chapter  10
12 Pages

A mobile culture?

The developments in technology to the road system and the increased efficiency of the actual transport animals, alongside a mentalite of space­ time that emphasised the transport of persons and goods over a distance, are features of a culture that has an emphasis on mobility. This chapter sets out to examine the ancient experience of travel and to assess just how mobile the population of Italy was. This is a key question to our understanding of the linkages between cities and regions. We need to do more than notice their existence and look to see if this system of transport was a crucial part of the structure of Roman society. In other words, was transportation embedded in the social structure in the same way as the economy? The analysis put forward here is partial, since so much information is missing from the historical record. What we do have, though, is an indication of what travel meant to those who participated in the activity and also how it was viewed by those who did not necessarily stray from their place of birth or resettle­ ment (on migration see Hopkins 1978: 64-74).