With the exception of a few periploi whose geo-cartographic scopes are rather obvious, ancient periplography is known mainly through the first, second or third-hand use ancient geographers have made of these. The so-called Stadiasmus Maris Magni is to some extent an exception. This text has survived as part of Hippolytus Chronicon, dated AD 235 in a fragmentary codex unicus copied at Constantinople in the mid-Xth century partially saved by Lascaris. This compilatory text shows the diversity of the documents gathered under the name of  ” periploï “. As the later medieval portulans, this suggest a wide range of texts, some strictly relating to the practice of sefaring (if not tools for seafaring), others being more interested in geography. This lecture will consider the layers at the origin of this original compilation, and their tcontribution to our knowledge of ancient portulans, as well as the prupouse of its insertion in a Christian perception of space and time.

Pascal Arnaud is Professor of Roman History at Université Lumière Lyon 2, Senior Fellow at Institut Universitaire de France and Co-Director of the Portus Limen Project . His research focus on the Roman and Parthian Near East, ancient geographical knowledge, ancient seafaring, travel and trade. He is also interested in the organization of Roman cities and in spatial archaeology.