Transport in Thracia

  • Anne Kolb Karl Schmid-Strasse 4 CH-8006 Zürich
Keywords: Roman roads, viae, transport, cursus publicus, vehiculatio


The example of the Roman province of Thracia delivers insight into the functioning of Roman state transport and emphasizes its role and importance for state and populace throughout the Empire. Located in-between the western and eastern half of the Roman Empire, Thracia and its roads served as a bridge between the two. In reviewing the ways in which the state transport system (vehiculatio / cursus publicus) functioned, this paper analyses the relations between claims of the state and private interests regarding transportation, by discussing the following topics: 1. Significance of Thracia; 2. Establishment of infrastructure; 3. Organization and misuse of the state transport system; 4. Interrelations of state and private business. On the one hand, the examination of these topics reveals the huge burden the Roman state imposed on the populace and the problems of misuse of the transportation system. On the other hand, however, it reveals how locals could nevertheless capitalise on the system.