Part Two of the Appian Way. Tools, laws, and lists of other Roman roads, used at the time.
Hello, this is Abel, speaking from Beijing, China. Welcome to my podcast. The Tale of Rome, Episode 43 — The Appian Way – Part Two.
— “One more step, to your left!”
The boy, holding the heavy groma, and some 40 paces away from the surveyor, didn’t hear the order.
And so — he didn’t move.
— “To the left, I told you,” the surveyor yelled.
The boy, now startled, jumped to his left. The poor apprentice couldn’t get a single word, because of the strong gale blowing east from the sea.
— “A single step, I told you!” The surveyor was running out of time and patience. “What a stulte, this boy,” he muttered to himself.
Stulte was the word for “slow” in Latin, especially when someone was — sort of, slow to understand things.
In plain English, it would also mean dumb, or dim-witted.
So when the boy tried to get back to where he thought the man wanted him to stay, he tripped on a rock.
As he tried to avoid the fall, he held on to the groma, and its ferrous tip bent into an awkward angle.
And to make matters worse, one of the handles of the groma broke off, as the apprentice tried to hold on to it.
The main pole hit the ground, and so did the boy.
Like that, the groma was useless.
Miles and miles of swamps, infested with cattails, frogs, mosquitoes and the ocasional corpses of animals and men, that just couldn’t make it through the land.
Here, I would like to add two things.
One one hand, the Appian Way wasn’t built in all its length in the year 312 BC. That year, it only got to Capua.
And later on — in the year 291 BC, to be more precise, the road would reach the locality of Venusia. We are still some 20 years away from that.
And then — another 10 years later, the Appian Way would finally reach Tarentum.
By that time, we will be dealing with a whole new topic.
The upcoming wars against Pyrrhus of Epirus.
And then — after that, the Appian Way will go all the way to the heel of Italy. That is Brundisium.
And after that, the road will make a giant U-turn, and snake its way to the other end of Italy. The point where the continent is at its nearest with the island of Sicily.
Centuries later, under the reign of Emperor Trajan, the Appian Way will become a true masterpiece for its times.
OK, and on the other hand, I need to make a short list of Roman roads — or ways, rather, that ALREADY existed before the construction of the Appian Way.