Objectives and goals
IntroductionClick to read
At the end of this module you will know:
• the main European Roman routes
• the basic history of the European Roman routes
• the development of the European Roman routes
• the role of the European Roman routes during the Roman Empire
Different Types of Roman RoadsClick to read
Roman roads varied from simple corduroy roads to paved roads using deep roadbeds of tamped rubble as an underlying layer to ensure that they kept dry, as the water would flow out from between the stones and fragments of rubble, instead of becoming mud in clay soils. According to Ulpian, there were three types of roads:
The "viae publicae", commonly called "consular", connected the most important cities. These roads were crossed by the Roman legions in their transfers and the couriers of the state postal service ("cursus publicus") traveled on them.
Next to the network of viae publicae there were numerous roads of regional interest, the viae vicinalis or viae rusticae, which connected the smaller settlements ("vici") with each other or with the main streets, the maintenance of which was borne by local administrations, and finally viae privatee, of local interest and maintained at the expense of the communities or individual citizens who used them.
While the "viae publicae" were generally paved, the secondary roads could be paved or not, for example with only a layer of gravel or stones: in this case they were called viae glareatae. After the secondary roads came the viae terrenae, normally unpaved.
Main European Roman RoadsClick to read
Italy - Major Roads:
Albania / North Macedonia / Greece / Turkey
Austria / Serbia / Bulgaria / Turkey
In France, a Roman road is called voie romaine in vernacular language.
Germania Inferior (Germany, Belgium, Netherlands);
Spain and Portugal
These roads connected modern Italy and Germany
High Street, a fell in the English Lake District, named after the apparent Roman road which runs over the summit, which is claimed to be the highest Roman road in Britain. Its status as a Roman road is problematic, as it appears to be a holloway or sunken lane, whereas the Romans built their roads on an agger or embankment.
A Special Case. Via Francigena:
Via Francigena is the common name of a medieval pilgrim route running from France to Rome and then continuing to Apulia, where there were the pilgrims sailed to the Holy Land. It is usually considered to have its starting point on the other side of the English Channel, in the cathedral city of Canterbury. As such, the route passes through England, France, Switzerland and Italy.
The route was known in Italy as the "Via Francigena" ("the road that comes from France") or the "Via Romea Francigena" ("the road to Rome that comes from France"). In medieval times it was an important road and pilgrimage route for those wishing to visit the Holy See and the tombs of the apostles Peter and Paul.
Road networks contribute to the economy and cultureClick to read
Since the ancient years up until today, large-scale transport infrastructures have shaped connectivity and determined the distribution of economic activity, not only locally, but also across various regions.
Connectivity may have long-lasting consequences for the connected regions such as reduced information frictions and increased cultural integration. However, there is still not enough information about the potential origins of systematic differences in bilateral transport connectivity and information frictions between regions (Flückiger et all., 2019).