The Appian Way

July 14, 2015

 

Binyamin, outfitted with a mule and carriage, traveled the length of the oldest span of the Appian Way, the approximately 130-mile course from Rome to Capua. Beginning at the Circus Maximus, this “queen of the long-distance roads” made its way through the wealthy suburbs of Rome and the Appian Mountains to the coastal town of Terracina before turning southeast toward Capua. Averaging 20 feet wide with a slightly convex surface to facilitate drainage, this highway was made of once tight-fitting, interlocking polygonal blocks cemented together with lime mortar.

 

Since the dead could not be buried in the city proper, Binyamin saw tombs lining the road as soon as he left Rome. Some would be as large and elaborate as a stone temple; others, as simple as a mound of earth. Binyamin’s sponsor, Sergius, explained that the road would also be lined with inns:

 

          Don’t worry; they’ll be easy to identify. Even if you arrive late at night, you’ll spot them.

          They all keep a lamp burning above their door. In the daytime, you’ll recognize them by

          the erotic scenes painted on their façade. Wait till you see the ones on The Camel in

          Aricia and The Sword in Tres Tabernae. I guarantee you’ll get a kick out of those! Anyway,

          you'll get food, wine, and lodging in a room with a cot, chamber pot, and candleholder.

          Of course, you'll have to share the bed with as many fellow travelers as can cram in, but you'll

          have an opportunity to change your mule and carriage, relax in the public baths, and hire a

          prostitute.

 

It was along this stretch of the Appian Way that 6000 slaves of Spartacus's Army were crucificted in 71 BCE.

 

 

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