Definitions

Appian

Appian

Appian, fl. 2d cent., Roman historian. He was a Greek, born in Alexandria. He held various offices in Alexandria, was an advocate in Rome, and then imperial procurator in Egypt. His history of the Roman conquests, from the founding of Rome to the reign of Trajan, is more a collection of monographs on specific events than a continuous history. Although strongly biased in favor of Roman imperialism, it reproduces many documents and sources that otherwise would have been lost. Of the 24 books, written in Greek, only Books VI-VII and Books XI-XVII have been fully preserved.
Latin Via Appia.

First and most famous of the ancient Roman roads, running from Rome to Campania and southern Italy. Begun in 312 BC by the censor Appius Claudius Caecus, the road originally ran 132 mi (212 km) to ancient Capua; by 244 BC it extended 230 mi (370 km) to the port of Brundisium (Brindisi) in Italy's heel. Built of smoothly fitted blocks of lava on a heavy stone foundation, the road provided a long-lasting surface for transporting merchandise to these seaports (and thence by ship to Greece and the eastern Mediterranean). Remains can be seen today outside Rome.

Learn more about Appian Way with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Appianus (Greek: Αππιανός) (c. 95 – c. 165), of Alexandria was a Roman historian (of Greek ethnicity) who flourished during the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian and Antoninus Pius. He is commonly referred to by the anglicised form of his name, Appian.

He was born ca. 95 in Alexandria. He tells us that, after having filled the chief offices in the province of Egypt, he went to Rome ca. 120, where he practiced as an advocate, pleading cases before the emperors. In 147 at the earliest he was appointed to the office of procurator, probably in Egypt, on the recommendation of his friend Marcus Cornelius Fronto. The position of procurator was open only to members of the equestrian class.

His work (Ῥωμαϊκά, known in English as the Roman History) in twenty-four books, written in Greek before 165, is more a number of monographs than a connected history. It gives an account of various peoples and countries from the earliest times down to their incorporation into the Roman Empire, and survives in complete books and considerable fragments. In spite of its unattractive style, the work is very valuable, especially for the period of the civil wars.

The Civil Wars, five of the later books in the corpus, concern mainly the end of the Roman Republic and take a conflict based approach to history.

Editions

English translations:

References

  • William Smith (ed) (1870), Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology Vol 1 pp. 247-248

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