Veteres Descriptiones Daciae: Cartographic representation and perception of Roman Dacia from antiquity to the beginning of the 20th century
Language: English. Category: Province of Dacia


   Compared to present times, when most of us can access geographical data from personal computers, or visualise the shape, features and a significant amount of details of the Earth, the ancient, the medieval and the modern man did not have these types of resources, but only limited knowledge about the geography of certain regions. At the end of the 15th century, in searching for a shorter route to the Orient, Christopher Columbus reached the Americas. What an inspiring idea, to circle the Earth from west to east, towards the Orient, but what an innocent level of knowledge about the Earth, its continents, and its geography! In his unequalled military campaigns, Alexander the Great has travelled and fought, and created new cities in areas never reached before by any Greek. The powerful Roman army has neutralised each and every natural obstacle encountered, from Gallia to Dacia and northern Africa, building tens of thousands of Roman miles of paved roads, hundreds of outstanding bridges across large, mighty rivers all over the Empire. But one should know that they never pictured or imagined the vast extent of today’s Russia or China or other areas that were remote to them. Therefore, we should be aware of their limited geographical knowledge too. („Introduction”)


Table of contents


Chapter 1. The province of Dacia reflected in the geographical and cartographic sources of the Roman period

1.1. Klaudios Ptolemaios and Dacia in Geôgraphikè Hyphègesis

1.2. Dacia on the Peutinger map

Chapter 2. The cartographic image of Dacia during the medieval and the modern ages: from the 16th century to the 19th century

2.1. Dacia in 1541. Laurent Fries (1485–1532), “Europae tabula nona. Continet Iaziges Metanastas, Daciam, Mysiam superiorem”, Trechsel, Vienne

2.2. Dacia in 1612. “Daciarum Moesiarum qve, vetus descriptio”, Abraham Ortelius (1527–1598) and “Theatrum orbis terrarium”

2.3. “Vetus Descriptio Daciarum nec non Moesiarum” (approximately 1650). Dacia on the map of Petrus Kaerius (1571–1646?)

2.3.1. The title 

2.3.2. The hydrographic network 

2.3.3. The content: the provinces 

2.3.4. The content: the settlements 

2.3.5. The vignettes and the names of the tribes

2.3.6. Data about the surrounding areas 

2.4. Giacomo Cantelli (1643–1695) and Dacia on the map “Illyricum orientis: in quo partes II Moesia et Thracia, provinciae XI Moesia Prima, sive Superior, Praevalis, Dardania, Dacia Ripsis. Et Mediterranea, Moesia Secunda sive Inferior, et Scythia, Thracia, Haemimontus, Rhodope, et Europa” (1692) 

2.5. Edward Wells (1667–1727) and the map of Dacia (1700): “A new map of Sarmatia Europaea, Pannonia and Dacia” 

2.6. Christoph Weigel (1654–1725) and the map of Dacia (1720): “Regiones Danvbianae, Pannoniae Dacia Moesiae cum Vicino Illyrico” 

2.7. Johann van der Bruggen (1695–1740) and the map of Dacia (1701–1750): “Tabula Veteris Pannoniae, Daciae et Illyrici” 

2.8. Luigi Ferdinando Marsigli (1658–1730): “Theatrum Antiqvitatum Romanarum in Hungaria: sive Mappa Geographica Regionum Danubio Circumjacentium, Pannoniarum, Daciarum, Mysiar: Etc. in Qvibus Antiqvitates Romanae Svis Singulae Figuris in Hoc Tomo Descriptae Reperiuntur” (1741) 

2.9. Dacia in 1750: “Dacia atque Moesia”

2.10. Giovanni Maria Cassini (1745–1824) and Dacia in 1801: “La Pannonia la Dacia l’Illirico e la Moesia” 

2.11. Robert Wilkinson (approximately 1768–1825) and Dacia in 1823: “Pannonia, Dacia, Illyricum et Moesia” 

2.12. Adrien Hubert (1786–1832) and Dacia in 1826: “Dacie ancienne, Pannonie, Illyrie, Moesie” 

2.13. Aaron Jr. Arrowsmith (1802–1854) and Dacia in 1828: “Illyricum, Dacia, Moesia, Macedonia et Thracia”

2.14. “The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge” and Dacia in 1830: “Ancient Macedonia, Thracia, Illyria, Moesia, and Dacia”

2.15. Joseph Thomas and Dacia in 1835: “Germania, Dacia”

2.16. “Orbis Romanus ad Illustranda Itineraria”: Pierre Lapie (1777–1850) and Dacia in 1845 

2.16.1. Dacia on Pierre Lapie’s map 

2.16.2. Moesia on Pierre Lapie’s map 

2.16.3. Pannonia on Pierre Lapie’s map The settlements along the so-called Ripa Pannonica The road along the Sava River, from Emona to Sirmium The road from Vindobona to Poetovione The road from Poetovio, via Savaria, to Carnuntum The Savaria – Brigetio road The Savaria – Aquincum road The Sopianae – Aquincum road The Sopianae – Brigetio road The Siscia – Mursa road The Poetovio – Siscia road The Sabaria – Vindobona road Item ab Acinquo Crumero que castra constituta sint The Sirmium – Carnuntum road Final remarks: Pannonia on Lapie’s map 

2.17. Karl Spruner von Merz (1803–1892) and Dacia in 1865: “Pannonia, Illyricum, Dacia, Moesia, Thracia, Macedonia, Epirus” 

2.17.1. The Justus Perthes map collection 

2.17.2. Karl Spruner von Merz and his atlases: “Historisch–Geographischer Hand – Atlas” (1854–1855) and “Spruner-Menke Atlas antiquus” (1865) 

2.17.3. Map no. 15 from “Spruner-Menke Atlas antiquus”: “Imperium Romanum inde a bello Actiaco usque a Diocletiani tempus” (1865)

2.17.4. The map of Dacia in “Spruner-Menke Atlas antiquus” (1865) 

2.17.5. Heinrich Theodor Menke (1819–1892) and his atlas “Orbis antiqui descriptio” (1865) 

2.18. Louis Boneffont (1825–1881) and Dacia in 1868: “Dacia romana a Traiano Aug. Usquead Aureliani Aug. Tempus secundum A. Tr. Lauriani Tabulam Ab Lud; Bonnefort descripta” 

2.19. William Smith (1813–1893) and Dacia in 1874: “Thracia, Moesia,Illyria, Pannonia, Dacia” 

2.20. Johann Gustav Ferdinand Droysen (1838–1908) and Dacia in 1886: “Die unteren Donauländer zur Römerzeit” 

Chapter 3. The representation of Roman Dacia in specialized books, atlases, and school manuals from the 18th century until 1945 

3.1. Franz Josef Sulzer (1727–1791) and Dacia in 1781 

3.2. Johann Ferdinand Neigebaur (1783–1866) and Dacia in 1851: “Uibersichts Karte des Trajanischen Daciens” 

3.3. Johann Michael Ackner (1782–1862) and the Roman discoveries from Transylvania in 1854

3.4. Carl Gooss (1844–1881) and Dacia in 1874 

3.5. Torma Károly (1829–1897) and Dacia in 1863 

3.6. Torma Károly and Dacia in 1880: “Északi Dacia térképe” 

3.7. Victoria Vaschide and the cartographic representation of Dacia in 1903 

3.7.1. The Roman roads 

3.7.2. The military units 

3.7.3. The frontier of Roman Dacia 

3.7.4. Final observations 

3.8. “Atlas istoric geografic al neamului românesc” and Dacia in 1920

3.9. Constantin C. Giurescu and the map of Roman Dacia in 1942 

Chapter 4. Elements of the former Roman landscape from Dacia represented on maps from the 18th, 19th and the beginning of the 20th century

4.1. The Roman fort of Porolissum (Moigrad, Sălaj County) 

4.2. The fort of Gherla (Cluj County)

4.3. The fort of Ilișua (Bistrița-Năsăud County) 

4.4. The Roman road from Potaissa (Turda, Cluj County) to Salinae (Războieni-Cetate, Alba County) 

4.5. The Roman road from Luncani (Cluj County) 

4.6. The Roman road from Gligorești (Cluj County) 

4.7. The Roman road from Gelmar towards Aurel Vlaicu (Hunedoara County) and Șibot (Alba County) 

4.8. The Roman fort of Micia (Vețel, Hunedoara County) 

4.9. The imperial road in the area of Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa 

4.10. The Roman fort of Cumidava (Râșnov, Brașov County) 

4.11. The Roman fort of Hoghiz (Brașov County) 

4.12. The Roman fort of Brețcu (Brașov County)

4.13. The Roman road along the limes Transalutanus 

4.14. Other examples: a Roman road in Pannonia

4.15. Other examples: a road sector in Britain 

Chapter 5. Conclusions 

5.1. The representation of Dacia during the Roman period until the 5th century A.D. 

5.2. Veteres descriptiones Daciae: cartography without archaeology from the 16th to the 19th century 

Bibliography and references 

List and sources of figures 


Publisher Editura Mega
Language Romanian, Latin
Pages 136
Binding hardback
ISBN 978-606-020-472-5
Creation date 2022
Size 16 x 24 cm

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