The Info List - Appian Way

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The Appian
Way ( Latin
and Italian: Via Appia) was one of the earliest and strategically most important Roman roads
Roman roads
of the ancient republic. It connected Rome
to Brindisi, in southeast Italy.[1] Its importance is indicated by its common name, recorded by Statius:[2][3]

Appia longarum... regina viarum "the Appian
Way the queen of the long roads"

The road is named after Appius Claudius Caecus, the Roman censor
Roman censor
who began and completed the first section as a military road to the south in 312 BC[4] during the Samnite Wars.


1 Origins

1.1 The need for roads 1.2 The Samnite Wars 1.3 The barrier of the Pontine Marshes 1.4 Colonization to the southeast 1.5 Appius Claudius' beginning of the works 1.6 The success of the road

2 Construction of the road

2.1 Between Rome
and Lake Albano 2.2 Across the marsh 2.3 Along the coast 2.4 Extension to Beneventum 2.5 Extension to Apulia
and Calabria 2.6 Extension by Trajan

3 Notable historical events along the road

3.1 The crucifixion of Spartacus' army 3.2 The World War II
World War II
battle of Anzio 3.3 1960 Summer Olympics

4 Main sights

4.1 Via Appia antica 4.2 Monuments along the Via Appia

4.2.1 1st to 4th mile 4.2.2 5th mile 4.2.3 6th mile and beyond 4.2.4 Roman bridges along the road

5 See also 6 References 7 Further reading 8 External links


Porta San Sebastiano
Porta San Sebastiano
is the gate of the Appia in the Aurelian Walls

The need for roads[edit] The Appian
Way was used as a main route for military supplies since its construction for that purpose in 312 B.C.[citation needed] The Appian
Way was the first long road built specifically to transport troops outside the smaller region of greater Rome
(this was essential to the Romans). The few roads outside the early city were Etruscan and went mainly to Etruria. By the late Republic, the Romans had expanded over most of Italy
and were masters of road construction. Their roads began at Rome, where the master itinerarium, or list of destinations along the roads, was located, and extended to the borders of their domain — hence the expression, "All roads lead to Rome". The Samnite Wars[edit] Romans had an affinity for the people of Campania, who, like themselves, traced their backgrounds to the Etruscans. The Samnite Wars were instigated by the Samnites
when Rome
attempted to ally itself with the city of Capua
in Campania. The Italic speakers in Latium had long ago been subdued and incorporated into the Roman state. They were responsible for changing Rome
from a primarily Etruscan to a primarily Italic state. Dense populations of sovereign Samnites
remained in the mountains north of Capua, which is just north of the Greek city of Neapolis. Around 343 BC, Rome
and Capua
attempted to form an alliance, a first step toward a closer unity. The Samnites
reacted with military force. The barrier of the Pontine Marshes[edit]

Priscilla tomb

Grave monument of Caius Rabirius Postumus Hermodorus, Lucia Rabiria Demaris and Usia Prima, priestess of Isis
along the Via Appia, near Quarto Miglio

San Sebastiano fuori le Mura, located on the catacombs of San Sebastiano

Between Capua
and Rome
lay the Pontine Marshes
Pontine Marshes
(Pomptinae paludes), a swamp infested with malaria. A tortuous coastal road wound between Ostia at the mouth of the Tiber
and Neapolis. The via Latina followed its ancient and scarcely more accessible path along the foothills of Monti Laziali and Monti Lepini, which are visible towering over the former marsh. In the First Samnite War
First Samnite War
(343–341 BC) the Romans found they could not support or resupply troops in the field against the Samnites across the marsh. A revolt of the Latin
League drained their resources further. They gave up the attempted alliance and settled with Samnium. Colonization to the southeast[edit] The Romans were only biding their time while they looked for a solution. The first answer was the colonia, a "cultivation" of settlers from Rome, who would maintain a permanent base of operations. The Second Samnite War
Second Samnite War
(327–304 BC) erupted when Rome
attempted to place a colony at Cales
in 334 and again at Fregellae
in 328 on the other side of the marshes. The Samnites, now a major power after defeating the Greeks
of Tarentum, occupied Neapolis to try to ensure its loyalty. The Neapolitans appealed to Rome, which sent an army and expelled the Samnites
from Neapolis. Appius Claudius' beginning of the works[edit] In 312 BC, Appius Claudius Caecus
Appius Claudius Caecus
became censor at Rome. He was of the gens Claudia, who were patricians descended from the Sabines taken into the early Roman state. He had been given the name of the founding ancestor of the gens. He was a populist, i.e., an advocate of the common people. A man of inner perspicacity, in the years of success he was said to have lost his outer vision and thus acquired the name caecus, "blind". Without waiting to be told what to do by the Senate, Appius Claudius began bold public works to address the supply problem. An aqueduct (the Aqua Appia) secured the water supply of the city of Rome. By far the best known project was the road, which ran across the Pontine Marshes to the coast northwest of Naples, where it turned north to Capua. On it, any number of fresh troops could be sped to the theatre of operations, and supplies could be moved en masse to Roman bases without hindrance by either enemy or terrain. It is no surprise that, after his term as censor, Appius Claudius became consul twice, subsequently held other offices, and was a respected consultant to the state even during his later years. The success of the road[edit] The road achieved its purpose. The outcome of the Second Samnite War was at last favorable to Rome. In a series of blows the Romans reversed their fortunes, bringing Etruria to the table in 311 BC, the very year of their revolt, and Samnium
in 304. The road was the main factor that allowed them to concentrate their forces with sufficient rapidity and to keep them adequately supplied, wherein they became a formidable opponent. Construction of the road[edit] The main part of the Appian
Way was started and finished in 312 BC. The road began as a leveled dirt road upon which small stones and mortar were laid. Gravel was laid upon this, which was finally topped with tight fitting, interlocking stones to provide a flat surface. The historian Procopius said that the stones fit together so securely and closely that they appeared to have grown together rather than to have been fitted together.[5] The road was cambered in the middle (for water runoff) and had ditches on either side of the road which were protected by retaining walls. Between Rome
and Lake Albano[edit]

The Circus of Maxentius.

The road began in the Forum Romanum, passed through the Servian Wall at the porta Capena, went through a cutting in the clivus Martis, and left the city. For this stretch of the road, the builders used the via Latina. The building of the Aurelian Wall
Aurelian Wall
centuries later required the placing of another gate, the Porta Appia. Outside of Rome
the new via Appia went through well-to-do suburbs along the via Norba, the ancient track to the Alban hills, where Norba
was situated. The road at the time was a via glarea, a gravel road. The Romans built a high-quality road, with layers of cemented stone over a layer of small stones, cambered, drainage ditches on either side, low retaining walls on sunken portions, and dirt pathways for sidewalks. The via Appia is believed to have been the first Roman road
Roman road
to feature the use of lime cement. The materials were volcanic rock. The surface was said to have been so smooth that you could not distinguish the joints. The Roman section still exists and is lined with monuments of all periods, although the cement has eroded out of the joints, leaving a very rough surface. Across the marsh[edit] The road concedes nothing to the Alban hills, but goes straight through them over cuts and fills. The gradients are steep. Then it enters the former Pontine Marshes. A stone causeway of about 31 kilometers (19 mi) led across stagnant and foul-smelling pools blocked from the sea by sand dunes. Appius Claudius planned to drain the marsh, taking up earlier attempts, but he failed. The causeway and its bridges subsequently needed constant repair. No one enjoyed crossing the marsh.[citation needed] In 162 BC, Marcus Cornelius Cathegus had a canal constructed along the road to relieve the traffic and provide an alternative when the road was being repaired. Romans preferred using the canal.

of Caecilia Metella and the castrum Caetani

Along the coast[edit] The via Appia picked up the coastal road at Tarracina (Terracina). However, the Romans straightened it somewhat with cuttings, which form cliffs today. From there the road swerved north to Capua, where, for the time being, it ended. Caudine Forks was not far to the north. The itinerary was Aricia (Ariccia), Tres Tabernae, Forum Appii, Tarracina, Fundi (Fondi), Formiae
(Formia), Minturnae
(Minturno), Suessa ([[S.P.Q.S[6]]]), Casilinum and Capua, but some of these were colonies added after the Samnite Wars. The distance was 212 kilometers (132 mi). The original road had no milestones, as they were not yet in use. A few survive from later times, including a first milestone near the porta Appia. Extension to Beneventum[edit]

Via Appia within the ancient Minturno

The Third Samnite War
Third Samnite War
(298–290 BC) is perhaps misnamed. It was an all-out attempt by all the neighbors of Rome: Italics, Etruscans and Gauls, to check the power of Rome. The Samnites
were the leading people of the conspiracy. Rome
dealt the northerners a crushing blow at the Battle of Sentinum in Umbria
in 295. The Samnites
fought on alone. Rome
now placed 13 colonies in Campania
and Samnium. It must have been during this time that they extended the via Appia 35 miles beyond Capua
past the Caudine forks to a place the Samnites
called Maloenton, "passage of the flocks". The itinerary added Calatia, Caudium and Beneventum (not yet called that). Here also ended the via Latina.[citation needed] Extension to Apulia
and Calabria[edit] By 290 BC, the sovereignty of the Samnites
had ended. The heel of Italy
lay open to the Romans. The dates are somewhat uncertain and there is considerable variation in the sources, but during the Third Samnite War the Romans seem to have extended the road to Venusia, where they placed a colony of 20,000 men. After that they were at Tarentum. Roman expansion alarmed Tarentum, the leading city of the Greek presence (Magna Graecia) in southern Italy. They hired the mercenary, King Pyrrhus of Epirus, in neighboring Greece
to fight the Romans on their behalf. In 280 BC the Romans suffered a defeat at the hands of Pyrrhus at the Battle of Heraclea
Battle of Heraclea
on the coast west of Tarentum. The battle was costly for both sides, prompting Pyrrhus to remark "One more such victory and I am lost." Making the best of it, the Roman army turned on Greek Rhegium
and effected a massacre of Pyrrhian partisans there. Rather than pursue them, Pyrrhus went straight for Rome
along the via Appia and then the via Latina. He knew that if he continued on the via Appia he could be trapped in the marsh. Wary of such entrapment on the via Latina also, he withdrew without fighting after encountering opposition at Anagni. Wintering in Campania, he withdrew to Apulia
in 279 BC, where, pursued by the Romans, he won a second costly victory at the Battle of Asculum. Withdrawing from Apulia
for a Sicilian interlude, he returned to Apulia
in 275 BC and started for Campania
up the nice Roman road. Supplied by that same road, the Romans successfully defended the region against Pyrrhus, crushing his army in a two-day fight at the Battle of Beneventum in 275 BC. The Romans renamed the town from "Maleventum" ("site of bad events") to Beneventum ("site of good events") as a result. Pyrrhus withdrew to Greece, where he died in a street fight in Argos in 272 BC. Tarentum fell to the Romans that same year, who proceeded to consolidate their rule over all of Italy.[7] The Romans pushed the via Appia to the port of Brundisium
in 264 BC. The itinerary from Beneventum was now Venusia, Silvium, Tarentum, Uria
and Brundisium. The Roman Republic
Roman Republic
was the government of Italy, for the time being. Appius Claudius died in 273, but in extending the road a number of times, no one has tried to displace his name upon it. Extension by Trajan[edit] The emperor Trajan
built the Via Traiana, an extension of the Via Appia from Beneventum, reaching Brundisium
via Canusium
and Barium rather than via Tarentum. This was commemorated by an arch at Beneventum. Notable historical events along the road[edit] The crucifixion of Spartacus' army[edit]

Emperor Trajan
built a deviation of Via Appia. This is a tract of Via Appia Traiana near Egnatia.

The column in Brindisi, marking the end of the Via Appia

Further information: Third Servile War In 73 BC, a slave revolt (known as the Third Servile War) under the ex-gladiator of Capua, Spartacus, began against the Romans. Slavery accounted for roughly every third person in Italy. Spartacus
defeated many Roman armies in a conflict that lasted for over two years. While trying to escape from Italy
at Brundisium
he unwittingly moved his forces into the historic trap in Apulia/Calabria. The Romans were well acquainted with the region. Legions were brought home from abroad and Spartacus
was pinned between armies. The ex-slave army was defeated at Siler River by Crassus. Pompey's armies captured and killed several thousand rebels that escaped from the battle and Crassus captured several thousand more. The Romans judged that the slaves had forfeited their right to live. In 71 BC, 6,000 slaves were crucified along the 200-kilometer (120 mi) Via Appia from Rome
to Capua.[8] The World War II
World War II
battle of Anzio[edit] Main article: Operation Shingle In 1943, during World War II, the Allies fell into the same trap Pyrrhus had retreated to avoid, in the Pomptine fields, the successor to the Pomptine marshes. The marsh remained, despite many efforts to drain it, until engineers working for Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
finally succeeded. (Even so, the fields were infested with malarial mosquitos until the advent of DDT
in 1950s.) Hoping to break a stalemate at Monte Cassino, the Allies landed on the coast of Italy
at Nettuno, ancient Antium, which was midway between Ostia and Terracina. They found that the place was undefended. They intended to move along the line of the via Appia to take Rome, outflanking Monte Cassino, but they did not do so quickly enough. The Germans occupied Mounts Laziali and Lepini along the track of the old Via Latina, from which they rained down shells on Anzio. Even though the Allies expanded into all the Pomptine region, they gained no ground. The Germans counterattacked down the via Appia from the Alban hills in a front four miles wide, but could not retake Anzio. The battle lasted for four months, one side being supplied by sea, the other by land through Rome. In May 1944, the Allies broke out of Anzio and took Rome. The German forces escaped to the north of Florence. 1960 Summer Olympics[edit] For the 1960 Summer Olympics, it served as part of the men's marathon course that was won by Abebe Bikila
Abebe Bikila
of Ethiopia.[9][10] Main sights[edit]

Via Appia Antica 4.1 km South-East from Porta Appia
Porta Appia
(Porta San Sebastiano), the gate of the Aurelian Walls

Via Appia antica[edit] After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the road fell out of use; Pope Pius VI
Pope Pius VI
ordered its restoration. A new Appian
Way was built in parallel with the old one in 1784 as far as the Alban Hills region. The new road is the Via Appia Nuova ("New Appian
Way") as opposed to the old section, now known as Via Appia Antica. The old Appian
Way close to Rome
is now a free tourist attraction. It was extensively restored for Rome's Millennium and Great Jubilee
Great Jubilee
celebrations. The first 5 kilometers (3 mi) are still heavily used by cars, buses and coaches but from then on traffic is very light and the ruins can be explored on foot in relative safety. The Church of Domine Quo Vadis is in the second mile of the road. Along or close to the part of the road closest to Rome, there are three catacombs of Roman and early Christian
origin and one of Jewish origin. The construction of Rome's ring road, the Grande Raccordo Anulare
Grande Raccordo Anulare
or GRA, in 1951 caused the Appian
Way to be cut in two. More recent improvements to the GRA have rectified this through the construction of a tunnel under the Appia, so that it is now possible to follow the Appia on foot for about 16 km (10 mi) from its beginning near the Baths of Caracalla. Many parts of the original road beyond Rome's environs have been preserved, and some are now used by cars (for example, in the area of Velletri). The road inspires the last movement of Ottorino Respighi's Pini di Roma. To this day the Via Appia contains the longest stretch of straight road in Europe,[11] totaling 62 km (39 mi). Monuments along the Via Appia[edit]

The Appian
Way as it appeared in Piranesi's imagination (1756)

1st to 4th mile[edit]

Porta Appia
Porta Appia
(Porta San Sebastiano), the gate of the Aurelian Walls Church of Domine Quo Vadis Tomb of Priscilla Catacomb of Callixtus Hypogeum of Vibia San Sebastiano fuori le mura Catacombs
of St Sebastian Vigna Randanini
Vigna Randanini
Jewish catacombs Circus of Maxentius Tomb of Caecilia Metella Roman baths of Capo di Bove Tomb of Hilarus Fuscus

5th mile[edit]

The Mausoleum
of the Curiazi has been dated to between the end of the Republic and the beginning of the Empire

of the Orazi and Curiazi Villa dei Quintili, with nympheum, theatre, and baths Mausoleum
of Casal Rotondo

Torre Selce, a 12th-century tower built on a much older mausoleum

6th mile and beyond[edit]

Minucia tomb Torre Selce Temple of Hercules Berrettia di Prete (tomb and later church) Mausoleum
of Gallienus Tres Tabernae Villa of Publius Clodius Pulcher (in the Villa Santa Caterina, owned by the Pontifical North American College), 14th mile Villa of Pompey

Roman bridges along the road[edit]

For an overview of the location of Roman bridges, see List of Roman bridges.

There are the remains of several Roman bridges along the road, including the Ponte di Tre Ponti, Ponte di Vigna Capoccio, Viadotta di Valle Ariccia, Ponte Alto and Ponte Antico. See also[edit]

Way Regional Park Park of the Caffarella
Park of the Caffarella
which borders the northern side of the Appian Way Roman bridge Roman engineering Three Taverns


^ Quilici and S. Quilici Gigli, L., R. Talbert, S. Gillies, T. Elliott, J. Becker. "Places: 356966898 (Via Appia)". Pleiades. Retrieved March 14, 2013. CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link) ^ Silvae, 2.2. ^ Povoledo, Elisabetta (April 5, 2008). "Past Catches Up With the Queen of Roads". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-05. In ancient times the Appian
Way, which links Rome
to the southern city of Brindisi, was known as the regina viarum, the queen of the roads. But these days its crown appears to be tarnished by chronic traffic congestion, vandalism and, some of its guardians grumble, illegal development.  ^ " Appian
Way" in Chambers's Encyclopædia. London: George Newnes, 1961, Vol. 1, p. 490. ^ Tingay, G.I.F., and J. Badcock. These Were The Romans. ed. Chester Springs, Pennsylvania: Dufour Editions, Inc., 1989. ^ File:Via Appia.jpg ^ See The Harper Encyclopedia of Military History, p.66 ^ Appian, Civil Wars, 1.120. ^ 1960 Summer Olympics
1960 Summer Olympics
official report. Archived 2008-10-31 at the Wayback Machine. Volume 1. pp. 80–81. ^ 1960 Summer Olympics
1960 Summer Olympics
official report. Archived 2008-05-27 at the Wayback Machine. Volume 2. Part 1. pp. 117–8. ^ Magli, Giulio (2007). "Astronomical references in the planning of ancient roads". arXiv:0706.1325  [physics.hist-ph]. 

Library resources about Appian

Online books Resources in your library Resources in other libraries

Further reading[edit]

Berechman, Joseph. 2003. "Transportation––Economic Aspects of Roman Highway Development: The Case of Via Appia." Transportation Research Part A 37, no. 5: 453-78. Coarelli, Filippo. 2007. Rome
and environs: An archaeological guide. Translated by James J. Clauss and Daniel P. Harmon. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press. Della Portella, Ivana. 2004. The Appian
Way: From Its Foundation to the Middle Ages. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum. Dubbini, Rachele. 2016. "A New Republican Temple on the Via Appia, at the Borders of Rome's Urban Space." Journal of Roman Archaeology 29: 327-47. Kleijn, M. de, R. de Hond, and O. Martinez-Rubi. 2016. "A 3D Spatial Data Infrastructure for Mapping the Via Appia." Digital Applications in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage 3: 23-32. Magli, Giulio, Eugenio Realini, Mirko Reguzzoni, and Daniele Sampietro. 2014. "Uncovering a Masterpiece of Roman Engineering: The Project of Via Appia between Colle Pardo and Terracina." Journal of Cultural Heritage 15, no. 6: 665–69.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Via Appia.

Way on the Web Appian
Way Regional Park Ivana Della Portella, Giuseppina Pisani Sartorio, Francesca Ventre. The Appian
Way: From Its Foundation to the Middle Ages. Los Angeles, 2004 (Google Books Preview). Via Appia Antica From Torre In Selci To Frattocchie Via Appia Antica From Cecilia Metella To Torre In Selci The Via Appia And The Cities Of The Pontine Plain Documentary Film about the Sassi di Matera and the Appian
Way, Roba Forestiera, 44 min., 2004 New York Times article on condition of Appian
Way in modern times Omnes Viae: Via Appia on the Tabula Peutingeriana Robert Kaster's "Advice for the Traveler" excerpted from The Appian Way: Ghost Road, Queen of Roads

v t e

Roman Empire
Roman Empire
– Roman roads

Via Aemilia Via Aemilia
Via Aemilia
Scauri Via Agrippa Via Amerina Via Anicia Via Annia Via Appia Via Aquillia Via Aquitania Via Argentaria Via Asturica Burdigalam Via Augusta Via Augusta
Via Augusta
Pretoria Via Aurelia Via Bracara Asturicam Via Caecilia Via Campana Via Cassia Via Claudia Augusta Via Claudia Nova Via Clodia Via Confluentana Via Corsica Via Decia Via Delapidata Via Devana Strata Diocletiana Via Domitia Via Domiziana Via Egnatia Via Fenollentis Via Flaminia Via Flavia Via Gallica Via Gemina Via Hadriana Via Heraclea Via Julia Augusta Via Labicana Via Latina Via Laurentina Via Lusitanorum Via Mala Via Maris Via Militaris Via Nomentana Via Ostiensis Via Pontica Via Popilia Via Portuensis Via Praenestina Via Postumia Via Salaria Via Severiana Via Sublacensis Via Traiana Via Traiana
Via Traiana
Nova Via Valeria Via Vallespiri Via Vitellia

v t e

Venues of the 1960 Summer Olympics

Acqua Santa Golf Club Course Arch of Constantine Basilica of Maxentius Baths of Caracalla Campo Tre Fontane Cesano Infantry School Range Florence
Communal Stadium Grosseto Communal Stadium Gulf of Naples L'Aquila Communal Stadium Lake Albano Lazio Pigeon Shooting Stand Livorno Ardenza Stadium Naples
Saint Paul's Stadium Olympic Velodrome Palazzo dei Congressi Palazzo dello Sport Palazzetto dello sport Passo Corese Pescara Adriatic Stadium Piazza di Siena Piscina delle Rose Pratoni del Vivaro Raccordo Anulare Stadio dei Marmi Stadio Flaminio Stadio Olimpico Stadio Olimpico
Stadio Olimpico
del Nuoto Umberto I Shooting Range Via Appia Antica Via Cassia Via Flaminia Via Cristoforo Colombo Via di Grottarossa

v t e

Olympic venues in athletics

1896: Marathon (city), Panathenaic Stadium 1900: Croix-Catelan Stadium 1904: Francis Field 1908: White City Stadium 1912: Stockholm Olympic Stadium 1920: Olympisch Stadion 1924: Stade de Colombes 1928: Olympic Stadium 1932: Olympic Stadium, Riverside Drive at Griffith Park 1936: Avus Motor Road, Olympic Stadium 1948: Empire Stadium 1952: Olympic Stadium 1956: Melbourne Cricket Ground 1960: Arch of Constantine, Raccordo Anulare, Stadio Olimpico, Via Appia Antica, Via Cristoforo Colombo 1964: Fuchu City, Karasuyama-machi, National Stadium, Sasazuka-machi, Shinjuku 1968: Estadio Olímpico Universitario, Zócalo 1972: Olympiastadion 1976: Montreal
Botanical Garden, Olympic Stadium, Streets of Montreal 1980: Grand Arena, Streets of Moscow 1984: Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Memorial Coliseum, Santa Monica College, Streets of Los Angeles, Streets of Santa Monica 1988: Seoul
Olympic Stadium, Streets of Seoul 1992: Estadi Olímpic de Monjuïc, Marathon course, Mataró, Walking course 1996: Marathon course, Olympic Stadium, Walking course 2000: Marathon course, North Sydney, Olympic Stadium 2004: Marathon (city), Olympic Stadium, Panathenaic Stadium, Stadium at Olympia 2008: Beijing
National Stadium, Olympic Green
Olympic Green
Promenade Walking course, Streets of Beijing
Marathon course 2012: Marathon Course, Olympic Stadium 2016: Estádio Olímpico João Havelange, Pontal, Sambódromo 2020: New National Stadium 2024: Stade de France, Champs-Élysées 2028: Los Angeles
Los Angeles
Memorial Coliseum, Banc of California S