Princeton University Press has launched its iPad app version of the Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World, as we noted here on Oct. 31. The app has been made available for $19.95 on iTunes. The Barrington Facebook page includes recent news and reviews about the release. Princeton provided a copy of the app for this review. Testing was done on a 4th-generation 128 GB iPad running iOS 7.0.4 after a clean restart.
When the print version of the Barrington Atlas was published in 2000, the fruit of a multiyear international collaboration, it redressed a problem that had bedeviled the latter 20th-century: a lack of up-to-date, accurate, and visually informative/attractive (yes, I link those two attributes) maps for the classical world. Murray’s Small Classical Atlas, a short but distinguished accomplishment of Victorian cartography popular in schools, had seen its last update in 1917 (though reprints appeared through the 1950s).
The efforts of van der Heyden and Scullard (1962) and Hammond (1981) were useful as references, but their visual qualities (too few maps, and those reduced to atopographic colored line-drawings in the former; sepia monochrome in the latter) left much to be desired. The Facts-on-File Cultural Atlases released from 1980-1990 (“Greek World,” “Roman World,” “Egypt,” and “Mesopotamia and the ancient Near East”) were examples of the encyclopedia-style that prevailed in that decade, with lots of insets, photos, short descriptions, timelines and essays — an integrated approach that had many merits, but which were ultimately limited in sheer cartographic utility.