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THE APPIAN WAY

Apr 20, 2014

the Appian WayAt one time, inside the Roman Forum, close to the Senate or Curia, there was a large round black marble slab which indicated the point from which all Roman roads departed, it showed the direction of the roads and the city where each road led to and the amount of miles it took to reach each city.
The oldest of these roads was the Appian Way or the Regina Viaorum ( The queen of the roads) as the Romans called it.
Built by the Consul Appius Claudius the blind, in the year 312 b.c. it went directly to the town of Capua, north of Naples, the largest commercial town of the Greeks and very important for the Roman businessmen, therefore it was, at that time, used for commerce.
Many years later this famous road was lengthened and eventually reached the town of Brindisi, the old Brundisium, the largest sea-port on the Adriatic coast, and the shortest route to the eastern countries, such as Greece, Egypt and Turkey. At this point in history the Appian Way became a military road.
The Appian Way starts today from the Baths of Caracalla and goes down south. Before arriving to the gate of Saint Sebastian we can see two important points of interest: on the right hand side the original paving of the old Roman road, made with "basolato", ie, uneven slabs of black lava placed on a concrete base.
The second point of interest is what we could consider as being the very first graffiti ever, it can be seen on the right hand side of the gate before exiting the walls of Rome.It depicts the figure of an angel standing with its foot on the head of a snake. The style of this graffiti shows us that it was probably made during the Middle Ages, even though a date marked in the marble beside it shows the year 1580. Leaving the gate of Saint Sebastian you can see one of the original milestones marking the first mile of the Appian Way.

From Porta San Sebastiano the road runs slightly downhill on a paving made with sanpietrini (small cobble stones) and reaches the catacumbs of San Callistus, the largest in Rome. Opposite the entrance to these catacombs you can see a very small church called Domine Quo Vadis, in Latin this means "Master where are you going".The legand says that when Saint Peter was escaping from prison and leaving Rome, he met Jesus Christ here and Our Lord left his footprints on the road; but this is another story which we will tell later on in our discovery of the legends of Rome.