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Ancient Places in Pleiades

Creators: Sean Gillies
Contributors: Tom Elliott
Copyright © The Contributors. Sharing and remixing permitted under terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (cc-by).
Last modified Feb 11, 2013 02:50 PM

Access all of our information about ancient world places and their locations and names.

Places are geographical and historical contexts for Names and Locations. Places may have within their core some features of the physical world – a sea, a bay, a river, a mountain range, a pass, a road, a settlement or an ethnic region – but their primary quality is that, in the words of Yi-fu Tuan [1], they are constructed by human experience. Places may be no larger than a family dwelling or as big as an empire, be temporally enduring or fleeting. They may expand, constract and evolve over time. A place may be unnamed, unlocated, falsely attested or even mythical. Pleiades began with the cataloged places of the Barrington Atlas, minting a unique place for each record in the map-by-map directories of the Atlas and creating names and locations in the context of that place. Recent additions include places appearing on Barrington Atlas map sheets that did not appear individually in the directories and entirely new places added by the Pleiades user community. For more details about the way that Pleiades models information, please see the technical introduction to places.

Starting points

  • Aphrodisias has the largest number of site locations and attested names, and demonstrates how we cite ancient sources as evidence (see Ἀφροδεισιάς and links the Inscriptions of Aphrodisias project).
  • The extent of the Mare Adriaticum is well mapped by its connections to islands, ports, and shores. We'd like to do this for other bodies of water in lieu of digitizing their shorelines.
  • The boundaries of ethnic and cultural regions are fuzzy and not well described by lines or polygons, but the towns and oppida of the Treveri show the extent of their of their territory.
  • The many milecastles of Hadrian's Wall are represented in Pleiades and are our prime example of a large, composite place.
  • Road networks can also be mapped by their way stations, bridges, and destinations. For one such road in Aemilia, a milestone inscription (CIL V 8007) attests to the name Via Popilia.
  • Nemausus shows how to cite other GIS datasets for coordinates of existing ancient monuments.
  • The faceted place index provides a number of entry points into the set of all places.
  • The faceted name index does likewise for names.
  • Getting Started explains how to begin contributing to Pleiades.
  • See also our list of thematic content development projects.


As we discover never-attested and duplicate places, they will be moved from the places container to the errata container and redirecting links will be left in their place.

The Catalog

The catalog of Pleiades objects can be searched via simple or advanced forms and is also written every morning to files that can be opened in a spreadsheet program.


CSV, KML and RDF datasets can be downloaded from Pleiades or from CKAN.


[1] Y. Tuan, "Place: An Experiential Perspective," Geographical Review, vol. 65, Apr. 1975, pp. 151-165.
Edited by admin on Nov 19, 2012 12:37 PM
More starting points
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Edited by admin on Nov 19, 2012 11:58 AM
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Edited by Sean Gillies on Jul 20, 2012 03:33 PM
Add note about the new errata container
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Edited by Sean Gillies on May 18, 2012 01:15 PM
Add link to projects and categorize
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Edited by Sean Gillies on Dec 08, 2011 02:31 PM
Add download links
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Edited by Sean Gillies on Dec 08, 2011 02:30 PM
Add download links
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Edited by Sean Gillies on Oct 14, 2011 03:48 PM
Add link to the technical intro to places
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Edited by Sean Gillies on Oct 14, 2011 03:15 PM
Initial revision
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Edited by Sean Gillies on Oct 14, 2011 02:09 PM
Initial revision
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