chapter  6
17 Pages

Time and distance

In the previous chapters, roads have been seen as a key factor in the integration of the Italian peninsula in a slightly abstract sense that has detached the use of these structures from everyday experience. Key to our understanding of this factor is a clear grasp of the nature of speed of travel in relation to the spatial layout of the journey itself. This is what geographers refer to as space-time - a view that refuses to disconnect space from its temporal setting (Soja 1996 for summary). Only by understanding the nature of Roman space-time and the level knowledge of distance between places on the part of the traveller can we make sense of the cultural change associated with road building and the improvement in terms of road technology discussed in the previous chapters (Figure 6.1). What I am seeking to elucidate here is the ancient epistemology of space and time, in other words the cultural perception of distance on the part of an ancient traveller.