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All roads lead to Rome: a tangible reality or just an ancient expression?

3 min read

All roads lead to Rome: the ancient expression used since the Roman Empire, never really fallen into disuse, is it a tangible reality or just a hypothesis without foundation?
Moovel Lab’s Benedikt Groß wanted to find out, and enlisted the help of digital geography expert Raphael Reimman and interactive designer Philipp Schmitt. They gave an interactive response that is really surprising.
At least for Europe it is obvious: all roads lead to Rome! You can reach the eternal city on almost 500,000 routes from all across the continent. The bolder the road’s line, the more heavily trafficked it would be:

The team has created an ad-hoc site that is an exceptional tool for map and number enthusiasts. Inside the portal you can navigate the preset routes in an interactive way, but also create your own thanks to the city search tools. The streets appear as veins of the human body, or very complex tree roots, which connect and link together the various capitals of our continent.
Below, the map with the roads leading to each European capital:

Of course all the European road traffic does not point towards the capital of Italy and the map proposed by the study is a graphic marking of the roads that naturally lead to Rome. Using a traffic analysis software and the best route, GraphHopper, millions of roads were analyzed and then those that led to the Italian capital were highlighted.
The world as known by Europeans is a lot bigger now than it was in the Middle Ages, and all its roads can’t actually all lead to Rome because of, obviously, oceans.
Ironically, during further research they found out that there actually is a city called Rome (or Roma) on every continent of the world: for example, in the United States of America there are 9 cities named after the Italian capital!

To lose yourself in exploring the maps seen as complex systems, this is the official website of “Roads to Rome”. (Source).
A curiosity? The saying “all roads lead to Rome” might refer to a bronze monument built in 20 BC called Miliarum Aureum (“Golden Milestone”), located in Rome and erected by the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus. The Miliarum Aureum was used as a reference point for travelling throughout the Roman Empire, and It was considered that all roads lead to this monument!

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