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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 53.djvu/269

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THE ROMAN HIGHWAYS.

THE ROMAN HIGHWAYS.
By D. R. McANALLY.

THE Romans were noted for many things, but for nothing do they better deserve fame than for the system of roads which connected every part, even the remotest province of the empire, with Italy and the capital During the golden days every road literally led to Rome, for outside the limits of the Roman world there were no roads worthy of the name, and within its limits every highway was but a part of the system which had its center in the Appian Forum.

The system was worthy of the conquerors of the world. Starting from the Forum, the great Appian Way, the first which was built, passed through the Porta Capena and swept off to the south, through the Three Taverns, where Paul met the Christian Church, through Terracina, through Capua to Brundisium, where sailing craft and rowboats were always ready day and night to take the traveler over to Dyrrachium. Landing on the Macedonian coast near the modern city of Valona, the traveler might traverse a good Roman highway in an almost direct line seven hundred miles to Byzantium. In Asia the great highway again began, trended off to the south, followed the coast to Troy, sent off branches to numerous and populous cities of Asia Minor, across the mountains to Ancyra, followed the coast to Tarsus, thence to Antioch, to Tyre, and to Jerusalem. It is probable there was also a highway from Jerusalem to Alexandria in Egypt. There were certainly roads from Jerusalem east to the Euphrates, and up and down that mighty stream. Egypt had its own system of roads, beginning at Alexandria and continuing south to the Cataracts, while North Africa was also provided with internal arteries of commerce, starting from various seaports and penetrating the interior until lost in the sands of Sahara.

The Appian Way was the great highroad to the south of Italy and to the East, but the empire was provided with a northern system also. The northeast road started from Rome, crossed the Apennines on the upper waters of the Tiber, and continued through many important cities to the base of the Alps. South of Trent the road divided: one branch turned east, passed through what are now the territories of Austria, Bosnia, Servia, and Bulgaria to the Black sea; the other continued to the north and traversed the terrible passes of the Tyrol to the lower lands of South Germany. There was yet another great central highway which started like the others from Rome, went directly north, continuing, however, east of the Apennines, and following the east coast passed through or near the pres-