In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section The Tabula Peutingeriana (Peutinger Map)

  • Introduction
  • Editions and Commentaries
  • General Overviews
  • State of Research and Bibliography
  • Online Editions
  • Fate of the Map during the Middle Ages, Humanism, and beyond
  • Dating the Peutinger Map: Genesis and Evolution
  • Sources
  • Relations to Other Maps
  • Relations to Itineraries and Other Literal Geographical Sources
  • Historical Background(s)
  • Purpose and Function
  • Correctness and Reliability
  • The Road Net
  • Design
  • Vignettes
  • Perception of Space in Antiquity / Mental Map
  • Studies on Single Areas on the Peutinger Map
  • Reconstructions of the Missing Left Part

Classics The Tabula Peutingeriana (Peutinger Map)
Silke Diederich
  • LAST REVIEWED: 24 May 2018
  • LAST MODIFIED: 24 May 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389661-0310


The Peutinger Map, part of the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, is a case sui generis in the history of cartography. This parchment scroll, today stored in the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek as Codex Vindobonensis 324, was drawn around 1200 CE as a replica of a late antique original. It is unique in several respects: In the first place, it is the only large-size world map passed down from antiquity. Puzzling, too, are its whimsical dimensions: The eleven surviving segments (the first one/s is/are missing) are together about 6.80 meters long, but have a height of only 33–34 centimeters, so that the ancient world from Spain to India is represented on it with extreme distortions. Here we can grasp the elusive and otherwise very poorly recorded antique tradition of not-to-scale maps. Originating from outside the highly elitist schools of mathematical geography it allows a rare glimpse into the geographical knowledge of a larger non-specialist audience among Rome’s elites. Other prominent, and at the same time tantalizing, features are the road net, drawn in a garish red, and the vignettes of various size and shapes, which mark some of the cities and road stations. Due to its singularity, the Peutinger Map, known by the abbreviation TP, has been the subject of a lively discussion for 250 years, fueled lately by the spatial turn with its attention to forms and concepts of space within their cultural backgrounds. Controversial issues are most notably: date of origin and stages of development, design, purpose, correctness and functionality, mistakes in copying and medieval modifications, relations to other maps and to written geographical sources.

Editions and Commentaries

Groundbreaking full editions are von Scheyb’s editio princeps of 1753, consisting, naturally, in a drawn copy. It has been reworked and improved in Miller 1887 (reprinted in Prontera 2003, cited under General Overviews), who also tried to reconstruct the missing left part of the TP. The first available full photographic reproduction has been issued in Weber 1976. Modern researchers will consult this edition and the most recent one, Rathmann 2016 (cited under State of Research and Bibliography), which was executed after a thorough restoration of the original map. Extremely valuable tools for research as well are the Online Editions of the TP, especially Talbert 2010 (cited under General Overviews) and Österreichische Nationalbibliothek. Editions of lesser quality and usefulness, as they present just copies of Miller’s drawn version, are contained in Levi and Levi 1967 (cited under Vignettes, in a practical single-piece-format) and Bosio 1983 (cited under Design). For a thorough description of the early print editions see Miller 1887. For humanist and early modern editions of the TP see Fate of the Map during the Middle Ages, Humanism, and beyond and La Tabula Peutingeriana (cited under State of Research and Bibliography). An extensive discussion of the editions and commentaries issued since 1753 can be found in the appendix of Talbert 2004 (cited under Design), and, more prolific, in the first section of Talbert 2010. Short selective commentaries for a first orientation are presented in the companion volume of Weber 1976 and in the margins of Rathmann 2016–2017. The prolific overall toponym commentary in Desjardin 1869–1874 is incomplete, covering only Germany, Gaul, and Italy. Miller 1916 comments not on the TP in itself, but on the Roman road system and its stations in general and is, like Desjardin, partly outdated.

  • Desjardins, Ernest. 1869–1874. La table de Peutinger d’après l’original conservé a Vienne précédée d’une introduction historique et critique. Paris: Hachette.

    Prolific commentary for the German, Gaulish, and Italian sections of the TP containing an extensive collection of literary and archaeological sources and testimonies as known at the end of the 19th century, including map drawings for illustration.

  • Miller, Konrad. 1887. Die Weltkarte des Castorius genannt die Peutingersche Tafel. Ravensburg, Germany: Maier.

    Includes introduction by O. Maier and the 1888 map. Engraving of the map in color, about two-thirds of the original size, folded and in one piece, containing major corrections on von Scheyb’s edition. Introduction and map largely obsolete, namely for attributing the TP to Castorius and normalizing toponym transcriptions, but still deserving for its diligent paleographic analysis. Several reprints.

  • Miller, Konrad. 1916. Itineraria Romana: Römische Reisewege an der Hand der Tabula Peutingeriana. Stuttgart: Strecker und Schröder.

    It tries to reconstruct the Roman road net and its stations, using the TP and Roman itineraries as the basic sources. Partly erroneous and outdated, but, used with due caution, still helpful as a reservoir of source material for researchers. Criticized by Kubitschek 1917 (see General Overviews). Review by P. W. Haider: Anzeiger für die Altertumswissenschaft 45.3–4 (1992): 300. Reprint: Rome: L’Erma, 1963; Bregenz: Eigenverlag G. Husslein, 1988.

  • Rathmann, Michael. 2016–2017. Tabula Peutingeriana. Die einzige Weltkarte aus der Antike. Eingeleitet und kommentiert von Michael Rathmann. Zabern, Germany: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft Darmstadt.

    Latest edition. High-quality photographic reproduction, each right page contains one-third of a segment, the left page black-and-white reproduction with selected annotations; diagrams on the bottom left showing the position of the TP-segment on a modern map. With an excellent state-of-art introduction for non-specialists, students, and scholars alike.

  • von Scheyb, Franz Christoph. 1753. Tabula Peutingeriana C. Peutingeriana tabula itineraria quae in augusta bibliotheca Vindobonensi nunc servantur adcurate exscripta. Vienna: Trattner.

    First full edition (engraving), with a general introduction. Reprinted, e.g., with some corrections, by Konrad Mannert in 1824 (commissioned by the Bavarian Academy). Contains mistakes in toponym transcriptions, but, used with great care, it might be helpful in places, where the map is today damaged beyond recognition.

  • Weber, Ekkehard. 1976. Tabula Peutingeriana: Codex Vindobonensis 324, mit Kommentarband. Graz, Austria: Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt.

    First edition with quality color photos of the eleven segments in original size, with a black-and-white photograph on the opposite page, containing transcriptions of selected toponyms, maintaining Miller’s five subdivisions of each segment for better localization. Companion volume with fine introduction, description of the segments, and toponym indexes.

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