View Full Version : Itinerarium!

04-20-2010, 02:11 PM
Has anyone else ever tried making what is apparently called an Itinerarium? In their most basic form they are really just a list of places found along a road, and the distances between each. More complex ones merely showing roads branching off. My understanding is that they were the common form of map used for travelers in Rome, and that our modern view of a map didn't become common until far later in history.

I'm in the process of revamping the world map for my novel, because I am not happy with the current level of detail in what I had been using, and just how hard it was to actually deal with them. If I wanted a distance I had to pull out a scale and measure, and then throw the pure as measured distance through functions to account for varied terrain, etc. That was really just a pain. Listing just the roads and cities feels like it is going to be far more useful, but I'm wondering what people's thoughts on this mapping style are.

I'm currently drawing on 12"x18" sheets, which allows a 40"+ of road to be drawn in an S.

Besides names of towns, populations, distances, bridges/ferries, and types of road surface, what other kind of information would you like to see on such a map?

04-20-2010, 04:34 PM
Do you mean those maps that are visually just drawn as a long road, with the stuff along it and the routes branching off?
If so I recall John Ogilby doing similar style maps in the 16th century. I don't know about the Roman style ones, but his road atlas type maps might be worth looking at. I have always considered handing my players an in-game map in that style rather than a proper accurate one. =P

I think mostly you'd see inns and places for travellers to stay at, as well as major religious sites and landmarks. Things of particular note would be on there I think with a few notes about them. Maybe even a comment or two about the disposition of a certain settlement, true or not (which leads to such a place earning a reputation).

If it's a Roman style society, it'll definately have those big inns on there that official travellers used. If it has an efficient postal system with riders, might have the changing stations or whatever, where horses are swapped or shod. Military stuff might including sites for marching camps.

04-21-2010, 03:58 PM
If it has an efficient postal system with riders, might have the changing stations or whatever, where horses are swapped or shod.
These might be included only in government-made maps handed to agents in it's employ - as the stations would likely refuse to serve anyone else.

An interesting question is how to handle ports in such a map. Would there be lines to represent sea lanes like there are for roads? Or would they simply list the most common trade partners for each port, with the typical number of days it takes to sail to each destination? Here one should keep in mind that the duration of voyage from one port to another can vary a lot due to luck with winds. Also the same route can be consistently faster sailed to one direction than it is to the opposite direction (because of prevailing winds and sea currents).

04-21-2010, 05:05 PM
I think for ports it would be easiest to just list what body of water they're on. At most you would just list the rough distance between it and a few ports it connects to.

04-22-2010, 12:15 PM
This is similar to what the AAA (or Your Local Automobile Association) used to distribute as a "TripTik" (they still use the same name today, but for something different). Essentially, they were strip maps of a given route (say, from New York to Miami), about six inches wide and as tall as needed for your route (in an accordion fold, if I remember correctly, so you could fold them into a series of single panels as you progressed). The starting point was at one end of the map, the destination at the other (you could use the same map for travelling either way). The "map" section was an actual chunk of the AAA map along the route (I never used one from a route that wasn't mostly straight, so I don't know how they handled sharp bends), and alongside it was a list of the towns you'd pass along whatever highway you used, along with their accumulated driving time and distance from either end, so you could plan where to stop for the night.

Another similar thing is a river map; these are used to aid navigation on rivers, but they're not oriented; the river is drawn as a mostly-straight line (big curves are flattened out) with depth and port information on it; compasses are drawn periodically to show what direction the river is going at the given point.