Via Domitia - the background

Several people have commented on the new look of this blog (which is lovely of them) and asked me about the background.

Of course, it’s a Roman road and in particular it’s the Via Domitia at Ambrussum, near Nimes in southern France. The Via Domitia  provided a fast and sure link from Spain to Italy. constructed in 118BC by the proconsul Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus.

Roman roads were built to link public administration, especially the postal service, but first and foremost to provide a  cross-continental system for the rapid movement of troops. But trade followed and many Roman roads were used into the medieval period which explains the well-worn chariot (or more likely the more mundane cart) tracks.


A non-typical Roman…

But you can see the scale of the road; it easily accommodated two-way traffic if need be.

A stack of detail about how they were built is at
Building Roman Roads – The Roman Surveyors

And here’s a typical cross-section.
Courtesy of








Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers, INCEPTIO, and PERFIDITAS. Third in series, SUCCESSIO, is now out.

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4 comments to Via Domitia – the background

  • It’s so great to see this post, every time we drive between Narbonne and Perpignan (quite often) there’s a sign telling us we’re travelling the Via Domitia and it’s hard to picture when you’re on teh A9 motorway!

  • alison

    When you stand there, you can hear the motorway hum.The railway takes the same route.

    I am fascinated by the way modern humans use the same routes the ancients did and why the routes went that way in the first place.

  • Anthony

    As someone who has walked innumerable ancient routes I can certainly appreciate the importance of the Via Domitia. However I don’t think I’ll be walking this one!

  • Alison

    I think you would need the tough caligae of Roman soldiers to withstand the impact of walking or even marching on these roads. But what a feat of engineering!