CJOnline Review | Heimback, A Roman Map Workbook

(re)posted with permission

A Roman Map Workbook: Second Edition. By ELIZABETH HEIMBACH. Mundelein, Ill: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, 2013. Pp. vii + 140. 2012. Paper, $22.00 ISBN 978-0-86516-799-5.

Reviewed by Michele Valerie Ronnick, Wayne State University

This workbook designed for the secondary schoolroom opens with an introductory unit of explanatory text and practice exercises concerning the origin of the word cartographer, some Latin based directional terms (e.g. N, S, E, & W), and other phrases from astronomy and myth such as the Four Winds, the Big Dipper and the Northern Lights.

Then follow thirteen chapters on specific places and topics in the Graeco-Roman world: I. Italia Antiqua; II. Orbis Terrarum Romanus; III. Viae Romanae; IV. Urbs Romae: Seven Hills and a River, Districts and Landmarks, V. The Forum; VI. Sinus Cumanus; Pompeii; VII. Historia Romana: Part I- The Conquest of the Italian Peninsula, Part II- The Punic Wars, and Part III- The Roman Empire; VII. Graecia; IX. Athenae; X. Gallia; XI. Britannia; XII. Epici Antiqui; XIII. Scriptores Latini: Part I- Latin Authors, and Part II- Later Writers of Latin.

Each chapter has its own map indicating places of importance. Eleven of them provide blank versions of he chapter maps which have been stripped of their labels. These ready-made templates are ideal for quizzes or certamen contests. While some chapters are longer than others, all of them provide a series of exercises using matching, short answer (sometimes in Latin, sometimes in English), and fill-in-the blank questions. In addition each chapter has a set of ideas for further work on a variety of projects. Most are stimulating. However, those that have been linked to internet sites/links may already be out of date, and the map making project in Chapter III using several sugary ingredients may be less than ideal.

Some of the problems raised by R. Scott Smith (BMCR 2011.06.61) concerning the quality and coverage of the maps in the first edition of this workbook remain. The section of Chapter VII (and its map) titled ‘The Punic Wars’ still deals only with the Second. Adding a map of Carthage to this chapter would be a plus. However, the map of Gaul (75) has been corrected and the map of the Roman Empire (85) has been changed to show the empire’s boundaries. A good number of Greek and Latin accent marks are still missing. Here are a few examples:

a) Exercise II. 6, (p. 15) should read nōmen.

b) The text in para. 5, line 4 (p. 18 ) should read Nīlus.

c) The phrase "into the city," para. 1, line 6, (p. 18) should read εἰς τὴν Πόλιν or failing that transliterated to eis tēn polin. On the same page, para. 3, line 3, should read Apollōnius.

d) The map of the Roman world (p. 21) should read Borysthenēs.

e) Exercise X.17, (p. 26) should read Judaea.

f) Exercise I.13, (p. 52) should read Statōris. Thus a thorough re-reading of the text needs to be performed and a list of errata issued.

For further editions, I suggest that the author consider adding names and birthplaces of writers such as Seneca (Corduba), Emperor Claudius (Lugdunum), Quintilian (Calagurris), Fronto (Cirta), Apuleius (Madaurus) and Augustine (Thagaste) to Part I of the chapter on Latin authors, and that she consider including a few women such as Hildegard von Bingen (Bermersheim) and Anna Maria van Schurman (Cologne), as well as men famous for their Latin like John Milton (London), Isaac Newton (Woolsthorpe) and William Harvey (Folkstone) to Part II on later writers.

Maps of other ancient cities (Delphi, Epidaurus, Knossos, Leptis Magna, and Mycenae) would add interest and variety to the workbook. An appendix for further study would be useful for the more ambitious and/or sophisticated student mentioning such ancient things as the map of the world in the Porticus Vipsania, the Marble Plan of Septimius Severus, and the Tabula Peutingeriana, as well as giving important modern sources such as Imago Mundi: The International Journal for the History of Cartography, founded in 1935 for the study of early maps, and Richard J. A. Talbert, (ed.), Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World (2002). Despite its flaws this is a useful little workbook. A Teacher’s Guide $22.00 (ISBN: 978-0-86516-801-5) is also available.

[©2013 by The Classical Association of the Middle West and South. All rights reserved.]