Cartographica Neerlandica Map Text for Ortelius Map No. 228


Text translated from the 1624L edition, which also occurs in the 1641 Spanish edition:

(First column, the text is a continuation of that of Ort 227:)
228.1. {1624L/1641s{until he arrives in a city chosen as it were by a king, in which the tired military unit will rest. I would like to convince you that this ruling has been prescribed under the guidance of Christ and with the help of the Holy Saints. This has been achieved, and our fathers have come from the land of Egypt, over a vast stretch of land, of which all military camps and quarters have been described, come to Cades, that is, the Holy Land.
228.2. Thus you see the use of an Itinerary, and this is also what other authors have concluded. Truly, in this context the [following] poet is very credible [cited from Horatius'Ars Poetica, line 180-182]:
228.3. Less is engraved in the mind what is perceived by ear
Than what is entrusted to the trustworthy eyes
And what the viewer entrusts to himself...since Itineraries are illustrated with drawn maps. In this manner, no doubt, the emperor could see in one glance the orientation of roads and night quarters on a map. All this was very much a result of the fact that these matters belonged to the duties of the emperors. If a part of the army had to be moved from Lugdunum Batavorum [Leiden] to Noviomagus [Nijmegen], it would be helpful to visualise this task: either because of the size [of a marching army], or for other reasons, there are two ways to go from one to the other: the right one, along the right bank of the river [Rhine] is subdivided into six night quarters; and the left one, along the left bank, was subdivided into nine night quarters.
228.4. The area beyond the river valley was enemy territory, the other [valley] part was pacified. What has been said so far confirms that our map was made precisely for that purpose. The lines of the roads and the numbers representing distances added to them show this clearly, as also the fact that there are so many towns mentioned on it which are adjacent to the road lines drawn, next to other cities with well known names. The designer would not have added all these if he wanted to describe the provinces themselves, rather than the roads in them. He focussed on his own use.
[second column, right half of sheet 2]
228.5. He surpasses the surveyor, not the geographer. For this reason on must be aware not to attribute to the map an authority which the designer does not expect it to have, nor which it deserves on account of its ancient name. If anyone would hope for a useful application as is customary for geographical maps, collected in a devoted and scientific attitude, he is grossly in error. However, if someone forms the judgment that this map depiction has nothing to offer that cannot be found in the Itinerarium of Antoninus and the bare names found in it, he is equally in error. I think it is preferable to attribute an intermediate position to this map, considering it as a description to be used advantageously as the work of a designer whose efforts we intitially regarded as being rather coarse.
228.6. On the basis of the fragments I estimate the extension of this map as encompassing the Western empire with travel [indications] surpassing those of any other map. It is evident that only a small part has survived, and that there is more to be desired.
Rhenanus had already shown that the Rhine, from its mouth to its source had been fully described. But on these sheets he goes no further than Colonia Traiana [Xanten], although it extends further than that. Franciscus Irenicus reminds us of a certain Itinerarium Augustanum which is different from the Itinerarium of Antoninus. I think we are dealing with a revision of that map here. In that map you find, next to the many Rhine cities, also all cities of the Danube area, as many as were known in antiquity. He noted the names of a whole group of them, situated in RŠtia, Noricum and Pannonia, all the way to Sirmium. On the sheets you see the remnants of the routes through Gallia, Britannia, Hispania and Africa. And RŠtia [then] extended all the way to Italy, and Norica and Pannonia to Illyricum. However, the Western part, which Constantius and
[sheet 2, left page, column 1]
228.7. Galerius divided as regards the power, (being the first ones to do so, as Orosius says), comprised Italia, Africa, Hispania, Gallia Britannia and part of Illyricum. From the various separate parts of that empire traces can be derived indicating this, and therefore I do not regard it as doubtful that they, deplorably torn asunder as parts, were portrayed on the original. Thus it is the more regrettable and unpleasant that we have lost such a remarkable monument which, together with Antoninus and the Notitia Provinciarum, which could have contributed an incredible amount of information to illuminate and reconstruct the entire history of antiquity.
228.8. As regards the assessment of the antiquity of this map, I follow Rhenanus who believes it originated under the last emperors. There are many arguments to confirm this, and I will mention a few: the Franconian name that can be found on the first sheet only became known to the Romans at a rather late date, and is not mentioned in a text by anyone prior to Trebellius and Vopiscus. And those who think that Cicero already uses this name are seriously in error. They labour under the delusion of accepting the gloss in Iosephus about the HebrŠans, Book 5, Chapter 42, saying that there were Germans and French people born from Franconians who were present at the burial of Herodes.
228.9. With the 'last emperors' I do not mean the last one who used the imperial name in the West, but those who as the last ones wielded power in the provinces that these travels refer to. To this reasoning I add, superfluously, that Theodosius the Great and his suns must be regarded as the last of the last. It cannot be that this description is later than Theodosius. For after the death of Theodosius, the barbarians under Honorius and Arcadius assumed power in various provinces, and soon in more. This becomes clear from the testimonies of historians.
[sheet 2, left page, column 2]
228.10. And because no one will be prepared to believe that the Romans described roads through provinces which had already been taken by barbarians, all that we have posited so far can be taken as facts. Of all the sheets, the sheet which we show first has been designed graciously and elegantly, the others are rather ridiculous and incomplete. And we would easily be able to do without the rest, if what they contain would have been incorporated on the first sheet, and if the place names would have been more clear, and if there was no need to read the other place names by way of comparison. Apart from the fact that different roads through Gallia, Hispania and Africa are not shown on the first sheet, the variants in the rest must also be compared.
228.11. These names have been mutilated seriously for many places - either because of inherent shortcomings of the map, or because of [errors introduced by] copyists, or a combination of both. For why would we deny that there are errors on this map? But that additional errors were introduced through copying is evident from the incompatibility between the first sheet and the rest. [This is] a forgivable incompatibility, because it seems to stem from obscure, dubious and lost letters as a result of their age in the manuscript. We have exerted ourselves with intense efforts to explain and reconstruct what the map could have looked like. The course of the [road] lines, through which watch-posts and quarters (for these are the terms used by surveyors) were connected with each other, pictures the course of public roads, which for reasons of a consular, pretorian and military nature were called roads.
228.12. Digest[arum] Lib[er] 43.tit.8.line 2. [the system of laws originating from Iustinianus] : Public roads are those roads which the Greeks call [in Greek lettering] Basilikas, kings roads, and what we call pretorian, others consular roads. They are called military roads in the same book (tit.7. line 3.), where their use is being described: Military roads run to the sea or to cities, or to public rivers, or to other military roads. These various types of junctions can be seen on our sheets. But not all public roads are comprised under these names. Ulpianus says with regards to the law we referred to before: Those who have been incorporated after the consular roads leading to estates or to}1624L/1641S}(to be continued on sheet 3, Ort 229).

Bibliographical sources


For questions/comments concerning this page, please e-mail info@orteliusmaps.com.