The Appian Way (Latin and Italian: ‘Via Appia’) also referred to as ‘Via Appia Antica’ (Old Appian Way) is one of the earliest and strategically most important Roman roads of the ancient republic. Eventually it connected Rome to Brindisi, in southeastern Italy. It started at the Roman Forum going to Brindisi located at the southeastern tip of Italy.

Built in 312-264 BCE, it is named after Appius Claudius Caecus, the Roman censor who began and completed the first section as a military road to the south in 312 BCE during the Samnite Wars. A censor was a magistrate in ancient Rome responsible for maintaining the census, supervising public morality and overseeing certain aspects of the government's finances. The Samnites lived on a stretch of the Apennine Mountains to the south of Rome.

‘Via Appia’ was a main route for military supplies and the first long road built specifically to transport troops outside the smaller region of greater Rome. The road began as a leveled dirt road layered with small stones and mortar. On top, gravel was laid which was finally topped with tight fitting interlocking stones to provide a flat surface. The road was cambered (a slight arching) on either side for water runoff and had ditches on either side of the road which were protected by retaining walls.

One historical event that occurred on the Appian Way in 71 BCE was the crucifixion of 6,000 slaves along the 200-km (120 mi) ‘Via Appia’ from Rome to Capua.

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