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Appian Way. Rome
Let me share my adventures in Rome. I truly believe that there’s no better destination for someone who appreciates ancient inscriptions and has an affinity for letters than this remarkable city.

I’ll begin with one of the oldest and most serene sites in Rome — the Appian Way, or Via Appia Antica. Constructed between the 4th and 3rd centuries BC, it boasts numerous ancient tombs and monuments along its path, nearly all adorned with inscriptions. This is an absolute must-see!

Here are some Republican capitals, the precursors to the well-known and beloved Imperial Roman capitals. The former exhibit less contrast, fewer width variations, and almost no serifs compared to their Imperial counterparts.

This stone I discovered along Via Appia Antica is the most ancient one I’ve encountered, dating back to the 1st century BC.

I’m uncertain whether this is the original stone or an exact replica, as it appears remarkably white and pristine.

Via Appia Antica, Rome.

These are the Imperial Roman capitals. Take note of the pronounced contrast between thick and thin strokes, as well as the distinctive proportions and prominent serifs, especially when compared to my previous post. By the way, the letter “Z” stands out for its notable width among its neighboring letters.

This epitaph commemorates the freedmen Baricha, Zabda, and Achiba, who hailed from the family of M. Valerio. It can be found along the Via Appia Antica in Rome.

Via Appia Antica, Rome.

Here’s another example of the Republican capitals. On the nearby stone, we can observe a condensed version alongside a standard one.

Pay attention to the ligature of “P” and “H”.

This inscription dates back to approximately 27 BC to 14 AD.

Via Appia Antica, Rome.

A splendid and pristine example of the Imperial Roman capitals.

This marks the tomb of Tiberio Claudio Secondino and his family, dating back to the 1st century AD.

Via Appia Antica, Rome.

These too are Imperial Roman capitals. Take note of the inscription on the right. It appears as though the carver had to compress the letters due to limited space. Even the “R” exhibits a different leg shape.

This marks the grave monument of Gaius Rabirius Hermodorus and his family.

Via Appia Antica, Rome.

In this instance, the Imperial Roman capitals appear rather light, exhibiting minimal contrast.

This marks the tomb of Titus Fidiclanius Apella.

Via Appia Antica, Rome.

This is, by far, my favorite inscription. The tomb of the children of Sextus Pompeius Justus features Imperial Roman capitals that rival the renowned inscription on Trajan’s Column in finesse. However, unlike Trajan’s Column, where you can only observe it from a distance, the letters on this tomb can be easily reached.

I even managed to create several rubbings of the letters. Regrettably, my technique leaves much to be desired.

2nd century AD.

Via Appia Antica, Rome.
This article is a part of the Instagram project @lettersearch, curated by Yulia Gonina. Through her extensive travels, Yulia meticulously collects and categorizes historical inscriptions, offering insightful descriptions alongside stunning visuals. For the latest updates follow @lettersearch!
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