Episode 43 – The Appian Way – Part Two

— The wheelbarrow as we know it, made its appearance in Europe around the tenth century, at the height of the Dark Ages.

Part Two of the Appian Way. Tools, laws, and lists of other Roman roads, used at the time.

Partial Transcript


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.

[…]

Episode 13 — State of the Union – 509 BC

— Thank you, Mr. Uderzo!
And thank you, Mr. Goscinny, may you rest in peace.

A huge episode. 43 minutes in length. It is a gigantic eagle’s fly around the world of Rome, and all lands that, sooner or later, will influence the Tale of Rome.

Partial Transcript


Hello, this is Abel, in Beijing, China. Welcome to my podcast.

The Tale of Rome, Episode 13 — State of the Union – 509 BC.

This is our first episode of the State of the Union, and just as many things that happened in Rome for the first time, this episode will have the honor and the duty to establish norms, styles, and other precedents for future editions of episodes of the State of the Union.

If you heard our last episode, you’ll know that this week’s episode will be a little longer, and we won’t have our Word of the Week segment.

So, let’s start right now, because we don’t have all day, and we have an eagle’s flight of many miles in circumference.

Our eagle’s flight is going to start in Rome itself.

We’ll see what is going on in Rome, Etruria, and Graetia Magna, which is the southern part of Italy.

From there, we’ll see the three large islands near Italy. Sicily, Corsica, and Sardinia.

Then we’ll go to the north, and once we hit the Alps, we will give a gigantic clockwise turn, that will take us through all the parts that sooner or later will have an influence in the history of Rome.

We’ll see Dalmatia, Macedonia, Epirus, and Greece.

From there we’ll head over to Asia minor, and then to the lands of Syria, Palestine, and Egypt, which at that time were under the yoke of the Persians.

Then our flight will take a sharp turn towards the sunset, towards Carthage and the northern coast of Africa, and then we will fly over the columns of the Gibraltar, which depending on whom you’ve read, were either opened or closed by Hercules himself.

This will take us back to Europe, where we shall see the peoples who inhabited what is now Spain and Portugal, and the Gauls. We will make a small detour to mention the British Isles, and from there we will return to Rome, flying over the villages of the Netherlands and Germania.

Finally, two small penalty shots, just for kicks: India and China.

What do you think?