Itinera Imperii is an E-Twinning partnership created by a group of European schools in Italy, Spain, France, Rumenia, Greece and other countries (with different levels of involvement). The aim is to work all together on a peculiar part of our common archaeological, historical and cultural heritage: Roman roads.
The Roman Empire once controlled all the areas now belonging to our national States. Roads constituted a very important means of unification and a concrete landmark of the Roman civilization: they were so magnificent and monumental that the medieval Europeans could hardly believe they were the work of simple men, and not gods or mythological creatures.
Roads kept the empire united and spread not only its languages, Latin and Greek, but also the ideas such languages conveyed, including Christianism. News travelled surprisingly fast thanks to the cursus publicus, the official postal system the administration (not the common subjects) had at its disposal, while all sorts of merchandise were shipped to and fro great cities such as Rome or Costantinople or Alexandria. The Tabula Peutingeriana (which can be seen in a beatiful 1:1 reproduction at the Biblioteca di Studi Classici e Cristiani at the University of Bari) illustrates very well how important roads were in the Roman Empire: Umberto Eco has compared this tabula, for its purposes and shape, to the modern maps of the London Underground.
Within this large frame, my task is to work mainly on the local branch of the Via Appia, the Via Traiana, which passed not far away from the site of present-days Corato. I will also focus on the main administrative centre of the area in late antiquity, Canosa, which still is an important centre in Puglia.