A foot-post’s work was difficult: wagon wheels and inclement weather made the highways impassable; wages were in serious arrears; fresh horses were frequently unavailable; maps were unreliable. Letters arrived late, or not did not arrive at all.
A number of innovations in the Renaissance, however, made the post more reliable than it had been in the past. For example, strides were made to standardize the maps of English roads navigated by the letter carriers. John Ogilby’s road book, narrow enough to fit in a traveler’s pocket, made it easy to distinguish between post-towns, cities, and market-towns by marking the former with asterisks, and the latter two with capital letters and italics.