Roman Roads: In ancient Rome, a highly developed road system was of great importance to the transport of goods, the quick transfer of troops and the connection between Rome and the provinces as well as among the various provinces. Built on public ground, Roman roads were financed by public means and maintained by the provincial authorities. Stone columns (mile stones), placed along main roads at one-mile intervals (approximately 1,500 metres), were named after the Emperor who had the road built and indicated the distance to the next town. Road books (itineraries, Itinerarium Antonini) and maps (Peutingersche Tafel) passed on the names of villages and road stations, e.g. (Tamsweg) as well as the distances between them. Many Roman roads followed prehistoric routes. The most important Roman roads in Austria were the road running along the Danube frontier from Carnuntum through Vienna, St. Pölten, Pöchlarn, and Lorch (Lauriacum) to Passau; this road was of particular strategic importance. Near Lorch a road branched off the east-west route leading through Wels and Salzburg to south Germany. Roads crossing the Alps ran over the Reschenscheideck Pass, the Fern Pass, and the Brenner Pass. Other Roman roads ran from Salzburg over the Radstädter Tauern Mountains and the Laußnitzhöhe toTeurnia, and from Wels over the Pyhrn Pass and the Neumarkter Sattel Pass to Virunum. Two Roman roads, which were probably built during the wars against the Marcomanni crossed the Hohe Tauern at Korntauern and Mallnitzer Tauern; although they were outstanding feats of early road construction they were only used for a short time. The Amber Route, running through Lower Austria and Burgenland, was based on a prehistoric trade route.
Literature: E. Stain, Zu römischen Straßenstationen im Alpenraum, 1982; G. Winkler, Die römischen Straßen und Meilensteine in Noricum - Österreich, 1985; A. Lippert (ed.), Hochalpine Altstraßen im Raum Badgastein-Mallnitz, 1993; J. Stern, Wo Römerräder rollten, 1994.