Richard J. A. Talbert, the William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor in the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will deliver the Hoyt Lecture in Classics at Washington and Lee University on Tuesday, April 3, at 7 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.
The title of the talk, which is free and open to the public, is "The Magnificent Peutinger Map: Roman Cartography at its Most Creative."
Romans, more than any other ancient people, came to realize that maps are not mere factual records, but also value-laden documents. Then, as now, maps could even be designed to promote and reinforce values, from peace and civilization to unashamed pride in conquest and entitlement to world rule.
Calling on newer, more sensitive scholarly approaches to interpreting the cartographic products of pre-modern societies, Talbert looks at Roman cartographic practice, reconsidering the thinking behind the immense marble plan of the city of Rome and exposing powerful meaning and purpose in the so-called Peutinger Map, an elongated, astonishingly rich, Roman world map.
Talbert constructs a compelling fresh context for this underrated masterpiece (which is 22 ft. long), identifying its creation as a pivotal moment in Western cartography, an inspirational awakening with a long-term cultural impact that would influence Christian mapmaking through to the Renaissance.
Talbert received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Cambridge University.