Scholia Reviews ns 16 (2007) 3.
Michele Fasolo, La Via
D.B. Saddington, University
of the Witwatersrand,
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
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.
It is to be highly recommended, but the cost will put it beyond South African libraries.