The Earliest States of Eastern Europe
DG-2023, 354-376

Über die Landstraße entlang der Südküste des Schwarzen Meeres auf der Peutinger’s Karte: wie arbeitete der Kartograph

A. V. Podosinov

The article discusses the land road laid along the southern coast of the Black Sea from the Thracian Bosporus to Trapezunt on the Tabula Peutingeriana. In antiquity this region’s natural conditions (mountain ranges, descending to the sea, and wide rivers) stood in the way, so the path could not be laid there. Literary and archeological sources, milestones among them, do not confirm its existence. So, the article discusses possible causes and conditions which permitted the cartographer, who having used existing Greek periploi describing the coast, to “reconstruct” the possible land road. The article analyzes in detail the data of the Tabula Peutingeriana, which shows the path along the coast and the distances between “the stations”, these data being compared with the information of other sources (geographical texts), mostly with those of periploi describing the route of the ship close to the shore (the main source is “Periplus of the Pontus Euxinus” by Arrian). It has been found out that the distances between the stations correspond rather to the data of periploi; it means that the non-existent road was the cartographer’s invention, who supported on such literature. Also, the article mentions the absence of the road’s description in “The Antonine Itinerary”, where the descriptions of many ways coincide with the data of the Tabula Peutingeriana. It is noteworthy that this is not the first road along the sea coast on the Tabula which could not really exist. Thus, it shows an coastal road in Asia Minor between the Ionian city of Miletus and the Lycian city of Patara, led through Myndos, Knidos and Loryma. These cities’ geographical location does not assume the existence of the coastal road between them, but is based on the data of a periplus, possibly used by the cartographer. Also, the article draws a parallel with the path along the north-eastern coast of the Black Sea (now Abkhazia), where rivers and mountains impeded communication in antiquity and in the following centuries, until the twentieth century.

Peutunger’s map, south coast of the Black Sea, land road, periploi


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