Given that the segment of the Tabula Peutingeriana that included the Iberian Peninsula has been lost, we prefer to resort to Antonine’s Itinerary for a representation of the Roman road network in Hispania. It had no illustrations, as in the case of the aforementioned tabula, but it did have precise toponymical and numerical data for a reliable road map to be drawn. Not all the routes that existed, however, are included; but that also happens in all other preserved sources.
What is Antonine’s Itinerary?
The Romans travelled a lot, used carriages of all kinds and recorded their roads in detail, pointing out the distances with milestones and locating the places where they stayed in a lot of detail.
Antonine’s Itinerary is a compilation of 372 itineraries, routes in the Roman Empire, where origin, destination and total distance are recorded. Of all those included, 34 itineraries correspond to the Provinces of Hispania.
Only the copy from the Diocletian era (4th century) is preserved from this itinerary. Despite its name, it does not seem to have any relationship with the emperor Antoninus Pius, but rather with Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, known as Caracalla, who ruled from 211 to 217, during whose reign the itinerary would have begun to be compiled.
As in the case of Rome, Constantinople and Antioch, there are also personified allegories from Hispania dating back to Roman times itself. In the representation we offer, Hispania appears as a matron with an olive branch in her hands, a symbol of her proverbial olive oil wealth from very early times.
We offer a road map of the Northwest resulting from the research of a whole team of specialists. Certain or merely probable tracks are drawn on it, according to the milestones left behind, many of them unpublished until very recently. In any case, the density of these cylindrical stones within the scope of Roman Gallaecia is truly paradigmatic, surpassing the most optimistic calculations of other regions in the Empire, which are also rich in this type of monument.
The Romans built an extensive network of roads in the territories they occupied, many of which also had stone signs known as milestones. The early Roman signs were shaped like chiselled stones and weighed hundreds of kilos. They were huge cylindrical columns up to 4 m high.
These blocks stood in different sections and bore directly engraved inscriptions indicating to the traveller the number of miles from Rome, the directions to follow and the distance between the cities connected by the road where they were erected.
In any case, the possibilities were not exhausted by what was achieved, and it is a certainty there were other roads not endowed with road epigraphs originating in Roman times.
NORTHWEST HISPANIA ROMAN ROADS, SECOND DISCOVERY OF THEIR RESPECTIVE MILESTONES