Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World

The Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World is a large-format English language atlas of ancient Europe, Asia, and North Africa, edited by Richard J. A. Talbert. The time period depicted is roughly from archaic Greek civilization (pre-550 BC) through Late Antiquity (640 AD). The atlas was published by Princeton University Press in 2000. The book was the winner of the 2000 Association of American Publishers Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Multivolume Reference Work in the Humanities.

Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World
Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World


The main (atlas) volume contains 102 color topographic maps, covering territory from the British Isles and the Azores and eastward to Afghanistan and western China. The size of the volume is 33 x 48 cm. A 45-page gazetteer is also included in the atlas volume. The atlas is accompanied by a map-by-map directory on CD-ROM, in PDF format, including a search index. The map-by-map directory is also available in print as a two-volume, 1,500 page edition.

According to the editor, the purpose of each map is to offer an up-to-date presentation of the important physical and covered features of the area, using all available literal, epigraphic, and archaeological data.

Most of the maps are of the scale 1:1,000,000 or 1:500,000. However, the environs of the three greater centers (Athens, Rome, Byzantium-Constantinople) are presented in 1:150,000. Some remote regions, where Greeks and Romans mostly explored and traded rather than settled (i.e. Baltic, Arabia, East Africa, India, Sri Lanka), are of the scale 1:5,000,000. Due to the nature of the base maps used for the background and time–cost restrictions, elevation lines (contours) were left in feet except for the 1:150,000 maps where they are in meters. The projection of the maps is Lambert Conformal Conic. Again due to time and cost restrictions, geo-referencing of the maps was left as a future separate project.

Effort was spent to show the physical landscape in its ancient rather than modern aspect. As expected, this task often met insurmountable difficulties, due to the lack of data. In those cases, at least an effort was made to eliminate known modern features and to restore the affected landscapes.

The atlas' production began in 1988 at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and involved a team of 221 classicists and 22 map makers.[1] The effort was funded by $4.5 million—"an unusually large sum for a project in the humanities"[2]—in federal and private donations. The largest individual contributor was Robert B. Strassler's family philanthropy The Barrington Foundation which supported the project with over $1 million and for which, in accordance with the donor's wishes, the atlas is named. (The foundation, in turn, is named after the Strassler family's place of residence, Great Barrington, Massachusetts.)[3]:4[4]:23

The atlas provides an up-to-date reference for ancient geography, superseding William Smith's An Atlas of Ancient Geography, Biblical and Classical (London: John Murray, 1872–1874), the last successfully completed attempt to comprehensively map the Greco-Roman world and reflect the state of scholarship.[5]

An ongoing wiki-like on-line large scale collaboration for maintaining and diversifying the Barrington Atlas data-set is carried on by the Pleiades Project.[6]

Period coverage

The time period covered is roughly from 1000 BC up to c. AD 640, categorized as following:

All eras are covered in every map (i.e. there are not separate maps for different periods of the same region).

Naming conventions

The Latin titles given to the regional categories and to the individual maps (see below) are no more than generalized identifications. E.g. Internum Mare (literally, "Internal Sea") is the region around Mediterranean Sea.

Inside maps, ancient names are underlined with specific colors, when they are applicable only to a specific era. Where modern names are used, they are printed in different (sans-serif) font. For the physical features, standard Latin descriptive terms are usually used (e.g. Lacus for Lake, Mons for Mountain). Explanations for these terms are given in the Map Key. When there is doubt whether the name correctly applies to a feature or area, it is followed by a question mark. When only the approximate location is known, the name is italicized.

Atlas volume contents

Map-by-map directory contents

The two volumes[7] (and the CD-ROM) contain:

  • Guidelines
  • Abbreviations
  • A separate directory for each map whose main components are:
    • an introductory text
    • a listing of names and features (with period, modern name and literature reference information)
    • a bibliography

The CD-ROM also contains the gazetteer in PDF format and an installer of the version 4 of Adobe Acrobat Reader with Search for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. However, on Windows systems with the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat Reader already installed, installation of the version 4 might lead to incompatibility problems.

The supplied PDF index file BATLINDX.PDX is readable for Acrobat Reader versions up to and including version 9. For version X and later, using the "Use Advanced Search Options" item in the "Edit" menu may be a workaround. However, searching the complete index directory will take a while and with each new search the scanning of PDF files starts again from scratch. In general it will be faster to look for a name in the index. So, though the atlas claims to be "a reference work of permanent value",[8] a simple Acrobat Reader update will cripple its usability even for users who have the printed version of the map-by-map directory available, because the index shows only the main entries for each object.

The map-by-map directory and the gazetteer are also available in PDF format at the Princeton University Press website.[9] Until 2013, a free download of the CD-ROM as a ZIP file was offered as well.[10]

iPad version

In November 2013, PUP released an iPad 2+ App version of the Atlas which retailed at a 95% discount from the hardcover edition making it more accessible to the average reader.[11][12] It contains the complete contents of the atlas and is searchable.[13]

Current editions

  • Hardback (cloth) with CD-ROM Map-by-Map Directory, 2000, ISBN 0-691-03169-X
  • Hardback (cloth) with CD-ROM & two-volume 1,500 page Map-by-Map Directory, 2000, ISBN 0-691-04962-9
  • Hardback (cloth) two-volume Map-by-Map Directory, 2000, ISBN 0-691-04945-9
  • Digital (iPad 2+ App), 2013


  1. ^ D. J. R. Bruckner (March 4, 2001). "Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World". The New York Times Book Review. p. 22.
  2. ^ John Noble Wilford (December 12, 2000). "An Atlas Unveils the Intricacies of Ancient Worlds". The New York Times. p. D5.
  3. ^ Richard Talbert (October 1999). "Classical Atlas Project" (PDF). American Philological Association Newsletter. 22 (5). pp. 2–4.
  4. ^ Richard J. A. Talbert (Fall 2003). "Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World: the Cartographic Fundamentals in Retrospect" (PDF). Cartographic Perspectives (46): 4–27. doi:10.14714/CP46.484.
  5. ^ Cf. Richard J. A. Talbert (1992). "Mapping the classical world: major atlases and map series 1872-1990". Journal of Roman Archaeology. 5: 5–38. doi:10.1017/S1047759400011922.
  6. ^ "". Retrieved 2017-01-06.
  7. ^ Richard J. A. Talbert, ed. (2000). Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World: Map-by-Map Directory. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-04945-9.
  8. ^ Tom Elliott. "Classical Atlas Project". Retrieved 2017-01-06.
  9. ^ "Map-By-Map Directory" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-01-06.
  10. ^ "Atlas". Archived from the original (ZIP) on 2013-05-07. Retrieved 2017-01-06.
  11. ^ "Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World for iPad 2+". Ancient World Mapping Center. University of North Carolina. October 31, 2013. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
  12. ^ J. D. Biersdorfer (August 24, 2014). "Gateways to the Classical World". The New York Times. p. BR8.
  13. ^ "Talbert, R.J.A., ed.: Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World for iPad". 2013-10-31. Retrieved 2017-01-06.

Further reading

External links


Abbassus or Ambasum (Latin: Abbassus; Ἄμβασον), was an ancient town of Phrygia, on the frontiers of the Tolistoboii, in Galatia. It is, perhaps, the same as the Alamassus reported by of Hierocles, and the Amadasse whose bishops attended early church councils. The editors of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World note that its probable location is near Synnada, however its precise location is not known.

Ad Turres (Etruria)

Ad Turres was an ancient city of Etruria. Ad Turres stood on the Via Aurelia, 10 miles from Lorium and 12 miles from Pyrgi. The location of Ad Turres is not precisely known; the editors of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World tentatively place it near Palidoro, comune of Rome, Province of Rome, Lazio, Italy. The site is included on the Peutinger Table.

Ad Turres (Latium)

Ad Turres was an ancient city of Latium. Ad Turres originally belonged to the Volsci, and stood on the Via Severiana, 4 miles from Circeii and 9 miles from Tarracina. The location of Ad Turres is not precisely known: the editors of Hazlitt's Classical Gazetteer place it at Torre Olevola, the editors of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World tentatively place it at San Felice Circeo. Both places are in the modern Province of Latina, Lazio, Italy.


Aesa or Aisa (Ancient Greek: Αἶσα) was a town of ancient Macedonia. Aesa belonged to the Delian League since it appears on a tribute list to Athens in 434/3 BCE. The editors of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World identify Aesa with Lisaea, a city mentioned by Herodotus but otherwise unknown in other sources.The site of Aesa is tentatively located near modern Nea Kallikrateia.


Albanopolis (Ancient Greek: Ἀλβανόπολις, tr. Alvanópolis) was a city in ancient Roman Macedon specifically in Epirus Nova, the city of the Albanoi, an Illyrian tribe. The editors of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World locate Albanopolis at the modern-day village of Zgërdhesh, near Krujë, Albania. The ancient city may correspond with later mentions of the settlement called Arbanon and Albanon during the Middle Ages, although it is not certain this was the same place. The city appears at 150 AD almost 300 years after Roman conquest of the region.

Apollonia (southern Crete)

Apollonia (Ancient Greek: Ἀπολλωνία), also called Eleuthera (Ἐλεύθερα) was an ancient city of Crete, on the south coast. William Smith states that the philosopher Diogenes Apolloniates was a native of the environs of Apollonia (the Apolloniates), although other scholars claim that the Apollonia in question was the Thracian one. The editors of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World place Apollonia at Sellia.The site of Apollonia is near the modern Sellia.


Carmylessus or Karmylessos (Ancient Greek: Καρμυλησσός) was a town of ancient Lycia, described by Strabo between Telmissus and the mouth of the Xanthus. After Telmissus, he says, then Anticragus (Ancient Greek: Ἀντίκραγος), an abrupt mountain on which is the small place Carmylessus, lying in a ravine.

The editors of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World identify Kaya, Fethiye as the location of the ancient city, while the Lund University Atlas of the Roman World tentatively place it at Kayaköy.


Comiciana was an ancient town of Sicily located on the southern side of Maro Mons, between Agrigentum (modern Agrigento) and Ancyra. Its precise location remains uncertain, the editors of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World place it near Prizzi.

Ctimene (Thessaly)

Ctimene or Ktimene (Ancient Greek: Κτιμένη), was a town and polis in ancient Thessaly, on the borders of Dolopia and Phthia, near the Lake Xynias. It is cited by Apollonius of Rhodes as the place of origin of one of the argonauts, Eurydamas, and relates it to the tribe of the Dolopes.Livy relates that the retreat of Philip V of Macedon after the Battle of the Aous (198 BC) allowed the Aetolians to occupy much of Thessaly, and these latter devasted the town called Cymene and its neighbour, Angeia. William Smith treats the reference to Cymene as a probable corruption of Ctimene. Stephanus of Byzantium mentions a tradition that Ctimene had been given by Peleus to Phoenix. The editors of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World identify the site of Ctimene with the modern village of Rentina, which is tentative accepted by others.

Elaea (Aeolis)

Elaea (Greek: Ἐλαία Elaia) was an ancient city of Aeolis, Asia, the port of Pergamum. According to the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World, it was located near the modern town of Zeytindağ, İzmir Province, Turkey. The ruins of the silted port's breakwater can be seen on satellite maps at 38°56'35.54"N 27°2'16.34"E.

According to the present text of Stephanus of Byzantium, it was also called Cidaenis (Greek: Κιδαινίς), and was founded by Menestheus; but it seems likely that there is some error in the reading Cidaenis. Strabo places Elaea south of the river Caicus, 12 stadia from the river, and 120 stadia from Pergamum. The Caicus enters a bay, which was called Elaiticus Sinus, or the bay of Elaea. Strabo calls the bay of Elaea part of the Bay of Adramyttium, but incorrectly. He has the story, which Stephanus has taken from him, that Elaea was a settlement made by Menestheus and the Athenians with him, who joined the war against Troy; but Strabo does not explain how it could be an Aeolian city, if this story was true. Elaea minted coins, which bear the head and name of Menestheus. Some argue that these are some evidence of its Athenian origin; but others, including William Smith discount the connection. Herodotus does not name Elaea among the Aeolian cities. Strabo makes the bay of Elaea terminate on one side in a point called Hydra, and on the other in a promontory Harmatus; and he estimates the width between these points at 80 stadia. Thucydides (viii. 101) places Harmatus opposite to Methymna, from which, and the rest of the narrative, it is clear that he fixes Harmatus in a different place from Strabo. The exact site of Elaea seems to be uncertain. William Martin Leake, in his map, fixes it at a place marked Kliseli, on the road from the south to Pergamum. Scylax (p. 35), Pomponius Mela (i. 18), Pliny (v. 32), and Ptolemy (v. 2), all of whom mention Elaea, do not help us to the precise place; all we learn from them is, that the Caicus flowed between Pitane and Elaea.

The name of Elaea occurs in the history of the kings of Pergamum. According to Strabo, from Livy (xxxv. 13), travellers who would reach Pergamum from the sea, would land at Elaea. One of the passages of Livy shows that there was a small hill (tumulus) near Elaea, and that the town was in a plain and walled. Elaea was damaged by an earthquake in the reign of Trajan, at the same time that Pitane suffered.


Erines (Ancient Greek: Ἐρινε͂ς) or Erine (Ἐρινε͂) was a town of ancient Caria, probably on the Bodrum Peninsula. Erines appears in the Athenian tribute lists and paid an annual tribute of 68 drachmae, 5 obol. It also appears on numerous ancient inscriptions.The editors of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World treat it as unlocated but probably near Theangela. Others locate its site near Hisarönü, Asiatic Turkey, at the head of the gulf opposite the Greek island of Syme.


Kydonia or Cydonia (; Ancient Greek: Κυδωνία; Latin: Cydonia) was an ancient city-state on the northwest coast of the island of Crete. It is at the site of the modern-day Greek city of Chania. In legend Cydonia was founded by King Cydon (Κύδων), a son of Hermes or Apollo and of Akakallis, the daughter of King Minos. According to Pausanias he was son of king Tegeates.

Diodorus Siculus mentions that the city was founded by King Minos. The editors of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World suggest that the city also bore the name Apollonia (Ancient Greek: Ἀπολλωνία).


Lisaea or Lisaia (Ancient Greek: Λίσαια), also Lisae or Lisai (Ancient Greek: Λίσαι), was an ancient Greek polis (city-state) in the Chalcidice, ancient Macedonia. It is cited by Herodotus as one of the cities—together with Lipaxus, Combreia, Gigonus, Campsa, Smila, Aeneia—located in the vicinity of the Thermaic Gulf, in a region called Crusis near the peninsula of Pallene, where Xerxes recruited troops in his expedition of the year 480 BCE against Greece.Since Lisaea does not appear in any other source, it has been suggested that the toponym must have been a scribal error that should actually refer to a city called Aesa (Αἶσα) that belonged to the Delian League appearing in the tribute registry to Athens for 434/3 BCE. This suggestion was accepted by the editors of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World.

Perseis (Paeonia)

Perseis (Greek: Περσηΐς) was a city of ancient Macedon founded by Philip V of Macedon around 168 BCE and named for his son, Perseus. The city's exact location has not be confirmed, but Livy tells us that it was near Stobi. The editors of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World suggest a site near Črnobuki in North Macedonia.


Pordoselene (Ancient Greek: Πορδοσελήνη) or Poroselene (Ποροσελήνη) was a town and polis (city-state) of ancient Aeolis. It was located on the chief island of the Hecatonnesi, a group of small islands lying between Lesbos and the coast of Asia Minor, which was also called Prodoselene. Strabo says that some, in order to avoid the dirty allusion presented by this name, called it Poroselene, which is the form employed by Ptolemy, Pliny the Elder, and Aelian. At a still later time the name was changed into Proselene, under which form the town appears as a bishop's see. Aristotle mentions the town in his History of Animals where it was on the extremity of a road that formed the border between an area of the island that contained weasels and another area that did not have them.The place-name "Nesos Pordoselene" (Νεσος Πορδοσελήνε) appears in the list of tributes to ancient Athens of the year 422/1 BCE but there are different opinions on whether Nesos (or Nasos in the Aeolic dialect) and [Pordoselen were a single city or if they are two different cities.Silver and bronze coins dating from the 5th and 4th centuries BCE are preserved. It is proposed that the small island of Maden Adası or the island of Alibey Adası located between Lesbos and Asia Minor may be the location of Pordoselene, although the second possibility seems to prevail since the archeology and the low fertility of Maden Adası does not show that there has been an old settlement there. The editors of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World equate Nasos and Pordoselene.

Seleucia (Sittacene)

Seleucia (Greek: Σελεύκεια, also transliterated as Seleuceia, Seleukeia, Seleukheia; formerly Coche or Mahoza, also Veh Ardashir) was an ancient city near the Euphrates river and across the Tigris from the better-known Seleucia on the Tigris, in Sittacene, Mesopotamia. The editors of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World place the city at Sliq Kharawta in central Iraq.


Strepsa (; Greek: Στρέψα) was an ancient city of Mygdonia, Macedon, near Therma, toward Chalcidice. The editors of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World, tentatively identify Strepsa with the modern village of Basilika, in the municipality of Pylaia. Strepsa is mentioned by Thucydides (I.61.4).


In Homeric Greece, the islands of Taphos (Τάφος) lay in the Ionian Sea off the coast of Acarnania in northwestern Greece, home of seagoing and piratical inhabitants, the Taphians (Τάφιοι). Penelope mentions the Taphian sea-robbers when she rebukes the chief of her suitors, and it is disguised as Mentes, "lord of the Taphian men who love their oars", that Athena accepts the hospitality of Telemachus and speeds him on his journey from Ithaca to Pylos. The Taphians dealt in slaves.By the time of Euripides, the islands were identified with the Echinades: in Euripedes' Iphigeneia at Aulis (405 BCE), the chorus of women from Chalcis have spied the Hellenes' fleet and seen Eurytus who "led the Taphian warriors with the white oar-blades, the subjects of Meges, son of Phyleus, who had left the isles of the Echinades, where sailors cannot land." Modern scholars, such as the editors of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World, identify the island of Taphos as the island of Meganisi just east of the larger island Lefkada (Leucas).

The Taphians accounted themselves the descendants of Perseus, for the mother of Taphius, their eponymous colonizer, was a granddaughter of Perseus and lay with Poseidon to beget the heroic founder. Another tradition holds that Taphius was one of the Leleges, and grandson of Lelex. Their most noted king was Pterelaos, rendered immortal by Poseidon by the single golden hair among the hairs of his head, but undone by his faithless daughter (Comaetho) who plucked it while he slept, so that the Mycenaean adventurer Amphitryon of Tiryns could overcome and kill him and retrieve the cattle Pterelaos' sons had rustled from Mycenae, with much spoils besides. As he was returning with his spoils to his bride at Thebes, Zeus preceded him by one night: taking Amphitryon's shape, and brandishing a Taphian cup as a sign of his success, the king of gods fathered Heracles.

They are often identified with the Tilevoides (Τηλεβόιδες), islands in the Ionian Sea.


Telandrus or Telandros (Ancient Greek: Τήλανδρος) was a town on Telandria island in ancient Caria. It was a polis (city-state), and a member of the Delian League since it appears in tribute records of Athens between the years 453/2 and 433/2 BCE.According to some including the editors of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World and Lund University's Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire, its site is located near Tersane, Asiatic Turkey. Others, including Mogens Herman Hansen, express doubt. Pliny the Elder mentions Telandria (modern Tersane) as an island from which the population had disappeared. However, Quintus Smyrnaeus notes Telandrus as the name of a valley near the Glaucus River, so called because it was the place where tradition indicated that the mythical Glaucus of Lycia (of Trojan War fame) was buried. It has been suggested that the site may be at Tersane or Avthoki or at Nif Köy in the interior of Caria.


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