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Appius Claudius Caecus

311 bc

A lot of Appius Claudii had made a name before this one. Seldom in a positive way. ( look here to find out more about them)
This one stood out as well in a negative way as in a positive manner. What they all had in common was their desire for power.

Via Appia

In 434 bc Mamercus Aemilius, dictator at that moment, had shortened the office of censor from 5 years to 18 months (Aemilian law). The cencus was still held every 5 years. All censors thereafter head resigned after 18 months. Appius was elected in 312 bc as censor. He started to build the first paved road and the first aqueduct both would wear his name: Via Appia (running from Rome to Capua resp. Aqua Appia starting about 16km east from Roma, for the greater part underground.

But when it was time for him and his colleague to resign he refused, making all kinds of excuses. When the peoples tribunes tried to have him arrested there were three of them who vetoed this. Bribed probably. So he stayed in office for the full 5 years. His colleague Plautius did resign and from then on he held the office on his own.

According to Livius it was also his doing, the the clan of the Potii,who had taken care of the rituals of the rituals of the great Ava Maxima of Hercules, since Romulus, had to teach these rituals to temple servants. It was said all the members of this clan were extinct in twelve months. But, so tells Livius, Appius was struck by blindness by the unforgetting wrath of the gods.
(Many, many years later at a high age that was.)

In the second year of his office he surprised all senators by completely rewriting the list of senators. The senators were angry, but decided to ignore the new list and to use the old one. When Appius finally resigned the old list was completely restored. Roman senator

In 296 bc he was elected consul in the third Samnite war. Here he wasn't very succesful. He sent for help to the other consul L. Volumnius. Whe Volumnius arrived to offer the help Ap. Claudius denied to have asked for help.

In 280 bc in the Pyrrheian war, when the senate was about to give in to the demands of Phyrrhus of Epire, Appius, already old and struck with blindnes, had himself transported to the senate, where he fulminated the senate into proceding the war. The Romans eventually won that war.

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