Via Egnatia

The Via Egnatia was a Roman military highway constructed c. 130 BCE and named after the man who ordered its construction: Proconsul Gaius Egnatius. It stretches across Macedonia and Thrace from the coast of the Adriatic Sea, and served to link Rome with its eastern colonies, being easily traversed by chariot. Strabo describes the Via Egnatia as follows, "Of this seaboard, then, the first parts are those about Epidamnus and Apollonia.  From Apollonia to Macedonia one travels the Egnatian Road, towards the east; it has been measured by Roman miles and marked by pillars as far as Cypsela [Now Ipsala] and the Hebrus [Now the Maritza] River--a distance of five hundred and thirty-five miles.  Now if one reckons as most people do, eight stadia to the mile, there would be four thousand two hundred and eighty stadia, whereas if one reckons as Polybius does, who adds two plethra, which is a third of a stadium, to the eight stadia, one must add one hundred and seventy-eight stadia--the third of the number of miles.  And it so happens that travellers setting out from Apollonia and Epidamnus meet at an equal distance from the two places on the same road.  Now although the road as a whole is called the Egnatian Road, the first part of it is called the Road to Candavia (an Illyrian mountain) and passes through Lychnidus,[Now Ochrida] a city, and Pylon, a place on the road which marks the boundary between the Illyrian country and Macedonia.  From Pylon the road runs to Barnus [Now the Neretschka Planina Mountain] through Heracleia [Heracleia Lyncestis; now Monastir] and the country of the Lyncestae and that of the Eordi into Edessa [Now Vodena] and Pella [The capital of Macedonia; now in ruins and called Hagii Apostoli] and as far as Thessaloniceia [Now Thessaloniki or Saloniki]; and the length of this road in miles, according to Polybius, is two hundred and sixty-seven.  So then, in travelling this road from the region of Epidamnus and Apollonia, one has on the right the Epeirotic tribes whose coasts are washed by the Sicilian Sea and extend as far as the Ambracian Gulf [The Gulf of Arta], and, on the left, the mountains of Illyrla, which I have already described in detail, and those tribes which live along them and extend as far as Macedonia and the country of the Paeonians" (Geography 7.7.4).