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Appius Claudius Caecus
He was a censor in 312 BC during the Second Samnite War. 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 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".
See also: Claudius (gens)
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