The New International Encyclopædia/Peutingerian Table

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The New International Encyclopædia
Peutingerian Table
Edition of 1905. See also Tabula Peutingeriana on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

PEUTINGERIAN TABLE (Lat. Tabula Peutingeriana). The name given to a most interesting ancient document, which exhibits the military roads of the Roman Empire and of the world known to the Romans. It is not, properly speaking, a map, no regard being paid to geographic position or the extent of countries. The great lines of road are laid down in a narrow strip, as if nearly parallel, all proceeding from Rome as a centre; and as to rivers, it only appears whether they cross the road from left to right or from right to left of the traveler proceeding from Rome. The Mediterranean and other seas are represented by mere narrow channels. A small house is the mark for a town; important towns and military stations are distinguished by walls and towers. Rome, Constantinople, and Antioch are each represented by a circle, within which is a human figure seated; in the case of Rome the figure is crowned. Until very recently a portion of the only copy of this valuable relic of antiquity known to exist was evidently wanting, as it terminated abruptly on the west at the confines of Spain, and included only the eastern parts of Britain. In the east it traces roads through India to a number of places of trade as far as the mouths of the Ganges. It is on parchment, and, as described in all the publications devoted to it, 21 feet in length, and about one foot wide. The extant document seems to be a thirteenth-century copy of an original made in the third century. It was found in the library of the Benedictine monastery at Tegernsee, in Upper Bavaria, in the fifteenth century, by Konrad Celtes, who bequeathed it to Konrad Peutinger of Augsburg, a zealous antiquary, and one of the earliest writers on the Roman and other antiquities of Germany. Peutinger began to prepare a copy of it for publication, but died before he could accomplish his purpose, which, however, was partially executed by Mark Welser, in his Fragmenta Tabulæ Antiquæ ex Peutingerorum Bibliotheca (Venice, 1591). The ancient document itself remained in the hands of the Peutinger family, and attracted no further notice till it was offered for sale in 1714, and purchased by Prince Eugene, who presented it to the Imperial Library of Vienna, in which it still remains. An exact copy of it was published at Vienna in 1753, with an introduction and index by F. C. von Scheyb. It was again published as an appendix to Katanesich's Orbis Antiquus (Budapest, 1825); and at the request of the Academy of Munich, a revised edition was published by Konrad Mannert (Leipzig, 1824). Since that time a leaf detached from the sheets forming the map has been found in the Imperial Library at Vienna. See Miller's edition of the same (Ravensburg, 1888), and a colored facsimile by Desjardins (Paris, 1869-71).