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Appian was born in Alexandria ( Egypt) in about AD 95. After working as a government official in Alexandria, he was transferred to Rome where he held an important post in the imperial treasury. His major work is the History of the Roman Conquests. Of the original twenty-four volumes only nine survived. Appian died in about AD 165.

Scipio looked over the city which had flourished for over seven hundred years since its formation, which had ruled over such extensive territories, islands, and seas, and been as rich in arms, fleets, elephants, and money as the greatest empires... It had withstood a great siege and famine for three years, and was now coming to an end in total destruction; and he is said to have wept and openly mourned the fate of his enemy. After reflecting a long time on the fact that not only individuals but cities, nations, and empires must all come to an end he said... "This is a glorious moment... and yet I am seized with fear and foreboding that some day the same fate will befall my own country."

Antony was amazed at Cleopatra's wit as well as hwe good looks, and became her captive as though he was a young man.

Laena (under instructions from Antony) cut off Cicero's head... He also cut off the hand with which Cicero had written his attacks on Antony... The head and hand of Cicero were suspended for a long time from the rostra in the forum where formerly he had made speeches.

Appian of Alexandria

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Appian of Alexandria, (flourished 2nd century ad ), Greek historian of the conquests by Rome from the republican period into the 2nd century ad .

Appian held public office in Alexandria, where he witnessed the Jewish insurrection in ad 116. After gaining Roman citizenship he went to Rome, practiced as a lawyer, and became a procurator (financial agent of the government) under the emperor Antoninus Pius (138–161) through the good offices of his friend Marcus Cornelius Fronto.

In addition to a lost autobiography, Appian wrote in Greek the Romaica, or history of Rome, in 24 books, arranged ethnographically according to the peoples (and their rulers) conquered by the Romans. The books that survive (the preface, Books VI–VII, most of VIII and IX, most of XI, and XII–XVII) deal with Spain, Carthage, Illyria, Syria, Hannibal, Mithradates VI, and the Roman civil wars. Books I–V and parts of VIII, IX, and XI are fragmentary X and XVIII–XXIV have been lost. Extracts from other books survive in Byzantine compilations and elsewhere.

Appian wrote in a Greek that was no longer Classical. Not himself an able historian, he nevertheless preserved much information of value by his transmission of earlier sources. His work on the civil wars, dealing with the period from Tiberius Gracchus (tribune 133 bc ) to Lucius Sulla (died 78 bc ), is a major historical source. Scholars have noted, however, that Appian used his sources rather creatively to support his views of the importance of Alexandria and the virtues of the Romans. As a conservative supporter of the imperial system, he was often critical of and unsympathetic toward republican institutions and popular movements.

Appian Way

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Appian Way, Latin Via Appia, the first and most famous of the ancient Roman roads, running from Rome to Campania and southern Italy. The Appian Way was begun in 312 bce 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 bce 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 metres) 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 lime 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.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Amy Tikkanen, Corrections Manager.

Appian - History

28-33 Fast forward about 20 years to near the end of the first century BCE. Appian does not ignore the war against Jugurtha, or the battles that Marius and others will then fight against Germanic invaders (Cimbri and Teutones) to defend Italy, but narrates those conflicts in other parts of his work. In those other parts (not included in the translation of the civil wars) are only foreign wars, e.g., against Carthaginians, Syrians, or others. In sections 28-33 Marius is back at Rome and politically allied with Saturninus and Glaucia, who apparently use excessive force to gain their political ends. One of the benefits for Marius is the exile of Metellus (Metellus Numidicus), his old commander in Africa. Glaucia and Saturninus were also hostile to Metellus because when he was censor he had tried to have them kicked out of the senate. In section 28 we read of the murder of Nonius, a candidate for tribune of the people evidently Nonius was too likely to support the senators' point of view and this seemed reason enough to eliminate him. More shocking, however, is the murder of Gaius Memmius, who had been tribune of the people in 111 and figured prominently in Sallust's history of the war against Jugurtha, not as a combatant but as a political figure in Rome who did his best to expose the corruption of many senatorial leaders. In the riots and confusion following this murder, Marius is forced, as consul, to arrest his allies Saturninus and Glaucia, who are then killed by a crowd of furious Roman citizens. Metellus Numidicus returns from exile you will meet here also his son, called Metellus Pius, who will become a prominent politician at Rome and a supporter of Sulla.

34-54 The account of the Social War, the name we give to the rebellion of the Italian allies against the Romans. What sets them off, after so many previous disappointments, is the murder of Marcus Livius Drusus, who as tribune of the people in 91 BCE had tried to get citizenship for the Italians. The individual battles in this section are not important, merely the fact that there were battles and sieges, and how widespread they were. Behavior of individuals can be intriguing too, e.g., what Vidacilius does in section 48. Romans who gained or regained prominence as a result of his war are: Marius, Sulla, Metellus Pius, Pompeius Strabo (father of Pompey the Great). Most prominent of the Italian rebels are the Samnites and Marsi (some authors call this the Marsic War). The Romans finally bring things to a sort of end by giving the Italians citizenship, but a citizenship with a somewhat lesser voting right (see section 49 and editor's notes). It is this restricted citizenship for Italians that will drive some of the next round of civil disturbances at Rome.

55-64 Marius and Sulla at odds over who will lead the Roman army against Mithradates of Pontus. The senate had voted the command to Sulla but Marius allied himself with one of the tribunes of the people, Publius Sulpicius, who was anxious to get fair citizenship status for the Italians. Marius promised his support for this if Sulpicius would get him the army command. There was much civic unrest in Rome and stories of exactly what happened vary (Plutarch's versions are different from Appian's). Everyone agrees that Sulla settled the matter by marching his army on Rome, driving out his political enemies (Marius escaped to Africa but Sulpicius, still a tribune in office, was killed), arranging the internal machinery of the Roman state in a way that he thought better, and then leaving for the east and the war against Mithradates. (See next paragraph for more details on persons involved.)

63-64 There are two commanders called Pompeius. One is Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo (father of Pompey the Great), who had been consul in 89 and still held command of the part of the Roman army that was supposed to stay in Italy to take care of the remnants of the Social War. Sulla sent Quintus Pompeius Rufus, the other consul of 88, to take over command from Pompeius Strabo the latter's soldiers kill Pompeius Rufus and Pompeius Strabo retains command of them, although he does not live long after this but dies of a disease or a lightning strike (no historical consensus).

64-75 More problems in Rome and Italy. Lucius Cornelius Cinna, one of the consuls for 87, quarreled with his colleague Gnaeus Octavius over the status of the new Italian citizens. In brief (if that is possible), Octavius drove Cinna out of Rome, had him declared an enemy, and Lucius Cornelius Merula was made consul in his place. Cinna, aided by a number of people, the most prominent of whom were Marius (now returned from Africa) and Quintus Sertorius (an enemy of Sulla and interesting person in his own right there is a biography of him by Plutarch), collected an army and marched on Rome. Metellus Pius did not relieve Rome from the threat of Cinna and his allies, and retreated to North Africa. Cinna and his allies regained control and killed many of their enemies, including Octavius the consul, and prosecuted others, including Merula who had been made consul instead of Cinna. So with murders, suicides, and unfair trials, Rome was a scene of misery and bloodshed. The list of prominent victims begins in chapter 72. Trials begin in chapter 74, and include the trial of Quintus Lutatius Catulus, who had been Marius' colleague in the consulship of 102 (when they defeated the Germans). Marius was elected to his seventh consulship, for 86, but died very early in the year.

76-83 Appian does not write a history of events in Italy from 86-84, but takes up the tale with Sulla's return after his arrangement with Mithradates. Cinna is killed by mutinous soldiers early in 84, leaving his consular colleague Gnaeus Papirius Carbo in charge. Many Romans decide to support Sulla against Carbo and his political allies (often called the Marians, because Marius' young son Gaius Marius joins the story). Sulla's supporters include Metellus Pius, Lucius Licinius Lucullus (who had been with him in the war against Mithradates), Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great), Marcus Licinius Crassus. Sulla's opponents include Sertorius, who eventually takes over the Roman parts of Spain and causes trouble for years to come (there is a biography of him by Plutarch), Carbo, Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus (or Asiagenus, the name appears both ways), Gaius Norbanus, Lucius Junius Brutus Damasippus, Marcus Perperna, and the younger Marius.

84-96 From the winter of 84/83 to the battle of the Colline Gate, 1 November 82, there are a number of battles which are described in these chapters. Most of Sulla's enemies end up dead, whether killed in battle or hunted down afterwards (e.g., by Pompey, on Sulla's orders), although a couple of them go into exile (e.g., Scipio, perhaps) or escape (e.g., Perperna, who gets to Spain). Sulla also uses his army to kill a large number of Italians who seemed intransigent to him, especially the Samnites. In section 95 Sulla posts proscription lists, a first for Rome.

97-104 Sulla's dictatorship. Although Appian says at the beginning of chapter 97 that Sulla sent Metellus Pius to Spain to fight Sertorius, Metellus Pius stays in Rome and is Sulla's colleague in the consulship for the year 80 (see section 103), and goes to Spain afterwards. Appian describes Sulla's dictatorship, including reforms of administration, but overall regards Sulla as a tyrant or king, at least until he resigns all public office in 79 BCE.

105-107 Another conflict arises because the consuls of 78, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus and Quintus Lutatius Catulus, are enemies not only that, but Lepidus stirs up trouble in Etruria, but not until after the death and funeral of Sulla. There is a brief conflict in the years 78-77, during which Lepidus marches on Rome and is defeated by Catulus at the Milvian Bridge outside of the city Lepidus escapes to Sardinia and dies there.

108-115 Appian finishes the narrative of civil strife relating to Sulla by turning his attention to Spain, held by Sertorius, now reinforced by Perperna and the men with him. Metellus had already been in Spain for some time without success now (77 BCE) he is joined by Pompey, who had been a commander in the conflict with Lepidus and who had refused to lay down his command and suggested strongly that the senate should send him to Spain, so the senate did (Appian does not tell these details about how Pompey obtained the command). Four or five years pass with Sertorius holding out against Metellus and Pompey and finally in 72 BCE Perperna and some associates murder Sertorius (chapter 113). Pompey soon ends the conflict and disposes of Perperna.

116-121 The slave rebellion led by Spartacus, which Crassus finally puts an end to. Pompey arrives in time to round up a few remnants of Spartacus' army and claims to have finished the war Crassus is not happy to hear this. Nevertheless, Crassus and Pompey agree to reconcile and they are elected consuls for the year 70. Appian's account of the Spartacus rebellion is one of the few that we possess there is also a very detailed narrative in Plutarch's life of Crassus, chapters 8-11.

Book 2

2-7 The conspiracy of Catilina, also told by Sallust in more detail introduction of Cicero and Cato, among other characters. Possible involvement of Caesar in the conspiracy, although he emerges unharmed.

8 Caesar goes to Spain as praetor, but has debt problems to deal with first.

9-14 Original formation of the political alliance between Pompey, who was having political problems at home, Caesar, and Crassus (the so-called first triumvirate, which Varro called the three-headed monster [henceforth THM]). Caesar's daughter Julia marries Pompey. The most active opponents are Bibulus, Caesar's colleague as consul, and Cato. Clodius involves himself in a scandal and during his trial Cicero earns his enmity and brings danger on himself because of Clodius and because he does not support the THM.

15-25 These chapters cover nearly 10 years, during which Caesar has an extended command in Gaul and conquers large parts of western Europe, Cicero is exiled and then recalled, Pompey and Crassus are consuls together again in 55 BCE, Crassus gets a military command against Parthia and dies during his expedition, Julia dies, Milo kills his enemy Clodius and goes into exile, Pompey is called in to restore order and he and Caesar become estranged. It is clear that although political strife at Rome is worse because of the THM (note what happens to Ahenobarbus when he tries to be elected one of the consuls for 55), things become even worse after Crassus departs.

26-33 Political maneuvering of both sides, with various people in Rome trying to reduce or destroy Caesar's influence and Pompey not objecting.

34-43 Caesar's march down Italy and entrance into Rome, departure of Pompey and his supporters for Greece, Caesar goes to Spain: essentially the same narrative as in Caesar BC book 1. It is not impossible that the oddly lengthy excursus over Epidamnus and Dyrrachium in chapter 39 owes something to Thucydides readers may remember that it was a quarrel over Epidamnus, a colony with ties to both Corcyra and Corinth, that was the beginning of the evils for the Peloponnesian war.

44-45 Curio's struggle and death in North Africa see Caesar BC book 2. Pollio (C. Asinius Pollio) is worth noting he does not appear in Caesar's account.

46-58 Caesar and his forces manage finally to cross the Adriatic where they will be closer to Pompey's army.

59-62 Pompey is established at Dyrrachium he and Caesar set up opposing forts and Caesar tries to build a wall to hem in his opponent, who has control of the sea. Caesar's army has little food. After a defeat (also narrated in Caesar BC 3.69), Caesar takes his army away.

63-64 Caesar's army recovers from misbehavior they go to Thessaly and sack the city of Gomphi in western Thessaly for failing to admit them.

65 Pompey's council: Afranius' excellent advice, not mentioned by Caesar, is ignored, and Pompey and his army follow Caesar to Thessaly.

66-69 Before Pharsalus. Appian's account of Pompey's ideas and the difficulties he had dealing with a bunch of senators can be reconciled with Caesar's narrative, although details are not the same. There is much information about divine direction of events, and this will continue.

70-71 The catalogue of forces on both sides, often placed by Greek historians right before the actual fighting.

72-74 Speeches before battle, usual for great battles.

75-82 Maneuvers before battle and names of the prominent commanders on each side: under Pompey are Metellus Scipio, Domitius Ahenobarbus, and Lentulus Crus under Caesar are Publius Sulla (the dictator's nephew), M. Antonius, and Domitius Calvinus. (For more identification of these people, see Notes to Caesar.) Account of the battle in some detail. Appian notes the special command Caesar gives his infantry for a tactic to use against Pompey's cavalry. In section 82 Appian cites Pollio's testimony.

83-86 Pompey flees, not to where he has military forces already, but on the advice of his friends goes to Egypt, where he is murdered. Appian's epitaph is worthy of Tacitus and perhaps owes something to that historian.

87-90 Caesar settles with various Greek states (note what he says to the Athenians), goes to Alexandria, punishes Pompey's killers, and after many battles and nearly a year, proceeds to Asia Minor to attack Pharnaces. As he is crossing to Asia, Cassius (who was on Pompey's side) surrenders his fleet for no logical reason.

91 Brief account of a brief battle, the one for which Caesar announced Veni Vidi Vici

92-94 Touring Asia Minor, hears of major problems in Rome, caused by some of his own soldiers, and the escape of Sallust from harm. How he handles this mutiny (note especially the Tenth Legion, his favorite).

95-100 Caesar goes to Africa, wins the battle of Thapsus Cato suicides. The narrative is similar to that in the African War but brief.

101-102 Caesar celebrates a huge triumph at Rome note some of the images described.

103-105 In Spain, the final battle of Caesar's civil war, Munda. It is hard to know what to make of the advice that once again Caesar's soldiers were afraid to fight and that Caesar had to go out alone as a target. The heads of Labienus, Cn. Pompeius (the younger), and others.

106-154 Events leading to Caesar's assassination, first announced in section 111, which is followed by more background until Appian described the event in detail in section 117. The remainder of the book tells of the political maneuvers and public declarations of the conspirators, especially Brutus, and counter measures and speeches of M. Antonius. Conspirators who figure most prominently in books 2 and 3 are M. Iunius Brutus (Brutus), C. Cassius Longinus (Cassius), D. Iunius Brutus Albinus (Decimus in Appian, called Decimus Brutus by most modern historians to distinguish him from Marcus Brutus), and C. Trebonius (Trebonius). Appian names various other conspirators in section 113. Those who immediately or eventually oppose them, and who will figure in the action of books 2 and 3, include P. Cornelius Dolabella (Dolabella), M. Aemilius Lepidus (Lepidus, son of the consul of 78 who had the same name), C. Asinius Pollio (Pollio, who later wrote a history of the civil war taking the year 60 BCE as his starting point, and who is probably one of Appian's sources), and L. Munatius Plancus (Plancus).

Book 3

Themes to notice, in addition to the speeches:
The rivalry between people ostensibly on the same side, especially Antonius and Octavian
The powerful influence of the Roman soldiers and the clear necessity of continuing to bribe them to follow one leader or another (Appian often refers to Octavian's troops as mercenaries)
The helpless of the Roman senate to direct affairs except when backed by sufficient military force

1-8 Events after Caesar's funeral, including Antonius' attempts to keep all sides happy by killing a man called Amatius (aka Pseudo-Marius) and recalling Sex. Pompeius, Pompey's remaining son, and giving him control of the Roman fleet, upholding Caesar's acta, more of which he probably forged than Appian tells us about, getting himself a bodyguard, allowing Brutus and Cassius to leave Rome although they are praetors in this year, and giving Dolabella the province of Syria.

9-23 Enter the spoiler, whom Appian calls Caesar and the translator calls Octavian. The young man in question, Caesar's great-nephew, accepted his adoption by will as Caesar's namesake and heir and ought then to have been called, according to normal Roman nomenclature, C. Iulius Caesar Octavianus. He actually called himself C. Iulius Caesar divi filius (the last two words mean "son of a god"). Unhappy with his treatment by Antonius, Octavian accuses him of being insufficiently loyal and pious to the dictator's memory, and the two enter into a great rivalry.

24-26 Brutus and Cassius decide to take overseas provinces although their terms as praetor have not expired Antonius uses a rumor about invasion of Macedonia to secure more military support Dolabella takes Syria from Trebonius and has him killed.

27-39 Much more on the efforts of Octavian and Antonius to undermine the other's popularity with people and army, including the story that Octavian tried to have Antonius assassinated (section 39). It is worth noting, here as elsewhere, that Appian does not merely relate the narrative he has found in his sources, but passes judgment on the trustworthiness of many stories, e.g., in section 39 when he says that intelligent people realized that Octavian needed Antonius alive and thus it was silly to believe that he was plotting to kill him, and that skeptics (i.e., sensible people) did not believe either Antonius or Octavian.

40-48 While Antonius goes to the army at Brundisium, Octavian raises his own forces in Campania from Caesar's veterans. Much money given or promised to soldiers, both sides have problems with mutinies or desertion.

49-66 Antonius at the head of several legions opposed Decimus Brutus in Cisalpine Gaul D. Brutus and his troops take control of the city of Mutina where Antonius besieges them. Back at Rome, there is much agitation in the senate, with Cicero leading the anti-Antonius argument. He is opposed by Piso (L. Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, who had been Caesar's father-in-law). Piso gets a much longer speech than Cicero. Finally, however, the senate declares Antonius a public enemy and Octavian appears to support the senate, agreeing to work with Hirtius and Pansa, the consuls of 43.

66-76 The battle(s) at Mutina. Note especially the hostility of one group of soldiers to another in section 67. Pansa is fatally wounded and Hirtius is killed, although Antonius is defeated and retreats.

77-79 The activities of Brutus and Cassius in the east.

80-98 Events in Italy and how, after the death of Pansa, Octavian has a falling out with the senate and decides to work with Antonius to punish his father's assassins, and how Lepidus, Pollio, and Plancus all end up on Antonius' side. D. Brutus is deserted by his troops, captured, and killed.

Book 4

1-7 Preliminaries: bargaining among Lepidus, Antonius, and Octavian over who would get what (note eighteen Italian towns promised to the soldiers), decision to proscribe their enemies in Italy while pursuing those outside (e.g., Brutus and Cassius) omens making up the lists panic in Rome, and how additions to the lists came about.

8-11 Text of the triumvirs' decree, including the statement that they are not Sulla.

12 Lepidus proscribes his brother Paullus Antonius proscribes his uncle L. Caesar relatives of Plancus (his brother Plotius) and Asinius Pollio (his father-in-law Quinctius) are also proscribed.

13-16 The general processing of the proscriptions, general remarks of the historian (see esp. section 15 and compare the opening of Tacitus' Histories), what sensible people thought about this (section 14), and an odd comment about Augustus and why these particular proscriptions are so notable (section 16).

At this point, Virgil comes to mind:
Augustus Caesar, divi genus, aurea condet
saecula, . . .
[Augustus Caesar, offspring of a god, will establish
a golden age, . . .]

17-30 Specific people proscribed and how they died, including the first victims, Salvius (see 3.50-53), two praetors, Minucius and Annalis (the latter had a rotten son), Turanius who also had a rotten son, Cicero, his brother and nephew (sections 19-20), and a series of deaths that Appian uses as exempla to illustrate behavior of sons, wives, and others.

31-35 Lepidus' triumph, the announcement that women would have to pay a tax to fund the war effort, protest by the women, exacerbated by the obnoxious behavior of Fulvia, and a speech by their spokesperson, Hortensia (of course!), followed by a change to the persons assessed and a section devoted to the unacceptable behavior of many of the soldiers, behavior that the triumvirs were either unwilling or powerless to stop.

36-51 Tales of those who escaped, how, and to whom, with special mention of Sex. Pompeius. The most prominent are Messalla Corvinus, Bibulus fils, Varro, and Cicero fils.

52 Introduction of new topics: actual warfare in various theatres

53-56 Conflict in Africa, which Sextius regains for the triumvirs death of Cornificius, who had defied them.

57-62 Cassius vs Dolabella in Asia end of Dolabella.

63-65 Cassius has invasion of Egypt in mind Brutus wants to fortify Macedonia they decide to secure the sea first.

66-74 Conflict at sea against Rhodes, complete with speeches by Cassius and his former teacher Cassius takes Rhodes and exacts large sums of money.

75-82 Brutus' operations in Asia Minor, similarly successful. L. Staius Murcus moves his ships from Greece, where he had been planning to prevent Cleopatra from helping Antonius and Octavian, to Brundisium, so that he can try to block troops and supplies from crossing the Adriatic.

83-86 Sex. Pompeius, including background from the battle of Munda he will keep control of Sicily, and a fleet, for a long time.

87-88 Both sides aim for Macedonia Cassius and Brutus have crossed from Asia Minor to Europe.

89-100 In chapter 89, Appian shows Cassius' worries about his troops, many of whom fought for Caesar. In chapters 90-100, a good long speech, Cassius tells his side to the soldiers, who support him. In the first half of the speech Cassius explains why Caesar had to be removed, then promises more money for the soldiers from the senate. In the second half, Cassius describes the unlawful activities of the triumvirs and the advantages of the army he and Brutus have in Macedonia: not only supplies but money, and he reiterates the message: we have paid, we will pay, we are paying now.

101 Note both the donative (a regular feature of the empire) and the live eagles that accompany the army's eagles right up until the battle, when they depart oddly, Appian does not say anything here about the ominous effect of the eagles' departure.

102-104 Difficulties for Brutus' men to reach Philippi, although they finally arrive.

105 Brief history of Philippi and description of its situation.

106-114 Fortification of camps and the first battle joined, during which each side wins on one wing but loses on the other. Octavian, warned by a dream (and still ailing), keeps clear of the camp (and the battle). Death of Cassius, probably by suicide Brutus calls him the last of the Romans.

115-116 A sea battle in the Adriatic during which Murcus and Ahenobarbus (they are not on the side of the triumvirs) interfere with the crossing of two legions to Greece from Italy.

117-118 Brutus' speech to his soldiers. He gives more money.

119-120 Antonius' speech to his soldiers. He promises more money.

121-124 Brutus waits in his camp, realizing the opponents will run out of supplies, but his officers interfere with his plans to avoid a fight if possible, just as Pompey's advisors had urged him to fight at Pharsalus six years before. Appian has Brutus say exactly this, in case the readers miss it.

125-138 The second battle at Philippi, death of Brutus, and Appian's final words.


Greek historian. Born in Alexandria at the end of the 1st cent. ad, he experienced the Jewish rising of ad 116/17, became a Roman citizen, moved to Rome as an advocate and eventually gained, through the influence of his friend Cornelius Fronto, the rank of a procurator under Antoninus Pius, which enabled him to devote his time to writing a Roman History. After the preface and bk. 1 on Rome in the period of the kings, the work is arranged ethnographically, dealing with the individual peoples as Rome conquered them: bk. 2, Italians 3, Samnites 4, Celts 5, Sicilians 6, Iberians 7, Hannibal 8, Carthaginians (Libyans and Nomads) 9, Macedonians and Illyrians 10, Greeks and Ionians 11, Syrians (Seleucids) and Parthians and 12, Mithradates VI. 13–17 treat the Civil Wars 18–21, the wars in Egypt 22, the century up to Trajan 23, Trajan's campaigns against Dacians, Jews, and Pontic peoples and 24, Arabians. A survey of Rome's military and financial system was apparently not yet written when Appian died in the 160s. The preface, bks. 6–9, and 11–17 survive complete, apart from 8b on the Nomads and 9a on the Macedonians (of which only fragments exist) as well as 11b on the Parthians (11b was perhaps unfinished at Appian's death) 1–5 are fragmentary, 10 and 18–24 lost.

In order to accommodate a millennium of Roman history in a single work, Appian greatly, but not always successfully, reduced the material he chose from a variety of Greek and Latin authors, among them Hieronymus of Cardia, Polybius, and Roman annalists like Asinius Pollio, Caesar, and Augustus. Since some of his valuable sources, esp. on the Civil Wars, are otherwise lost, his work gains historical importance for us, even though it does not simply reproduce these sources. Recent research has stressed Appian's own conscious contribution not only in choosing, reducing, and arranging the material, but also in the independent composition of speeches, in the introduction of episodes from the rhetorical repertoire, and in detailed interference with the sources in view of his avowed aims: a proud citizen of Alexandria, Appian makes events in Egypt the climax of his work a convinced monarchist, he explains, not always correctly, Roman republican institutions to his Greek audience a stout conservative, he regards a lack of popular concord, as witnessed in the Civil Wars, as cataclysmic unusually interested in administration and finance, he preserves more social and economic information than most historiographers above all, an ardent admirer of Rome, Appian explains her success through reference to the Romans' good counsel, endurance, patience, moderation, and, esp., overall virtue.

Facts, Images & History of the Appian Way

The Appian Way (Via Appia) is an ancient and strategically important Roman road. It connected Rome to Brindisium (Brindisi), in the southeast of Italy, and it was built between the late 4th and 3rd centuries BC. C.

It is considered one of the greatest works of civil engineering of the ancient world for the economic, military, and cultural impact it had on Roman society.

Large sections of the road are still open today.

History of the Via Appia

The works for the construction began in 312 BC at the direction of the censor Appius Claudius Caecus, an important exponent of the gens Claudia, who restructured and expanded a pre-existing road that connected Rome to the Alban Hills, extending it to Capua, for some years placed under Roman control.

Around the half of the III sec. BC the route was extended until Maleventum (then renamed Beneventum, Benevento). The construction work continued during the second half of the third century BC, when it was reached Tarentum (Taranto), and then until about 190 BC when it was completed the route to the port of Brundisium (Brindisi).

The primary function of the route was to ensure a rapid movement of troops to southern Italy, in order to consolidate the rule of Rome on that part of the peninsula. Since the beginning the Appian Way became a key way of trade, facilitating commerce with Magna Graecia.

The route determined a great opening of the wealthy classes of Roman society towards the Greek culture: in the decades following the construction of the road the Greek culture gradually spread to Rome.

In 71 BC about 6 000 rebellious slaves led by Spartacus, captured in battle, were crucified along the road from Rome to Capua, as a warning to the slaves on the Italian territory. The road was restored and widened during the rule of the emperors Augustus, Vespasian, Trajan, and Hadrian. Emperor Trajan between 108 and 110 built a branch called via Appia Traiana, connecting Benevento to Brindisi with a new route close to the coast.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire (476) the lack of maintenance works caused the gradual abandonment of segments of the route. In 535, the Byzantine historian Procopius described it as still in good condition. Although not fully open, in the Middle Ages the Appian Way and the Via Traiana were used by the Crusaders: in 1228, Frederick II sailed from the port of Brindisi to reach the Holy Land.

Construction techniques

The paving stones (glareatum) helped circulation in all weather conditions, favoring the drainage of water through the lower layers in which the stones were installed. Starting from 258 BC (intervention of the brothers Ogulni) the road was equipped with large smooth stones of volcanic stone (basoli), and filling any remaining spaces with small wedges of stone.

The paving rested on several layers of rubble and earth, according to a system that ensured optimal drainage of rainwater. The road had a straight path and was 4.1 meters wide (14 Roman feet), flanked by two sidewalks for the pedestrian path. Milestones appeared on the Via Appia for the first time.

Monuments and places of interest along the Appian Way

From Porta Capena to Porta San Sebastiano (I mile)

Porta San Sebastiano

Porta San Sebastiano is the largest and one of the best-preserved gates in the defensive walls of the Aurelian Walls of Rome.

The original structure was constructed by Aurelian ca. AD 275. Later the towers were enlarged and linked, through two parallel walls, to the preexisting Arch of Drusus.

Baths of Caracalla

The Baths of Caracalla (Thermae Antoninianae, from the full name of the emperor Caracalla, belonging to the Severan dynasty) are one of the most important examples of imperial baths in Rome. The baths were likely built between AD 212 (or 211) and 216/217.

Saints Nereus and Achilleus

Saints Nereus and Achilleus is a basilica in Rome, built in the 4th century.

San Cesareo de Appia

The church of San Cesareo de Appia, also erroneously called San Cesareo in Palatio, is a Catholic place of worship in Rome, in the Celio district, near the Porta San Sebastiano, built in the 8th century on the remains of pre-existing Roman structures.

Tomb of the Scipios

The tomb of the Scipios (sepulcrum Scipionum) is a funerary monument of the patrician Scipio family during the Roman Republic, not far from the Porta San Sebastiano. The tomb was built at the beginning of the 3rd century BC, after the opening of the Appian Way in 312 BC, probably by Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus, consul in 298 BC.

From Porta San Sebastiano to Bovillae (II-IX mile)

Tomb of Priscilla

The tomb of Priscilla is a monumental tomb erected in the first century in Rome on the Appian Way, located in front of the church of Domine quo Vadis.

Catacomb of Callixtus

The Catacomb of Callixtus includes the Crypt of the Popes (Cappella dei Papi), which once contained the tombs of several popes from the 2nd to 4th centuries. The catacomb forms part of an ancient funerary complex, the Complesso Callistiano, that occupies thirty hectares.

San Sebastiano fuori le mura (Saint Sebastian beyond the Walls)

San Sebastiano fuori le mura is a church built in the 4th century with the ancient title of Saints Peter and Paul, on the site where the relics of the two apostles were transferred in 258 to save them from persecution.

Catacombs of San Sebastiano

The Catacombs of San Sebastiano are an underground cemetery in Rome.

The Jewish catacombs of Vigna Randanini

The Jewish catacombs of Vigna Randanini are located on the side of a hill between the Via Appia Antica and the Via Appia Pignatelli. The catacombs have a system of galleries and tunnels that extend over an area of 18,000 m². The galleries are located at a depth of about 10 m and develop for a total length of about 700 m, today partly practicable on foot. It is difficult to date these catacombs, but the paintings and the remains found are dated between the end of the second and the fourth century AD.

Circus of Maxentius

The Circus of Maxentius is a Roman circus part of a complex of buildings erected by emperor Maxentius on the Appian Way between AD 306 and 312.

Mausoleum of Cecilia Metella

The Mausoleum of Caecilia Metella is a roman tomb located just outside Rome at the three mile marker of the Via Appia. It was built during the 1st century BC to honor Caecilia Metella, the daughter of Quintus Caecilius Metellus Creticus, a consul in 69 BC.

Roman baths of Capo di Bove

Capo di Bove is an archaeological site that contains the baths of a large landed property that belonged in the second century probably to Herodes Atticus and his wife Annia Regilla.

Appian - History

[Davis Introduction]:

How after the murder of Julius Caesar (15th of March, 44 B.C.) Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony), his friend, and, in virtue of the consulship, chief magistrate, roused the Roman multitude against the assassins by his famous funeral oration is known mainly through the incomparable version given by Shakespeare [Julius Caesar: Act II, Scene 2]. The account by Appian differs in some particulars from its great imitation. For this reason, as well as for its inherent historic value, the narrative of Appian possesses high interest. It is, of course, far less dramatic, but it is more nearly history.

Caesar's will was now produced and the people ordered that it be read at once. In it, Octavian, his sister's grand-son, was adopted by Caesar. His gardens were given to the people as a place of recreation, and to every Roman living in the city, he gave 75 Attic drachmas [Arkenberg: about $186 in 1998 dollars]. The people too were stirred to anger when they saw the will of this lover of his country, whom they had before heard accused of tyranny. Most of all did it seem pitiful to them that Decimus Brutus, one of the murderers, should have been named by him for adoption in the second degree for it was usual for the Romans to name alternate heirs in case of the failure of the first.

When Piso brought Caesar's body into the Forum a countless multitude ran together with arms to guard it, and with acclamations and magnificent display placed it on the rostra. Wailing and lamentation were renewed for a long time the armed men clashed their shields. Antony, seeing how things were going, did not abandon his purpose, but having been chosen to deliver the funeral oration, as a consul for a consul, as a friend for a friend, a relative for a relative (he was kin to Caesar on the mother's side), resumed his artful design, and spoke thus: "It is not fitting, fellow citizens, that the funeral oration of so great a man should be pronounced by me alone, but rather by his whole country. The decrees which all of us, in equal admiration for his merit, voted to him while he was alive---Senate and People acting together---I will read, so that I may voice your sentiments rather than merely mine."

Then he began to read with a severe and gloomy countenance pronouncing each sentence distinctly, and dwelling especially on those decrees which declared Caesar to be "superhuman, sacred and inviolable," and which named him "The Father of his Country," or "The Benefactor," or "The Chief without a Peer." With each decree, Antony turned his face and his hand towards Caesar's corpse, illustrating his discourse by his action, and at each appellation he added some brief remark full of grief and indignation as, for example, where the decree spoke of Caesar as "The Father of his Country," he added that this was a testimonial of his clemency and again, where he was made "Sacred and Inviolable," and that "everybody was to be held sacred and inviolate who should find refuge in him."

"Nobody," said Antony, "who found refuge in him was harmed, but he, whom you declared sacred and inviolate was killed, although he did not extort these honors from you as a tyrant, and did not even ask them. Most servile are we if we give such honors to the unworthy who do not ask for them. But you, faithful citizens, vindicate us from this charge of servility by paying such honors as you now pay to the dead."

Antony resumed his reading, and recited the oaths by which all were pledged to guard Caesar and Caesar's body with all their strength, and all were devoted to perdition who should not avenge him in any conspiracy. Here lifting up his voice, and extending his hand toward the Capitol, he exclaimed, "Jupiter, Guardian of this City, and you other gods, I stand here ready to avenge him as I have sworn and vowed, but since those that are of equal rank with me have considered the decree of amnesty beneficial, I pray that it may prove so."

A commotion arose among the Senators in consequence of this exclamation which seemed to have special reference to them. So Antony quieted them again and recanted, saying, "To me, fellow citizens, this deed seems to be not the work of human beings, but of some evil spirit. It becomes us to consider the present rather than the past. Let us then conduct this sacred one to the abode of the blest, chanting our wonted hymn of lamentation for him."

Having thus spoken, he gathered up his garments like a man inspired, girded himself so that he might have free use of his hands, took his position in front of the bier, as in a play, bending down to it, and rising again, and sang first as to a celestial deity. . . . [Davis: He declaimed on Caesar's "god-like origin," victories, and spoils he had brought to Rome] exclaiming, "You alone have come forth unvanquished from all the battles you have fought! You alone have avenged your country of the outrages put upon it three hundred years ago [Davis: by the Gauls], bringing to their knees the savage tribes, the only ones that ever broke into and burned Rome."

Carried away by extreme passion, he uncovered the body of Caesar, lifted his robe on the top of a spear, and shook it aloft, pierced with the dagger thrusts, and red with the Dictator's blood. Whereupon the people, like a chorus, mourned with him in a most doleful manner, and from sorrow became again filled with anger. After more lamentations the people could stand it no longer. It seemed to them monstrous that all the murderers, who, save Decimus Brutus, had been made prisoners while siding with Pompey, and who, instead of being punished, had been advanced by Caesar to the magistracies of Rome, and to the command of provinces and armies, should have conspired against him, and that Decimus should have been deemed by him worthy of adoption as a son.

While they were in this temper, and were already nigh to violence, someone raised above the bier an image of Caesar himself, wrought of wax. As for the actual body, since it lay on its back upon the couch, it could not be seen. The image was turned around and around by a mechanical device, showing the twenty-three wounds on all parts of the body and the face---which gave him a shocking appearance. The people could no longer bear the pitiful sight presented to them. They groaned, and girding themselves, they burned the Senate chamber, where Caesar had been slain, and ran hither and thither searching for the murderers, who had fled some time previously.

They were so mad with rage and grief, that, like wild beasts, they tore in pieces the tribune Cinna on account of the similarity of his name to the praetor Cinna, who had made a speech against Caesar, not waiting to hear any explanation about the similarity of name---so that no part of him was ever found for burial. They carried fire to the houses of the other murderers, but the servants bravely fought them off, and the neighbors begged them to desist. So the people abstained from using fire, but threatened to come back with arms on the following day.

The murderers fled from the city secretly. The people returned to Caesar's bier, and bore it as something consecrated to the Capitol in order to bury it in the temple and place it among the gods. Being prevented from so doing by the priests, they placed it again in the Forum, where of old had stood the palace of the kings of Rome. There they collected together sticks of wood and benches, of which there were many in the Forum, and anything else that they could find of this sort, for a funeral pile, throwing on it the adornments of the procession, some of which were very costly. Some of them cast their own crowns upon it and many military gifts. Then they set fire to it, and the entire people remained by the funeral pile throughout the night.

There an altar was at first erected, but now stands on the spot the Temple of Caesar himself, for he was deemed worthy of divine honors since Octavius, his adoptive son, who took the name of Caesar, and following in his footsteps in political policy, greatly strengthened the government founded by Caesar, which government remains to this day---and decreed divine honors to his "fathers." From this example the Romans now pay like honors to each emperor at his death, if he has not reigned in a tyrannical manner or made himself odious, although at first they could not bear to call them kings while living.

From: William Stearns Davis, ed., Readings in Ancient History: Illustrative Extracts from the Sources, 2 Vols. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1912-13), Vol. II: Rome and the West, pp. 154-158.

Scanned by: J. S. Arkenberg, Dept. of History, Cal. State Fullerton. Prof. Arkenberg has modernized the text.

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© Site Concept and Design: Paul Halsall created 26 Jan 1996: latest revision 20 January 2021 [Curriculum vitae]

The Civil Wars

Appian's writings vividly describe Catiline's conspiracy, the rise and fall of the First Triumvirate, and Caesar's crossing of the Rubicon, defeat of Pompey and untimely death. The climax comes with the brith of the Second Triumvirate out of anarchy, the terrible purges of Proscriptions which followed and the titanic struggle for world mastery which was only to end with Augustus's defeat of Antony and Cleopatra.

If Appian's Roman History as a whole reveals how an empire was born of the struggle against a series of external enemis, these five books concentrate on an even greater ordeal. Despite the rhetorical flourishes, John Carter suggests in his Introductions, the impressive 'overall conception of the decline of the Roman state into violence, with its sombre highlights and the leitmotif of fate, is neither trivial nor inaccurate.'

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

The history of the Appian way – one of Rome’s earliest highways, has been recreated with an app

History, some say, is static and dead. However one of the undertakings of Rome’s archaeological superintendency in 2015, shows that what happened thousands of years ago can come alive, thus providing new insights into the ways of mankind. To that end, the Verba Appia is a one-of-a-kind app (launched in December, last year) that digitally recreates the history of the Appian Way, one of the earliest highways in ancient Rome, while also allowing users to be leave geo-specific audio messages, similar to the graffiti often left on historic buildings and monuments.

Developed in collaboration with Mondadori Electa publishing firm, the Verba Appia is a free audio-only app available on Android, iOS and Windows platforms. Offering carefully-crafted audio dramas about the lives of the people who made Europe’s first super-highway famous, the app is meant to attract more tourists to the historic site, and also create a social audio network among those who have already visited the area. Speaking about the endeavor, Fabrizio Funtò, the head of Studio MCM, the company that designed the app, said:

Forget audio guides. This is a totally new way of interacting with the cultural heritage. With Verba, the ancient road becomes a superhighway of communication. Visitors are taken into a universe of localized contents and stories.

Originally constructed as a military road back in 312 BC by Appius Claudius Caecus, the Appian Way (originally known as Regina Viarum) was one of the most important roads of ancient Roman republic, and a strategically-located gateway to the east. Stretching over a distance of 350 miles, this stone road connected Rome all the way to Brindisi in the southeast part of Italy. The app covers a 5.5 miles area, from the Colosseum to the outlying suburbs of Rome. In addition to the ancient roadway, the site houses the ruins of a number of Roman tombs, towers, villas, mausoleums, aqueducts and others.

When someone visits this historic site, the app utilizes the GPS sensor in the user’s smartphone to send geolocalized audio messages regarding these ancient structures. To that end, the developers have fed as many as 50 carefully-researched audio dramas into the app, complete with special effects as well as original soundtracks. It is almost as if the monuments come alive, narrating the intriguing, and sometimes ghastly, stories of their occupants. Hosted in Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, the messages speak of the area’s history, right from the Roman period, through the Middle Ages and finally to the modern times.

These include the tale of Cecilia Metella, daughter-in-law of Marcus Crassus, the man who shared the first Roman triumvirate with Julius Caesar and Pompey. Users are also told the story of Commodus, who was played by Joaquin Phoenix in the 2000 movie, Gladiator. Then there is the 13-year-old Tullia Ciceronis, the daughter of Marcus Cicero, who died after giving birth to her second son. In modern times, the area was made famous with the discovery of love letters dated 1929, near the Doric tomb. Rita Paris, an Italian archaeologist, said in 2015:

We are not talking of the usual information offered by audio guides, but rather mini audio dramas that will make visitors experience the best of this site. So many stories, even modern ones, can be found along this road. For the inconsolable lover, the Appian Way must have inspired a sense of eternity to which he could entrust his passionate letters.

The app also allows interaction from the side of the users, who can leave private or public audio comments on each of the visited spots. To be able to use the app, however, one must have been to the Appian Way at least once. The team added:

There is just one requirement to use the free app: you must visit the Appian Way at least once. It’s a totally new concept, and will be improved in the future with 3-D audio and other innovations.

Appian of Alexandria

Appian of Alexandria is an often underated Roman historian, who lived during the height of Roman power and the era of the 'Five Good Emperors'.

Because of the nature of his work, a collection of many separate geographic and period histories, his contribution to Roman history is sometimes overlooked.

However, his original 24 books, written in Greek, provides valuable insight into several aspects of the Roman world. Of considerable value is his treatement on the civil wars of the late Republic.


Roman Empire Wall Map
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The Twelve Tables are the first attempt to make a law code, and remained the only attempt for nearly one thousand years.

Typically, Roman prisons were not used to punish criminals, but instead served only to hold people awaiting trial or execution.

The Tribune of the Plebes (tribunus plebis) was a magistracy established in 494 BC. It was created to provide the people with a direct representative magistrate.

A copy of the acts of the Deified Augustus by which he placed the whole world under the sovereignty of the Roman people.

This book reveals how an empire that stretched from Glasgow to Aswan in Egypt could be ruled from a single city and still survive more than a thousand years.

This second edition includes a new introduction that explores the consequences for government and the governing classes of the replacement of the Republic by the rule of emperors.

During the period, the government of the Roman empire met the most prolonged crisis of its history and survived. This text is an early attempt at an inclusive study of the origins and evolutions of this transformation in the ancient world.

Swords Against the Senate describes the first three decades of Rome's century-long civil war that transformed it from a republic to an imperial autocracy, from the Rome of citizen leaders to the Rome of decadent emperor thugs.

Rome's first emperor, Augustus, the adopted son of Julius Caesar, has probably had the most lasting effect on history of all rulers of the classical world. This book focuses on his rise to power and on the ways in which he then maintained authority throughout his reign.

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