Register, and in recognition of this, it was displayed to the public
for a single day on 26 November 2007. Because of its fragile
condition, it is not usually on public display.
The map was copied for Dutch cartographer
Abraham Ortelius and
published shortly after his death in 1598. A partial first edition was
Antwerp in 1591 (titled Fragmenta tabulæ antiquæ) by
Johannes Moretus, who would print the full Tabula in December 1598,
also at Antwerp.
Johannes Janssonius published another version in
Amsterdam, c. 1652.
In 1753 Franz Christoph von Scheyb published a copy, and in 1872
Konrad Miller, a German professor, was allowed to copy the map.
Several publishing houses in
Europe then made copies. In 1892
Williams and Norgate published a copy in London, and in
1911 a sheet was added showing the reconstructed sections of the
British Isles and the Iberian peninsula missing in the original.
The Tabula Peutingeriana, from the reconstructed British and Iberian
panel in the west to
India in the east.
^ a b Ravenstein 1911, p. 637.
^ Emily Albu, The Medieval Peutinger Map: Imperial Roman Revival in a
German Empire. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014
^ Bowersock 1994, pp. 169–170,175,177,178–179,181,182,184.
^ Bowersock 1994, p. 185.
^ a b Levi & Levi 1967, p. [page needed]
^ Bagrow 2010, p. 37
^ a b Nussli
^ Lendering 2016
^ Ball 2000, p. 123.
^ Talbert 2010, p. 189
^ Not all the stages are between towns: sometimes a crossroads marks
the staging point.
^ Vegetius' "...viarum qualitas, compendia, diverticula, montes,
flumina ad fidem descripta suggest a more detailed "pictorial
itinerary" than either the
Antonine Itinerary or the Tabula
^ Accession number: Codex 324.
^ Bell 2007.
Levi, Annalina; Levi, Mario (1967), Itineraria picta: Contributo allo
Tabula Peutingeriana (in Italian), Rome:
Bretschneider — Includes the best easily available
reproduction of the Tabula Peutingeriana, at 2:3 scale.
Levi, Annalina; Levi, Mario (1978), La
Tabula Peutingeriana (in
Italian), Bologna: Edizioni Edison — Includes a reproduction
of the Tabula Peutingeriana, at 1:1 scale.
Ball, Warwick (2000),
Rome in the East: The transformation of an
empire, London and New York: Routledge, ISBN 0-415-11376-8
Bagrow, Leo (2010), History of Cartography, Transaction Publishers,
p. 37, ISBN 978-1-4128-2518-4
Bell, Bethany (26 November 2007), Ancient Roman road map unveiled, BBC
Bowersock, Glen (1994), Roman Arabia, Harvard University Press,
Lendering, Jona (24 July 2016) , "Peutinger Map", Livius,
retrieved 27 December 2016
Nussli, Christos, "The Tabula Peutingeriana, a Roman Road Map",
Euratlas.net, retrieved 15 August 2016
Ravenstein, Ernest George (1911), "Map", in Chisholm, Hugh,
Encyclopædia Britannica, 17 (11th ed.), Cambridge University Press,
Talbert, Richard (2010), Rome's World: The Peutinger Map Reconsidered,
Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521764803
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tabula Peutingeriana.
Wikisource has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia
article Peutingerian Table.
Peutinger map as a seamless whole, in color, with overlaid layers, by
Tabula Peutingeriana as route planner, plotted on Google
Roman Sites: complete scan of
Tabula Peutingeriana 13th-century
Bibliotheca Augustana: complete scan of
Tabula Peutingeriana 1887-1888
Slide #120 Monograph:Tabula Peutingeriana, First century A.D.,
Tabula Peutingeriana (high-resolution JPEGs & Alphabetical index)
at Sorin Olteanu's LTDM Project (soltdm.com)
Tabula Peutingeriana – Interactive Navigation and Index with Zoom
Tabula Peutingeriana: real-size reproduction with permission of the
National Austrian Library
Seadragon Deep Zoom representation of the map
BNF: cb15057536z (da