Cover image for Barrington atlas of the Greek and Roman world
Barrington atlas of the Greek and Roman world
Talbert, Richard J. A., 1947-
Publication Information:
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xxvii pages, 102 two page maps, 45 unnumbered pages : illustrations ; 47 cm + 1 computer optical disc (4 3/4 in.)


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
G1033 .B3 2000 BOOK WITH CD Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Folio Non-Circ

On Order



In 102 full-color maps spread over 175 pages, the Barrington Atlas re-creates the entire world of the Greeks and Romans from the British Isles to the Indian subcontinent and deep into North Africa. It spans the territory of more than 75 modern countries. Its large format (13 1/4 x 18 in. or 33.7 x 46.4 cm) has been custom-designed by the leading cartographic supplier,, Inc., and is unrivaled for range, clarity, and detail. Over 70 experts, aided by an equal number of consultants, have worked from satellite-generated aeronautical charts to return the modern landscape to its ancient appearance, and to mark ancient names and features in accordance with the most up-to-date historical scholarship and archaeological discoveries. Chronologically, the Barrington Atlas spans archaic Greece to the Late Roman Empire, and no more than two standard scales (1:500,000 and 1:1,000,000) are used to represent most regions.

Since the 1870s, all attempts to map the classical world comprehensively have failed. The Barrington Atlas has finally achieved that elusive and challenging goal. It began in 1988 at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, under the direction of the distinguished ancient historian Richard Talbert, and has been developed with approximately $4.5 million in funding support.

The resulting Barrington Atlas is a reference work of permanent value. It has an exceptionally broad appeal to everyone worldwide with an interest in the ancient Greeks and Romans, the lands they penetrated, and the peoples and cultures they encountered in Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia. Scholars and libraries should find it essential. It is also for students, travelers, lovers of fine cartography, and anyone eager to retrace Alexander's eastward marches, cross the Alps with Hannibal, traverse the Eastern Mediterranean with St. Paul, or ponder the roads, aqueducts, and defense works of the Roman Empire. For the new millennium the Barrington Atlas brings the ancient past back to life in an unforgettably vivid and inspiring way.

Map-by-Map Directory

A Map-by-Map Directory to the Barrington Atlas is available online ( and in a separate two-volume print edition of close to 1,500 pages. The Directory is designed to provide information about every place or feature in the Barrington Atlas. The section for each map comprises:

a concise text drawing attention to special difficulties in mapping a region, such as extensive landscape change since antiquity, or uneven modern exploration. a listing of every name and feature on the map, with basic data about the period of occupation, the modern equivalents of ancient placenames, the modern country within which they are located, and brief references to relevant ancient testimony or modern studies. a bibliography of works cited. The Map-by-Map Directory is an essential accompaniment to the Barrington Atlas . As a uniquely rich, comprehensive, up-to-date distillation of evidence and scholarship, it has no match elsewhere and opens the way to an immense variety of further research initiatives.

Author Notes

Richard J. A. Talbert is William Rand Kenan Professor of History and Classics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and current President of the Association of Ancient Historians. He taught previously in the United Kingdom and Canada, and is the author of The Senate of Imperial Rome (Princeton), which won the American Philological Association's Goodwin Award of Merit.

Reviews 3

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.

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

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