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Barrington atlas of the Greek and Roman world /

Other Authors: Talbert, Richard J. A., 1947-, Bagnall, Roger S.
Format: Map Book
Language: English
Published: Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 2000
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Review by Choice Review

As much a work of art as a scholarly source, this atlas is the result of a 12-year scholarly effort by almost 150 section editors ("vicars"), compilers, reviewers, and cartographers. Providing topographic detail absent from other classical atlases, this unwieldy folio volume offers 99 detailed color relief maps covering "all regions for which penetration of the Greeks and Romans can be documented," from the Bronze Age to mid-seventh century CE. The cartography, provided by, based on US Defense Mapping Agency maps, attempts to represent the ancient landscape's coastlines, river beds, and elevations. Seven introductory maps providing overviews for large regions precede more detailed maps for specific areas. Cartographic symbols denote man-made features (cities, roads, mines, canals); typography (sometimes quite tiny) is used to denote relative population of sites. Ancient place-names are color-coded to five time periods so that a single map may display sites from the Greek, Hellenistic, and Roman periods. Although a concluding gazetteer indexes more than 27,500 place-names, the Map-by-Map Directory on an accompanying CD-ROM and in a more expensive two-volume printed set supplies for each map an introductory essay, a list of place-names of unknown location, and a bibliography. Scholars will demand this landmark volume, but nonspecialists and students will still require the city plans and thematic, topical, or period maps offered by Talbert's own Atlas of Classical History (CH, Jan'86); Atlas of the Greek and Roman World in Antiquity, ed. by N.G.L. Hammond (CH, Jan'82); or A.A.M. van der Heyden and H.H. Scullard's Atlas of the Classical World (1960). Some of these maps can be previewed on the Atlas's sister Web site, Interactive Ancient Mediterranean . Academic collections. B. Juhl; University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review

The result of more than 10 years of intensive effort, this folio-sized atlas is a remarkable achievement of scholarship involving more than 197 historians, archaeologists, assistants, and cartographers from around the world. The creators started with modern aeronautical maps of the regions made by the U.S. Defense Mapping Agency and the British Directorate General of Military Survey. Scholars then spent years making necessary geographical changes and locating sites. The 99 full-color maps re-create the entire world of the Greeks and Romans from the British Isles to North Africa and the Indian subcontinent. The chronological span ranges from archaic Greece through the late Roman Empire, roughly 1000 B.C. to A.D. 640. Six small-scale overview maps are followed by maps arranged in six regional sections and then by three outline maps showing the Roman Empire's provinces in A.D. 117. The majority of the maps are double-spread pages that face the reader. The hand-sewn binding means that pages lie flat. For 18 of the maps, the user must rotate the book to read, and one map, depicting the Mediterranean region, is a three-page foldout. The table of contents and locator diagrams inside the front and back covers help in finding the appropriate map, although some users may be daunted by the use of ancient, generally Latin names (Aegyptus, Internum Mare, Latium Vetus) for map headings, place names, and features. No more than two map scales (1:1,000,000 and 1:500,000) are used for most regions. All maps show geographical features such as contours, elevations, mountains, forests, swamps, and so on. Cultural features like aqueducts, roads, tunnels, and urban areas are also depicted, as are points such as dams, estates, lighthouses, monasteries, temples, and wells. There are no city plans, although the relative importance of cities is indicated by type style. Color is used to denote time periods and elevations. A detailed Map Key explains the various symbols and conventions. Assisting users of the atlas is a gazetteer and a CD-ROM "Map-by-Map Directory." The 43-page gazetteer has five columns per page and approximately 24,000 entries. Each entry provides the name, modern country location, map page, and grid square/letter location. The CD-ROM that accompanies the atlas is readable using Adobe Acrobat Reader 4.0 and is easy to navigate. A typical CD-ROM entry gives a history of the making of a particular map, followed by a listing of every entry for that map. This listing provides grid location, place and feature name, time period, modern name or country location, references from classical and modern documentation, and a bibliography. A two-volume print edition of the "Map-by-Map Directory" is also available for an additional $125 ($150 if purchased separately). This unique resource is the most comprehensive atlas published on ancient Greece and Rome. Large public libraries as well as universities with map collections and programs in history and classical studies will want to seriously consider acquiring this marvelous atlas.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Beautifully produced with an exquisite combination of scholarly precision and the highest level of cartographic art, this atlas is one of the greatest achievements in 20th-century Greek and Roman scholarshipDand it probably will never be superceded. It contains 99 strikingly clear and precise color maps reflecting Greek or Roman presence in the ancient world and presenting the landscape, insofar as possible, as it was in those times. The maps provide locations for the sites of thousands of known cities as well as indicators of less securely attested areas of habitation from the ninth-century B.C. to the fifth century A.D. The accuracy of these maps has been made possible by developments in satellite-generated aeronautical charts and recent progress in computational power. The atlas's final production began in 1988; its completion involved over 160 scholars and cartographers (editor Talbert is a professor of history and classics at UNC-Chapel Hill). Readers can choose between a CD-ROM and a print version of the accompanying two-volume map-by-map directory that contains essential information about the sites and their topography. A gazetteer includes the names of and critical information about all the sites located in the maps, and the accompanying Adobe Acrobat Reader provides powerful search capabilities. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved