Appian Way

Appian Way
/ap"ee euhn/
an ancient Roman highway extending from Rome to Brundisium (now Brindisi): begun 312 B.C. by Appius Claudius Caecus. ab. 350 mi. (565 km) long.

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Latin Via Appia.

First and most famous of the ancient Roman roads, running from Rome to Campania and southern Italy.

Begun in 312 BC by the censor Appius Claudius Caecus, the road originally ran 132 mi (212 km) to ancient Capua; by 244 BC it extended 230 mi (370 km) to the port of Brundisium (Brindisi) in Italy's heel. Built of smoothly fitted blocks of lava on a heavy stone foundation, the road provided a long-lasting surface for transporting merchandise to these seaports (and thence by ship to Greece and the eastern Mediterranean). Remains can be seen today outside Rome.

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▪ ancient road, Italy
Latin  Via Appia, 
 the first and most famous of the ancient Roman roads, running from Rome to Campania and southern Italy. (See Roman road system.) The Appian Way was begun in 312 BC by the censor Appius Claudius Caecus. At first it ran only 132 miles (212 km) from Rome south-southeastward to ancient Capua, in Campania, but by about 244 BC it had been extended another 230 miles (370 km) southeastward to reach the port of Brundisium (Brindisi), situated in the “heel” of Italy and lying along the Adriatic Sea.

      From Rome southward the Appian Way's course was almost straight until it reached Tarracina (Terracina) on the Tyrrhenian Sea. The road then turned inland to the southeast to reach Capua. From Capua it ran east to Beneventium (Benevento) and then southeastward again to reach the port of Tarentum (Taranto). It then ran east for a short distance to terminate at Brundisium.

      The Appian Way was celebrated by Horace and Statius, who called it longarum regina viarum, or “queen of long-distance roads.” As the main highway to the seaports of southeastern Italy, and thus to Greece and the eastern Mediterranean, the Appian Way was so important that during the empire it was administered by a curator of praetorian rank. The road averaged 20 feet (6 m) in width and was slightly convex in surface in order to facilitate good drainage. The road's foundation was of heavy stone blocks cemented together with line mortar; over these were laid polygonal blocks of lava that were smoothly and expertly fitted together. The lava blocks formed a good traveling surface, and one that proved to have extraordinary durability over the centuries. The first few miles of the Appian Way outside Rome are flanked by a striking series of monuments, and there are also milestones and other inscriptions along the remains of the road.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Appian Way — road between Rome and Capua, so called because it was begun (302 B.C.E.) by the consul Appius Claudius Caecus …   Etymology dictionary

  • Appian Way — [ap′ē ən] [after the Roman censor Appius Claudius Caecus, by whom it was begun in 312 B.C.] ancient Roman paved highway from Rome to Capua to Brundisium (Brindisi): c. 350 mi (563 km) …   English World dictionary

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  • Appian Way — Ap′pi•an Way′ [[t]ˈæp i ən[/t]] n. anh geg an ancient Roman highway extending from Rome to Brundisium (now Brindisi): begun 312 b.c. by Appius Claudius Caecus. ab. 350 mi. (565 km) long …   From formal English to slang

  • Appian Way — /ˈæpiən weɪ/ (say apeeuhn way) noun an ancient Roman road extending from Rome to the seaport of Brundisium in south eastern Italy (now Brindisi); begun 312 BC. About 560 km …  

  • Appian Way — geographical name ancient paved highway extending from Rome to the Adriatic …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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