Stanford has created what I suspect is the coolest thing I’m going to see today — a Google Maps-like tool that lets you map the fastest and cheapest ways (by donkey is one option) and routes to travel (including how the time of the year affects it) in the ancient Roman World.

You can read a very useful review of the tool, called Orbis, here.

Here’s a video that provides an very clear explanation of it, too, though it really is very easy to use. My only gripe with the video is that it is so dispassionate that it gives no hint about just how cool the tool is:

The next time I teach World History and we’re covering the Roman Empire, you can bet I’ll be having students using it.

Thanks to Ed Yong for the tip.