Ostia Antica

We have discovered a most interesting website, www.ostia-antica.org , devoted to the city of Ostia. Ostia was the port city for Rome, at the mouth of the Tiber River. Goods and people arriving at Rome by sea landed at Ostia and then proceeded to Rome via road or up the Tiber River via barge. Ostia was extremely important during the late Republic and Imperial eras, and extensive ruins of the city have survived to the present day. The site provides maps of the site and detailed information about many of the buildings, including building floor plans, photographs, building usage, and restoration drawings for some structures. Details for temples, shrines, houses, apartment buildings, shops, workhouses, warehouses, guild halls, baths, bars, restaurants, hotels, inns, stables, and monuments. This is fascinating stuff. I have been to Ostia a couple of times, somewhat melancholy visits during the rain. A whole city, tumbled down, empty and abandoned. Except for the occasional flock of tourists. There is a rather good, if small, modern museum at the site. Ostia had a varied religious life. Inscriptions attest to the presence of, among others, Jupiter, Hercules, Ceres, Silvanus, Mithras, the Lares, Venus, Fortuna, Spes, Neptune, Mars, the Discouri, Bona Dea, Magna Mater, Bellona, Attis, Sabazius, Sol, Caelestis, Tutela, Serapis, Isis, Bast, Roma, Augustus, Trajan, Hadrian, and Pertinax. Temples for some of these deities, but not all, have been identified in the ruins, and there are other temple buildings with no identifying inscriptions. Many houses and shops had private shrines. One of the interesting things about Ostia is that many, perhaps most, of its residents lived in multi story brick apartment buildings. The site also includes information about nearby Portus. Portus, with its storm resistant manmade harbors, eventually superceded Ostia as the administrative center for the area. Most of Ostia has been excavated today, but most of Portus now lies buried beneath the runways of Rome’s international airport. A fascinating website, well worth multiple visits.

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Published in: on January 30, 2012 at 1:07 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Ostia Antica has always intrigued me. I visited Rome last year and was planning to visit the site. But we chose Pompeii instead. Still wished I could have seen it. Thanks for the link and informative post!


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