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Plan your journey across the Empire

May 24, 2012

Huge thanks to Carol and to Jonathan for the link to ORBIS. It’s a sort of Google Directions for the ancient world.

I know I’m not the only author to be delighted at the thought of never again having to take a ruler to a map and then multiply the resulting mileage by the speed of an ox cart in order to get characters to the right place in a plausible length of time.

It should be pointed out, though, that travellers outside the Empire may experience a delay of several hundred years  while they wait for the arrival of suitable transport to Europe.

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6 comments

  1. Okay, that is so cool. I’m totally with you on the ruler, the map, and the average speed of an African swallow.

    I just tested it on a route for which I previously calculated the answer: by trireme from Athens to Ephesus. I figured that on Salaminia, the fastest trireme ever built, it could be done with only a single overnight stop and two long days. Orbis produced 2.4 days for a standard boat on its quickest route.


  2. That all fits very nicely, doesn’t it? Good to know that the measure-and-maths system did work, even if it was rather longwinded.

    I did some experimenting with London-to-Rome and liked the way that in June ORBIS will send travellers on a sea route and in January it will send them down the Rhone. (That’s assuming they survive the attempt to reach France, of course.)


    • Ruth, ORBIS looks like a terrific resource, so many thanks to you and the colleagues who passed the details on to you. I’ll certainly be using it for Aurelia #5!


      • Glad you like it – I meant to tell you about it at Crimefest, and completely forgot.


  3. If only General Varus had had this tool. Those three legions might still be alive today.


    • Maybe there should be an option for ‘routes avoiding potential ambush points’!



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