The oldest travel document of the Roman Empire

Exhibition dedicated to the Tabula Militaris Itineraria in the rare Italian edition with the aim of restoring the national identity to a fundamental cartographic document of Roman history, usually remembered with the name of one of the owners of the medieval specimen (Peutinger), today preserved at the Hofbibliothek in Wien.
The first Italian edition of the Tabula Militaris Itineraria was printed in Jesi in 1809. The author of the work is the friar Giovanni Domenico Podocataro Cristianopulo of the Order of Preachers. The intent was to provide the Italian scholars and libraries with a twin edition of the famous seventeenth-century Wien specimen curated by Franz Christoph von Scheyb.
Podocataro did not only deal with studying the paper and the volume of the Scheyb, amending the errors present in the Wien edition and drafting a special dissertation on the subject, but also provided for drawing and engraving the bronze plates with which the segments of the Tabula were made of.
The events related to the compilation and publication of the work were long and troubled. In fact, the Wien edition was very rare and difficult to find. Podocataro was losing the hope of being able to have it in his hands to study it, when he managed to obtain it by courtesy of a friend who lived in Wien, who had bought it a long time before, at the price of about twenty gold coins. Initially it was taken care of the expenses necessary for the execution and the publication of the work of Francesco Podocataro Cristianopulo, brother of Giovanni Domenico, who held the office of Consul in the Venetian Republic. In 1796 the segments of the Tabula were all engraved and the work was ready to be printed, but the descent into Italy of Napoleon overthrew the economic fortunes of Francesco Podocataro who could no longer finance the work of his brother. Giovanni Domenico succeeded in finding a new patron for his work, the Osiman patrician Stefano Bellini, bishop of the Recanati and Lauretan churches, a scholarly man, collector of ancient sculptures and epigraphs.
A fascinating exhibition, which allows the visitor to retrace the ancient Roman streets from the point of view of travelers of the past and to identify, discover, find toponyms, sometimes disappeared, other times simply changed over the centuries.
The exhibition is also proposed in the variant "Wine itineraries in the ancient world": the topographic data of the Tabula intersect with the testimonies of the classical authors in search of the ancient Roman vines scattered throughout the peninsula. A leap into the past, to discover the tastes and habits of the ancient Romans in terms of wines and beverages.

Exhibitions realized:

  • Ascoli Piceno October 2011
  • Roma, Mercati di Traiano June 2013
  • Prishtina (Kosovo) September 2013
  • Brussels November 2014

The exhibition is available for temporary exhibitions in Italy and in Europe. For more information contact us