Last Friday I wrote about my recent visit to the incredible 2000-year-old Roman Arena in Pula, Croatia. Today I’m returning to Ancient Rome, to a structure that’s even older.
Everyone knows of the Romans’ love of roads, the military super-highways of their day. One of the earliest examples was the Via Appia Antica, the Appian Way. The first section of the road, which began at the Forum in Rome, was built in the year 312 BC by Appius Claudius Caecus, after whom it was named. In 190 BC, it was extended all the way to Brundisium (modern day Brindisi) in southern Italy, 350 miles from the Empire’s capital.
The fact that original sections of the Via Appia Antica still survive is a testament to the skill with which it was constructed. In 2010, I visited a stretch on the outskirts of Rome itself, still lined by mausoleums where the Roman elite were buried.
It was an amazing experience to walk on the very stones laid there over 2300 years ago by Roman craftsmen and slaves. In places, the surface of the road is scoured by long, deep ruts made by centuries of pedestrian and wooden-wheeled traffic.
Even during the day, it was easy to imagine a midnight Roman funeral procession heading down to one of the mausoleums. Or a Legion marching smartly out on a routine patrol, or perhaps to war. Or the 6000 men from Spartacus’s slave army, crucified along a 120 mile stretch of the Via Appia Antica in 71 BC.
If the Via Appia Antica makes your imagination run riot like mine, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal, or through my brand new website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram?
And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!