CLAUDIUS, APPIUS C/ECUt, a Roman patrician and author of the 4th century B.C. In 312 B.C. he was elected censor without having passed through the office of consul. His censorship was remarkable for the actual or attempted achievement of several great, constitutional changes. He filled vacancies in the senate with men of low birth ; and when his list was rejected, and C. Plautius, his colleague, resigned, lie continued, in defiance of custom, to hold the office alone. He also retained it for five years, despite the iEmilian law, which limited the duration of its tenure to a year and a half. He transferred the charge of the public worship of Hercules in the Forum Boarium from the hands of the Politian Bens to that of public slaves. Redistributed the libertini among all the tribes; and he further invaded the exclusive rights of the patricians by directing his secretary Cneius Flavius (whom, though a freedman, lie made a senator) to publish the legis actiones and the list of dies fasti (or days on which legal business could be transacted). And lastly, lie gained enduring fame by the construction of a road and an aqueduct, which - a thing unheard of before - lie called by his own name. In the year after his resignation of the censorship (307) he was elected consul. In 299 he was made interrex ; and in 296, as consul, he led the army in Samnium, and the armies of the two consuls gained a victory over the Etruscans and Samnites ; hut he never triumphed, nor does his military career appear to have been at all distinguished. Next year he was prmtor, and he was once dictator. To the Ogulnian law admitting the plebeians to the offices of augur and pontifex he was strongly opposed ; and his advocacy of the cause of the democracy seems to have ended with his censorship. His ambition and his pride of race were, however, accompanied by a passionate love of Rome.
He was already blind and tottering with age when Cineas, the minister of Pyrrhus visited him, but so vigorously did he oppose every concession that all the eloquence of Cineas was in vain, and the Romans forgot past misfortunes-in the inspiration of his patriotism. The story of his blindness, however, may be merely a method of accounting for his cognomen.
Appius Claudius Crocus is also remarkable as. the first of the Roman writers, both in verse and prose, of whom we know anything. He wrote a poem which is mentioned by Cicero, but of which the remaining fragments are of the smallest, and a legal work entitled De Usurpatianibus. It is very likely also that he was concerned in the drawing up of the Legis Actions published by Flavius. His Sententice, which include the famous dictum "Every one is the architect of his own fortunes," were read by Panmtius, but are now lost.