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p559 Via Appia

Article on pp559‑560 of

Samuel Ball Platner (as completed and revised by Thomas Ashby):
A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome,
London: Oxford University Press, 1929.

Platner's Topographical Dictionary treats only the actual city of Rome. This entry therefore covers only the part of the Via Appia within the city. For the road beyond Rome toward Brindisi, see my Via Appia homepage.


Via Appia: the road built in 312 B.C.º by the censor Appius Claudius Caecus to Capua, prolonged to Venusia in 291 and then to Tarentum (281) and Brundusium (264) (Liv. IX.29). It was among the most famous of Roman roads (Strabo V.3.9, p237; Stat. Silv. IV.3.1‑3, 40‑55; II.2.12: longarum regina viarum; Not. app.1; Eins. 11.1.8; 13.20).a Its independent existence began opposite the Septizonium, where the roads from the Colosseum and the circus Maximus and the vicus Piscinae Publicae all join; but we know nothing of the name of the short intramural portion. It issued from the Porta Capena of the Servian wall, and through the wall of Aurelian by the Porta Appia, curving slightly and ascending through a cutting (Clivus Martis) before it reached the latter. This part of its course ran a little further north-east than the modern Via di Porta S. Sebastiano. It was flanked with tombs and columbaria both within and without the walls.

The first milestone was situated just inside the porta Appia (LS III.11; CIL X.6812‑3; HF I. p409). The original road was only gravelled (glareo strata); in 296 B.C. a footpath was laid saxo quadrato from the gate to the templum Martis (Liv. X.23.12); three years later the whole road was paved with silex from the temple to Bovillae (ib. 47.4), p560and in 189 B.C. the first mile, from the gate to the temple, was similarly treated (Liv. XXXVIII.28.3). Its further course cannot be dealt with here.2

The earliest milestone we have belongs to about 250 B.C. (CIL I221), and others belong to Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian and Theodoric (CIL IX.6075; x.6812‑6880; cf. p991; NS 1910, 292).

For the road as a whole, see Canina, Via Appia, Rome 1853; T I.35‑71, 588‑597; ix.3‑407; RE II.238‑242; Mél. 1903, 375‑418; HJ 200, 209‑213.

For its curatores (who owe their institution to Claudius, with the other curatores of particular roads, see Senec. Apoc. 1: Appiae viae curator est qua scis et Tiberium Caesarem et Augustum ad deos isse), see CIL II.1929; CIG 4029; V.865, 4341; VI.3832=31719; IX.1129; XIV.2505, to whose staff the tabularii viae Appiae (CIL VI.8466), belonged. For a manceps viae Appiae, cf. ib. 8468.


The Authors' Notes:

1 William of Malmesbury, who gives a list of fourteen of the gates, adds the name of the road in each case. It has not been thought necessary to cite these separately.

2 The description of the method of its construction in Procop. BG I.14 is interesting; cf. Stat. Silv. IV.3.40‑55.


Thayer's Note:

a Also Diodorus, XX.36. 
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