People - Ancient Rome: Appius Claudius Caecus
Born Appius Claudius Caecus (ca. 340 BC-273 BC), he was a Roman politician.
Appius Claudius Caecus in Roman Biography
Clau'dius Cse'cus, (see'kus,) (Appius,) a Roman
patrician, who was censor from 312 to 308 B.C. During
this period he constructed the Appian Way from Rome
to Capua. He was afterwards consul, and interrex, (or
regent,) and became blind, as his surname indicates.'
He wrote a poem, and a legal work in prose.
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Appius Claudius Caecus in Wikipedia
Appius Claudius Caecus ("the blind"; ca. 340 BC-273 BC) was a Roman politician from a wealthy patrician family. He was dictator
himself and the son of Gaius Claudius Crassus, dictator in 337 BC.
He was a censor in 312 BC although he had not previously been consul. He sought support from the lower classes, allowing sons
of freed slaves to serve in the Senate, and extending voting privileges to men in the rural tribes who did not own land. During
the Second Samnite War, he advocated the founding of Roman colonies throughout Latium and Campania to serve as fortifications
against the Samnites and Etruscans.
During his term as censor, he built the Appian Way (Latin: Via Appia), an important and famous road between Rome and Capua, as
well as the first aqueduct in Rome, the Aqua Appia. He also published for the first time a list of legal procedures and the
legal calendar, knowledge of which, until that time, had been reserved for the pontifices, the priests. He was also concerned
with literature and rhetoric, and instituted reforms in Latin orthography.
He later served as consul twice, in 307 BC and 296 BC, and in 292 BC and 285 BC he was appointed Dictator. In 280 BC, after he
had gone blind (because of a curse, according to Livy), he gave a famous speech against Cineas, an envoy of Pyrrhus of Epirus,
declaring that Rome would never surrender. This is the first recorded political speech in Latin, and is the source of the saying
"every man is the architect of his own fortune" (Latin: quisque faber suae fortunae).
His sons included Gaius Claudius (father of the consul Appius Claudius Caudex) and the first Tiberius Claudius Nero.
Appius Claudius Caecus is used in Cicero's Pro Caelio as a stern and disapproving ancestor to Clodia. Cicero assumes the voice
of Caecus in a scathing prosopopoeia, where Caecus is incensed at Clodia for associating with Caelius, a member of the middle
equestrian class instead of the upper patrician class. Caecus's achievements, such as the building of the Appian Way and the
Aqua Appia, are mentioned as being defiled by Clodia's actions.
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