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Michigan State University

Classical Studies: Atlases


Sometimes you need a map or atlas to put things in context.  Here's a collection of such resources.


Maps of Ancient Greece from

Roman Empire Maps from

Orbis :  The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World : Spanning one-ninth of the earth's circumference across three continents, the Roman Empire ruled a quarter of humanity through complex networks of political power, military domination and economic exchange. These extensive connections were sustained by premodern transportation and communication technologies that relied on energy generated by human and animal bodies, winds, and currents....Conventional maps that represent this world as it appears from space signally fail to capture the severe environmental constraints that governed the flows of people, goods and information. Cost, rather than distance, is the principal determinant of connectivity....For the first time, ORBIS allows us to express Roman communication costs in terms of both time and expense. By simulating movement along the principal routes of the Roman road network, the main navigable rivers, and hundreds of sea routes in the Mediterranean, Black Sea and coastal Atlantic, this interactive model reconstructs the duration and financial cost of travel in antiquity....Taking account of seasonal variation and accommodating a wide range of modes and means of transport, ORBIS reveals the true shape of the Roman world and provides a unique resource for our understanding of premodern history.

Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilizations  : The Digital Atlas of Roman and Medieval Civilization (DARMC) makes freely available on the internet the best available materials for a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) approach to mapping and spatial analysis of the Roman and medieval worlds. DARMC allows innovative spatial and temporal analyses of all aspects of the civilizations of western Eurasia in the first 1500 years of our era, as well as the generation of original maps illustrating differing aspects of ancient and medieval civilization. Courtesy of Harvard University.

Maps and Atlases in the MSU Libraries

Most individual maps and atlases are located in the Map Library on the 3rd floor of the west wing in the Main Library.

There are a number of methods for identifying what is available in our catalog:

  1. Choose Advanced Search.
  2. Enter an appropriate search term(s)
  3. Select Material Type - Print Map
  4. Click Submit
  1. Choose Advanced Search.
  2. Enter an appropriate search term(s)
  3. Select Location - Map Library
  4. Click Submit 
  1. Choose Advanced Search.
  2. Enter an appropriate search term(s)
  3. Select note - map
  4. Click Submit

Need more information about what is available? Ask the Map Librarian

Atlases and Related Works

The Atlas of Ancient Rome : biography and portraits of the city
edited by Andrea Carandini with Paolo Carafa ; translated by Andrew Campbell Halavais.
Princeton, New Jersey : Princeton University Press, [2017]
Main Library DG63 .A8513 2017 Vols. 1-2
"The Atlas of Ancient Rome provides a comprehensive archaeological survey of the city of Rome from prehistory to the early medieval period. Lavishly illustrated throughout with full-color maps, drawings, photos, and 3D reconstructions, this magnificent two-volume slipcased edition features the latest discoveries and scholarship, with new descriptions of more than 500 monuments, including the Sanctuary of Vesta, the domus Augusti, and the Mausoleum of Augustus. It is destined to become the standard reference for scholars, students, and anyone interested in the history of the city of Rome. The Atlas of Ancient Rome is monumental in scope. It examines the city's topography and political-administrative divisions, trade and economic production, and social landscape and infrastructure--from residential neighborhoods and gardens to walls, roads, aqueducts, and sewers. It describes the fourteen regions of Rome and the urban history of each in unprecedented detail, and includes profiles and reconstructions of major monuments and works of art. This is the only atlas of the ancient city to incorporate the most current archaeological findings and use the latest mapping technologies."

Atlas of Classical Archaeology
edited by M. I. Finley. New York : McGraw-Hill, c1977. 256pp.
Map Library (3 West), Library Short Atlas, G1046.E15 A8 1977
Organized by region but with an alphabetical index. Provides general introductions to regions and detailed coverage, including site plans and illustrations, for selected major cities.

The Atlas of World Archaeology
edited by Paul Bahn.
New York : Checkmark Books, c2000. 208pp.
Oversize collection (basement) CC165 .A85 2000
From the first humans to the rise of civilizations.

Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World
edited by Richard J.A. Talbert, in collaboration with Roger S. Bagnall ... [et al.] ; map editors, Mary E. Downs, M. Joann McDaniel ; and cartographic managers, Janet E. Kelly, Jeannine M. Schonta, David F. Stong.
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 2000. 102 two page maps, [45] p.
Map Library Supersize Atlas Case (3 West) G1033 .B3 2000
In 99 full-color maps spread over 175 pages, the Barrington Atlas recreates the entire world of the Greeks and Romans from the British Isles to the Indian subcontinent and deep into North Africa. It spans the territory of more than 75 modern countries. Its large format (13 x 19 ins or 33 x 48 cm) has been custom-designed by the leading cartographic supplier, Inc., and is unrivalled for range, clarity and detail. Over 70 experts, aided by an equal number of consultants, have worked from satellite-generated aeronautical charts to return the modern landscape to its ancient appearance, and to mark ancient names and features in accordance with the most up-to-date historical scholarship and archaeological discoveries. Chronologically, the Barrington Atlas spans archaic Greece to the Late Roman Empire, and no more than two standard scales (1:500,000 and 1:1,000,000) are used to represent most regions.

Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World : Map-by-Map Directory
edited by Richard J.A. Talbert. Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 2000. 2 vols. + 1 computer optical disc (4 3/4 in.).
Map Library Supersize Atlas Case (3 West) G1033 .B32 2000
The Barrington Atlas includes a CD-ROM Map-by-Map Directory. A separate 1,500 page two-volume print edition of the Directory is also available at $150 / £95. The Directory is designed to provide information about every place or feature in the Barrington Atlas. The section for each map comprises:
(1) a concise text drawing attention to special difficulties in mapping a region, such as extensive landscape change since antiquity, or uneven modern exploration.
(2) a listing of every name and feature on the map, with basic data about the period of occupation, the modern equivalents of ancient placenames, the modern country within which they are located, and brief references to relevant ancient testimony or modern studies.
(3) a bibliography of works cited.
The Map-by-Map Directory is an essential accompaniment to the Barrington Atlas. As a uniquely rich, comprehensive, up-to-date distillation of evidence and scholarship, it has no match elsewhere and opens the way to an immense variety of further research initiatives.

Brill's New Pauly Historical Atlas of the Ancient World.
edited by Anne Wittke, Echhart Olshausen and Richard Szydiak.
Reference (Atlas Stand) DE5 .N48133 2007
This new atlas of the ancient world illustrated the political, economic, social, and cultural developments of the ancient Near East, the Mediterranean world, the Byzantine Empire, the Islamic world and Holy Roman Empire from the 3rd millenium BC until the 15 century AD.  The atlas has 170 color maps that document the main historical developments.  Each map is accompanied by a text that outlines the main historical developments.  These texts include bibliographies and 65 additional maps, tables and stemmata that provide further elucidation. 

Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Civilizations
John Haywood.
London ; New York : Penguin, 2005. 144pp.
Map Library (3 West), Library Short Atlas, G1033 .H39 2005
The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Civilizations explores the world’s earliest cultures, from the farming settlements of Mesopotamia to the foundation of Rome. Examining the development of civilizations around the globe, it covers such subjects as the roots of the Egyptian pharaohs, China’s long-lived dynasties, and the great cities of the Incas and Aztecs. Richly illustrated with photographs, artwork re-creations, and full-color maps, this is an illuminating and multifaceted one-volume introduction to early peoples and the world they created.

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