Accessibility Navigation:

Roman Portable Sundials: The Empire in Your Hand- Lecture by Richard Talbert

It is clear that the Romans gained, administered and defended a vast empire for several centuries. Much less clear, however, is the issue of how – in their pre-modern, largely unscientific era – they envisaged this world of theirs. For certain, no single outlook ever developed, such as we enjoy today thanks to our public education, printing, and modern cartography. Instead, to grasp the ‘mental world-map’ in the heads of Romans calls for identifying and analyzing clues that may at best furnish glimpses of diverse outlooks. 

Richard Talbert shares one such quest that he is pursuing. It taps an intriguing category of scattered source material that is little known to begin with, and that no-one anticipates will provide insight into geography and worldview. But in fact one variety of portable sundial can do just that. These are tiny bronze instruments fitted with adjustable rings to allow for the changes of latitude likely to occur in the course of a long journey. This lecture is free and open to the public.


Knobloch Campus Center Alvarez- Smith 900 Room

Event Type



Veltri, Lee A