APP. Clau'dius Caecus
10. APP. CLAUDIUS
APP., C. F. N. CAECUS, son of No. 9.
It was generally believed among the ancients that his blindness was real, and there can be no doubt that such was the fact, though it is pretty certain that he did not become blind before his old age.
The tradition of the occasion of his blindness is given by Livy, 9.29
. (See also Cic. de Senect. 6, Tusc. Disp.
5.38; Plut. Pyrrh. 18
; Diodorus, 20.36
; Appian, Samn.
He was twice curule aedile (Frontin. de Aquaed.
5.72), and in B. C. 312 was elected censor with C. Plautius, without having been consul previously. (Liv. 9.29
With the design of forming in the senate and people a party which should be subservient to him in his ambitious designs, he filled up the vacancies in the senate with the names of a large number of the low popular party, including even the sons of freedmen. His list, however, was set aside the following year, upon which C. Plautius resigned, and Appius continued in office as sole censor.
He then proceeded to draw up the lists of the tribes, and enrolled in them all the libertini, whom he distributed among all the tribes, that his influence might predominate in all. (Liv. 9.29
; Suet. Cl. 24
According to Pliny (Plin. Nat. 33.6
) it was at his instigation that his secretary, Cn. Flavius, published his calendar and account of the legis actiones.
But the most durable monuments of his censorship (for his political innovations were in good part set aside by Q. Fabius Maximus) were the Appian road to Capua, which was commenced by him, and the Appian aqueduct, which he completed. (Liv. 9.29
; Frontin. de Aquaed.
5; Niebuhr, vol. iii. pp. 303-309.) Niebuhr conjectures, with some probability, that in order to raise money he must have sold large portions of the public land.
He retained his censorship four years. (Niebuhr, vol. iii. pp. 294-313.) In 307 he was elected consul after resigning his censorship, which he had ineffectually endeavoured to retain, and remained in Rome for the purpose of strengthening his interest. (Liv. 9.42
In the following year we find him a strenuous opponent of the Ogulnian law for opening the offices of pontiff and augur to the plebeians. (10.7, 8.) In 298 he was appointed interrex (an office which he filled three times; see inscription in Pighius, ad ann.
561), and at first refused to receive votes for the plebeian candidate. (Liv. 10.11
; Cic. Brut. 14
.) In 296 he was chosen consul a second time, and commanded at first in Samnium with some success. (Liv. 10.17
; Orelli, Inscr.
No. 539.) From Samnium he led his forces into Etruria, and having been delivered from a perilous position by his colleague Volumnius, the combined armies gained a decisive victory over the Etruscans and Samnites. (Liv. 10.18
In this battle he vowed a temple to Bellona, which he afterwards dedicated. Next year he was continued in command, as praetor, but was sent back to Rome by the consul Fabius. (10.22, 25.)
Afterwards, in conjunction with Volumnius, he gained a victory over the Samnites. (10.31.)
He was once dictator, but in what year is not known. (Insc. in Orelli, l.c.
) In his old age, when Cineas was sent by Pyrrhus to propose peace, Appius, now quite blind, appeared in the senate, and by his speech prevailed on them to resist the proffered terms.
This speech was extant in Cicero's time. (Liv. xiii.; Cic. Brut. 14
, De Senect.
6.) His eloquence is extolled by Livy. (10.19.)
He left four sons and five daughters. (Cic. de Senect. 11.
Appius Claudius the Blind was the earliest Roman writer in prose and verse whose name has come down to us.
He was the author of a poem known to Cicero through the Greek (Cic. Tusc. Disp.
4.2), of which some minute fragments have come down to us. (Priscian. viii. p. 792, ed. Putsch; Festus, s. v. Stuprum.
) Its contents were of a Pythagorean cast.
He also wrote a legal treatise, De Usurpationibus
, and according to some was the author of the Actiones
which Flavius published. [FLAVIUS.] (Pomponius, Dig.