Scholia Reviews ns 16 (2007) 3.
Michele Fasolo, La Via Egnatia Viae Publicae Romanae. Rome: Istituto Grafico Editoriale Romano, 2005. Pp. v + 293. NO ISBN. U$120.00.
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
This extremely lavish work is beautifully illustrated with numerous photographs (including many aerial photographs from the Instituto Geografico Militare di Firenze) and maps in full colour. The drawings, sketches and line maps are helpfully clear. (There are only occasional minor misprints.) The work is worth having for its illustrations alone. It appears to be initiating a new series on Roman state highways: if the succeeding volumes are on the same scale it will be an enormous undertaking of use in a large number of fields.
The book is introduced by a preface by C. Uggeri which is followed by F. Walbank's valuable paper on `The Via Egnatia: Its Role in Roman Strategy' (pp. i-ix).
Part I (pp. 21-130) is concerned with sources, dates and basic problems. It covers the physical environment, including the geomorphology of the area and, in particular, its river systems, the climate, the fauna and the flora (Part I, Sections 1-5). It then (Part I, Section 1.2) provides an account of the history of archaeological research in the area. The next section (Part I, Section 1.3) gives in detail the epigraphical and literary sources mentioning the road. The texts of the surviving milestones -- together with excellent photographs -- are fully commented on. The literary testimonia include the relevant section of the Itineraria and the Tabula Peutingeriana. Cicero, Prov. Cons. 2.4 is the most explicit text, although he does not use the name Egnatia, describing it as uia illa nostra militaris, pointing to the crucial role of the army in the development of the infrastructure of the Roman world. Trajan ordered a repair of the road longa intermissione neglecta (AE 1936: 51), no doubt for his Parthian War. Part I, Section 5 is a useful account of Rome's early involvement in the Balkans and Part I, Section 6 attempts to identify the builder of the road. Cn. Egnatius C.f. is known from the bilingual inscription outside Thessalonica (AE 1976: 643) where he is simply entitled proconsul. Nothing else is known of him, but Fasolo is inclined to identify him with Cn. Egnatius C. f. Stell., a praetor known from a letter to the Corcyreans containing a senatus consultum of 165 B.C. (SEG III 451; MRR II p. 490 [III p. 84 needs to be added in Fasolo p. 98 n. 416]). The road seems to have been built not long after Macedonia became a province in 148 or 146 B.C. Part I, Section 1.10 is a useful account of roads in the Roman empire in general.
In Part II (pp. 131-254) the road is discussed in great detail in nine separate sections. It is particularly useful to have the evidence for the stationes and mutationes included. The work closes with three abstracts, in Albanian, German and English, and a full index.
The book is to be highly recommended, but the cost will put it beyond South African libraries.