Born probably during the reign of Domitian (81--96), Appian was an Alexandrian Greek who rose to high imperial office under Antoninus Pius (137--61). He wrote a history of Rome's wars from the founding of Rome to the reign of Trajan, arranged ethnographically. Of the 24 original books, or papyrus rolls of standard length written in Greek, 16 have survived essentially complete. Appian was not an original historian but a derivative and pedestrian narrator who understood only imperfectly the institutions of the former Republic about which he wrote. However, he used sources for his work that made it valuable modern scholars. This is particularly true of his Civil Wars, describing the last convulsions of the Republic and the rise of Octavian.