Mapping Battles of Ancient Rome

Methodology and Description

               The idea of mapping Roman battles came about while exploring other maps on ArcGIS that explore the Ancient Roman world. Particular inspiration was drawn from this Roman World map, however I could not find the original creator. With few Roman world maps capturing battle sites, I sought to create a project that could be useful in tandem with other maps. The hope is that this map could be juxtaposed with layers showing forts and troop movement ranges, leading to new inferences from famous conflicts and battles.

               My work itself at this point is rudimentary. The current aim of this phase of the project is to include as many Roman battles as I can and layer them in, categorized by conflict period or war. As of January 6, 2022 I have completed the Samnite Wars, select Gallic encounters, the Tarentine (Pyrrhic) War, and the key engagements of the First Punic War. I have only included battles that I could find specific coordinates for: it was an intentional choice to select battles that either archaeologists and historians have identified sites for, or that we have very good evidence to suggest took place near a modern site or town. The pins include the Battle name, date or year it took place, and a brief description of the battle. This phase will be completed in June 2022 and include more information will be added regarding the size of armies, hosts, and the certainty of this site as the place of combat. By June 2022, the map will include battles dating back to 400 BCE all the way to 44 BCE. This is intended to be a living project that can be continually updated with new information and battles.

               On methodology, coordinates and location is based on descriptions from primary sources. For example, Livy identifies that the Battle of the Caudine Forks took place near the Roman town of Caudium. Coordinates for this town found using google maps and wiki sites to pinpoint the rough location of the battle. There is a clear limitation that almost all coordinates for battles of the early and mid-republic are not exact sites: they are very close estimations. In lieu of the time or ability for serious research, I have relied on primary sources for now, including Livy, Plutarch, Cassius Dio and Diodorus. One secondary source that has been extremely helpful is Battles of the Greek and Roman Worlds: A Chronological Compendium, by John Drogo Montagu. This Frontline Books publication also heavily relies on the primary sources, which is why it was an easy choice to help with simple entries for battle notes. In time, I hope to readdress each entry and the data being used to locate battles piecemeal for accuracy, so that users know the research behind this project was less compromising.

DISCLAIMER: The map below serves as a tool for basic cross-referencing and contextualization. I would not yet recommend this project to be cited as a source in scholarly articles, essays, or works, due to the dubious quality of source material.


Mapping Battles of Ancient Rome

Use the arrow icon on the top left corner to sort layers as you explore. 

N.B. - The map works best on a desktop, scaling and map manipulation may be difficult on a phone or tablet.