Behold ORBIS, a Google Maps for the Roman Empire

Have you ever wondered how much it would cost to travel from Londinium to Jerusalem in February during the heyday of the Roman Empire? Thanks to a project helmed by historian Walter Scheidel and developer Elijah Meeks of Stanford University, all of your pressing queries about Roman roadways can be answered! This is ORBIS, an online simulation (and thoroughly brainy time sink) that allows you to chart a route through the Roman Empire circa 200 AD. As the developers explain:

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.

At last, your dreams of an affordable spring break in Carthage via ox cart can be realized! Be forewarned that you may have trouble finding a bank that will exchange your local currency for Roman denarii. (Pro tip: might have to break into a museum.) Here's the link to the ORBIS website and a video tutorial at left. This is why the internet is wonderful.

[Via Ars Technica]