1st Edition

Challenges of Mapping the Classical World

By Richard J.A. Talbert Copyright 2019
    224 Pages 44 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    212 Pages 44 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Challenges of Mapping the Classical World collects together in one volume fourteen varied items written by Richard Talbert over the past thirty years. They cohere around the theme of mapping the classical world since the nineteenth century. All were originally prompted by Talbert’s commission in the late 1980s to produce a definitive classical atlas after more than a century of failed attempts by the Kieperts and others. These he evaluates, as well as probing the Smith/Grove atlas, a successful twenty-year initiative launched in the mid-1850s, with a cartographic approach that departs radically from established practice. Talbert’s initial vision for the international collaborative project that resulted in the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World (2000) is presented, and the successive twice-yearly reports on its progress from 1991 through to completion are published here for the first time. A further item reflects retrospectively on the project’s cartographic challenges and on how developments in digital map production were decisive in overcoming them. This volume will be invaluable to anyone with an interest in the development and growing impact of mapping the classical world.

    Preface and Acknowledgments


    1 Walter Goffart’s Historical Atlases: The First Three Hundred Years, 1570-1870 (2003). Review in History Today December 2003, p. 58.

    2 William Smith and George Grove (eds.), Atlas of Ancient Geography Biblical and Classical (1872-1874): Introduction to the 2013 Reissue (London: I. B. Tauris, 2013, pp. v-xii)

    3 Carl Müller (1813-1894), S. Jacobs, and the Making of Classical Maps in Paris for John Murray (Imago Mundi 46: 1994. pp. 128-50)

    4 A Forgotten Masterpiece of Cartography for Roman Historians: Pierre Lapie’s Orbis Romanus ad Illustranda Itineraria (1845) in H. M. Schellenberg, V. E. Hirschmann, Andreas Krieckhaus, eds., A Roman Miscellany: Essays in Honour of Anthony R. Birley on his Seventieth Birthday, Gdańsk: Gdańsk University, 2008, pp. 149-56 and maps.

    5 Heinrich Kiepert, Formae Orbis Antiqui (1894-1914): Introduction to the 1996 Reissue (Rome: Edizioni Quasar, 1996, pp. V-VIII).

    6 Ségolène Débarre’s Cartographier l’Asie Mineure: L’orientalisme allemand à l’épreuve du terrain (1835-1895) (2016). Review in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2017.05.27.

    7 The Primary Classical Atlases and Map Series between 1870 and 1990 (1992)

    8 Classical Atlas Project: Narrative Description 1990 (unpublished)

    9 Classical Atlas Project: Instructions for Compilers 1990 (unpublished)

    10 Classical Atlas Project: Half-Yearly Reports to the U. S. National Endowment for the Humanities, August 1991 – May 2000. Table: Giving and Commitments by Calendar Years (November 1995) (unpublished)

    11 Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World: The Cartographic Fundamentals in Retrospect (Cartographic Perspectives 46: 2003. pp. 4-27 and 72-76)

    12 Maps of the Classical World: Where Do We Go from Here? (American Journal of Philology 118: 1997. pp. 323-27)

    13 Mapping the Ancient World: GIS for History (co-authored with Tom Elliott) in A. K. Knowles, ed., Past Time, Past Place: GIS for History, Redlands, CA: ESRI Press, 2002, pp. 145-62.

    14 Neue Pauly’s Historischer Atlas der antiken Welt (2007). Review of Anne-Maria Wittke, Eckart Olshausen, Richard Szydlak, Historischer Atlas der antiken Welt. Der Neue Pauly. Supplemente Band 3, Stuttgart/Weimar: Metzler, in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2009.07.22)



    Richard J.A. Talbert is William Rand Kenan, Jr., Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA. As well as publishing extensively on historical cartography and other topics, he has edited Atlas of Classical History (now under revision), Wall Maps for the Ancient World, and Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World.

    "The volume, which comes at a time when research on the reception of ancient geography between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries creates a growing space, will be of great use to scholars of the history of cartography, of the history of classical studies and to anyone who wants to understand better what it really means to design the map of a world that has disappeared today." - Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2019


    "In this handy volume Talbert raises awareness of the methodologies that guide good map-making hand in glove with a survey of the advancement of technology and information that fueled cartographic initiatives from the 19th century into the digital age." - The Classical Journal 2019