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Periodis Web – A Historical Atlas and Gazetteer of Europe from Year 1 to 2000 (euratlas.net)
124 points by atas 1302 days ago | hide | past | web | 48 comments | favorite

The project I'm currently working on is called Atlastory, and would be a Google Maps-like interface throughout history. The idea is to eventually have political maps like those in the OP + specific maps for historic events.

Demo is up at http://atlastory.com (for now only maps are WWII and Civil War). If anyone's interested in helping out please contact me. (Currently looking for another developer to help with the much more complicated back-end)

Currently working on a similar project as well!

I especially found the map of europe Year 1 vs 2000 interesting. Hopefully, it won't take another 2k years for the EU to grow back together as a community. Of course, there are the intermittent 2k years that have divided us, but if you compare the progress over the last 50 to the previous roughly 2k I think we've done quit well.

Not sure whether you are pro- or anti-EU with that comment...

You are aware that the union in year 1 was effectively a somewhat brutal dictatorship imposed by force where human life was treated as a toy for an elite caste that ruled from afar, right? There was no 'EU community' then. There was the brutal rule of hierarchical violence and fealty to pay to a foreign emperor.

Regardless of what you think of the EU, the Roman empire is not something to which anyone should reasonably aspire!

Should be a link to "Life of Brian" here - where Cleese says "What have the Romans every given us? Nothun'!" and a cell member raises his hand. "The Aquaduct?" "Oh yeah, the Aquaduct, yeah, that." And on and on until they have a long list of improvements instituted by the Romans.

Its easy for entertainers to make that joke. But history has shown that in general, people prefer independence over technology.

Sure, but they have to be alive to appreciate anything. You can make the argument: providing public safety, armed police, clean safe water and medicine, Romans saved far more lives than they ever hurt.

I'm definately pro EU and also quite aware of the Roman Empire's injustices, I just think its interesting that a map of the current EU member states - http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:EU_Member_states_and_Cand..., has a large overlap, minus Turkey and the arabic countries. Which makes me wonder/hope that perhaps they could also one day become member states in a harmonious union. Obviously, this observation only comes from the maps not historical events, which most certianly is one of the main reasons Turkey is not an EU member as of now.

I don't think it is so much of a surprise. The Roman empire enforced a lot of cultural norms and spread a common religion. The religion, in particular, was responsible for a largely common education and that still exists today! It is therefore no surprise that the member states that share that common education have a lot of political interaction. However, often that political interaction has been warlike and negative and it's not clear that one can peaceably enforce positive interaction between states.

The best thing that the EU could do to harmonise relations, in my opinion, would be to encourage an EU-wide educational system and make that education open to other, non-european states too. Take the harmonising parts of that ancient common religion and try to avoid the the mystical and manipulative hierarchies which caused a lot of bloodshed and which will, in my opinion, eventually bring it down.

I believe you are thinking of the existing Bologna Process[0] which is, at heart, an attempt to build an EU-wide common higher education system.


Yes and no. The Bologna Process, as I understand it, is a harmonisation of academic qualifications designed to allow someone with a degree in Italy to be qualified to do a PhD. in the Netherlands, etc. I'm talking more about a FOSS-style curriculum that doesn't necessarily address economic arguments, but acts as a basis for what modern European school children should know and learn. Some common cultural grounding that clearly states an accumulated sum of knowledge and learning techniques that defines what it means to be 'educated'.

Yeah, we really dream of being swallowed up and exploited by a greater empire again, because we haven't had enough of that fun yet in the period between the Roman empire and the 3rd Reich...

There's no "back together" because there has never been a together that wasn't under the sword or the gun in the first place. Peace, cooperation and wide open borders within the EU, great. The EU as the next empire, no thanks.

If anything, the ideal future map of Europe has more borders as communities peacefully regain their autonomy and independence.

Not to mention the former Soviet members of the EU, some of whom have had the opportunity to be swallowed up by other empires several times now.

This comment exposes the elitist Europhile mindset beautifully. Yes, another Roman Empire to allow a small imperial caste to rule the entire continent is exactly what they are aiming for.

Where on earth did you get that reading from? Just because someone wishes for the artificial divisions that divide us to melt away does not they want a return to imperial hegemony. Your comment reflects more on your euro-skepticism than the claims you are making of the grandparent.

The EU is all about setting up a centralised governing power over Europe. Given that Europe contains many different cultures, this will inevitably be an Imperial government, since there is no single demos with broad agreement on policy to be represented by the European state. The EU is really the last thing Europe needs: all the European creativity and energy over the last few centuries has come from competition between small nation states, while huge states everywhere eventually run out of cash and become oppressive and bureaucratic (keep an eye on the US, folks).

The US is experience the type of issues that all empires experience as they transition from plateau to decline (crushing bureaucracy, close ties between business and state, overwhelming federal debt, etc etc). Whats interesting is that the EU is trying its hardest to emulate those issues without actually ascending to an empire itself. They are copying an empire in decline. The EU is a cargo cult.

Do you realize that the current convoluted lack of accountability is largely a result of the lack of deeper integration?

E.g. the EU is limited in how much of the power that is vested in EU organizations that can be transferred to the parliament, because much of the power that is elsewhere is there as a side effect of that power nationally being delegated to the sitting cabinets, and so in most countries it will take constitutional changes to hand that power away from the cabinets, that exercise it as part of the EU Council and EU Commission, to the parliament.

This is a "workaround" to problems similar to what the US endured under the Articles of Confederation (where the central government was pretty much powerless to implement many decisions because the states simply could decide to not follow decisions they didn't agree with), and a lot of the work on deeper integration in the EU has focused on how to change this situation to grant the EU parliament more of these powers.

There are plenty of problems with the approach. But there are also plenty of "Europhile's" for whom reforms are simultaneously about tighter integration and democratizing the decision making, and in fact it's hard to find anyone that are happy with the current power split between the EU Commission, Council and Parliament.

The idea that you could, even in principle, make an organisation like the EU "accountable" at all is fundamentally mistaken.

My critique of the EU is not that it is doing a bad job of ruling people from on high, and that we should reform it to make it better, but rather that the very idea of trying to govern an entire continent is wrongheaded from the get-go.

We are perfectly capable of cooperating and trading and working together without adding another layer of government on top.

Thankfully, it is becoming abundantly clear that the whole project is doomed to failure. I just hope that it falls apart before further forced integration creates a lot of bloodshed, and not after.

So manifest destiny was also a no-go?

Federal systems are meant to be scalable. The US gov't might have its problems, but the land size it governs is not the source of these. If you needed proof of concept, there you go.

The US federal government is a perfect example. Remote - geographically, culturally, and financially - from the people it governs, it has continually eroded the freedoms and protections of the bill of rights, and has usurped the sovereign authority of the state governments.

The federal government has been a great success for those with the money to control it and bend its power to their will, but has been an absolute disaster for the vast number of ordinary Americans.

Free Quebec!

That's not what I meant to convey at all. The idea is that cultures that have a different history, a history of conflict, blood and war - as one would probably guess just by observing the lines on this map - can come together, work together and overcome their different antagonistic histories, in order to attain peace. If other states were to join, islamic states, such as Turkey, and it were to work, this would be an even more amazing historical event. I'm not saying the EU is without its problems, but I think its going far in moving away from cold-warish pre 21st century nationalistic tendencies that have led to so much disaster in the world.

> If other states were to join, islamic states, such as Turkey, and it were to work, this would be an even more amazing historical event.

Can you define 'Islamic state'? Turkey is a secular democratic republic. Admittedly one run by religious nutjobs with delusions of grandeur at the moment, but it is technically a secular republic, not an islamic state, and does not identify as such.

Also, for Turkey to join the EU, the EU would have to provide an incentive that at the moment does not exist. Turkey has good tariffs and trade agreements with many EU states and having it's own currency.

You realize that the vast majority of that history of conflict, blood and war has been caused by attempts to remove those lines from the map?

Straw man.

The one thing you're missing, is the USA. Europe, as a cultural whole, should really include USA. In that perspective, the map has actually changed quite a bit since year 1.

Never thought of it quite like that - yes, we did expand the Borders a little:-)

If someone was to download these images and make a simple site that links them all with transition fades to show the change over time, would it be an infringement of the Euratlas copyright?

Contact them, they licence their maps out. You can even get in high resolution SVG format: http://shop.euratlas.com/maps_gis/index.html

As for the copyright, see: http://www.euratlas.com/conditions.html as well as:

> You may use the Euratlas images and maps, as they are available on the websites euratlas.com and euratlas.net, for educational or illustration purposes but you must mention the source in that way: © 2010 Christos Nussli, www euratlas.com No commercial use is allowed.


You guys might like a TEDx talk by a friend of mine Grzegorz 'The collapse of complex societies' specifically Roman Empire. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcE0rIEHEFI

I am already reading Edward Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and while research since its conception may have disputed certain facts unknown at Gibbon's time (it was published in 1776), it is still an excellent detailed account of the Roman Empire from 170s and onward, without ever getting boring, because of Gibbon's excellent prose.

Check out "The History of Rome" podcast by Mike Duncan, for a highly enjoyable and thoroughly researched account of Rome from ~400BC to the last Western emperor.

A good popular history of the other side of the "Fall of the Roman Empire" is "Terry Jones' Barbarians".

I scare-quote "Fall of the Roman Empire" because even though Rome itself was sacked, the Eastern half of the Roman Empire kept going for another millennium, though known to us moderns as the Byzantine Empire (it was known to all contemporaries merely as The Roman Empire).

Just FYI, Gibbon goes all the way to the fall of Constantinople. He refers to it as Western Roman Empire and Eastern Roman Empire later on.

Well it is only 130 euro per map for direct download


seems reasonable /s

Great. I love maps, and I love history. I feel like I don't have enough time to read enough history. Looking at maps gives a good summary of the rise and demise of various empires and states.

Then I will highly recommend this: http://www.the-map-as-history.com/

It's a pay-site, but its content is well worth the small price. The commentary is excellent and the attention to detail is high, without being boring. My only issue would be that they use Flash, but I guess I can forgive this site for it.

I prefer the maps in Wikimedia Commons - there are some amateur maps, which may be even better than some lifted from expired-copyright atlases.

There are quite a few different historical maps of the same year/region - it is very important to have them side by side, because history is very subjective and historical maps are only a subjective and deficient in data representations of historical presence.

Maps (by century): http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Maps_by_century_s...

For example:

- Bavaria is shown to be a Austrian possession in 1800, which is incorrect. Consider the implications if Bavaria was a part of Austria for a while - would there be a Southern German nation? Or would be in fact inconsiderable that Austria is a separate state given the overlap with other German states? If you have only this map as a teaching tool you are implicitly giving a false impression of history.

- There are no Ukrainian states or predecessors (the Cossack Sich) after the 14th century on any of these maps. By omitting this state the appearance of Ukraine seems mysterious in 20th century and a key narrative in the histories of Poland, Russia and even Sweden (the winter war) simply disappears.

Frontiers of Europe from -500 to 2013.


There's a lot of blank space in the year one map. I bet there were people living in those places.

Remarkable that the French & English won WWI when you look at the year 1900 map. Between Germany, Austria, Ottomans, and Italians, it seems that ~75% of the at war landmass was on the German side.

interesting that germany didn't even come into existence until the 1900's according to this tool.

This is great, thank you.

News flash: there are more then 2000 years of Europe.

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