Ostia Antica, an "Aha!" Ruin

If you’ve ever wondered how ancient Romans lived in their urban sprawl, forget about all those costume dramas and comedies, like Ben Hur or History of the World, Part I or Gladiator. (Actually, the most accurate seems to be HBO’s Rome series.) Instead, visit Ostia Antica, outside of Rome. It was city of 60,000 on over 100 acres near the sea. And it is the “Aha!” experience for understanding how our ancestors (Romans and slaves) lived, worked, bathed, prayed, and conducted matters of state. The lapidary inscriptions— spanning over three centuries—are also sensational. The mosaics are the earliest merchants’ signs too. Ostia is a microcosm of the greater Rome, for which it served as a port for the massive shipments of goods and foodstuffs that arrived daily. Not all ruins are alike. This one is amazing.

Some history, via Wikipedia: “Ostia was founded by Ancus Marcius, the semi-legendary fourth king of Rome, in the 7th century BC. The oldest archaeological remains so far discovered date back to only the 4th century BC. The most ancient buildings currently visible are from the 3rd century BC, notably the Castrum (military camp); of a slightly later date is the Capitolium (temple of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva). The opus quadratum of the walls of the original castrum at Ostia provide important evidence for the building techniques that were employed in Roman urbanisation during the period of the Middle Republic.”

One thought on “Ostia Antica, an "Aha!" Ruin

  1. Mike

    Most people do not realize how much we live just like Romans did thousands of years ago. Money, import/export of goods via the sea, religion, pornography, powerful military, conquest for profit (in decline, hopefully), summer homes on the coast (well, some of us…), large civic stadiums where athletic men try to win contests of agility, endurance, and teamwork over neighboring oponents (gladatorial combat/football, etc.), massive public engineering projects and using engineering and planning to create cities and military defensive solutions – the list goes on.
    But minus the slaves.
    We have the Greeks to thank for coming up with most of this but the Romans really took the Greek ideas, expanded, and had a long run with it. Western civilization is a strong reflection of the Romans. But you remember all of that from high school ancient history class, right?!