Friday, November 19, 2021



Robert A. Kaster, The Appian Way: Ghost Road, Queen of Roads (2012; rpt. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014), pp. 7-8:
The Appian Way was, after all, the regina viarum, "queen of roads": so said the poet Statius, who would have used the road numberless times as he shuttled between Rome and his birthplace, Naples. As the first great road of Europe, the Appia in essence defined what a fully built road should be, and it remained for centuries a model of the engineering that was among the Romans' greatest achievements. As the longest of the roads in Italy, when it reached its full extent, it was central to the network that bound together the peninsula, and in time the Empire, and so fostered the formation of a unified culture. Ultimately, the Empire's system of public roads extended an astonishing 75,000 miles: in 2006, the United States had only a bit more than 46,000 miles of interstate highways, serving a population roughly five times as large.

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