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Roman Republic: Res publica Romana • View topic - Ostia #1

Ostia #1

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Ostia #1

Postby Marcus Minucius Audens » Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:22 pm



This is a city which resides on the Latium (Lazio) coastline, in the area of western Italy. The city’s position is at the mouth of the Tiber, and this is only the medium distance from Rome of sixteen miles. This would allow easy access to the capitol. Later, during what is known as the regal period of the time, the Romans expanded their holdings as far as the coast and there created a port which they called Ostia. At that time, the main purpose of this expansion was in order to take full advantage of the rather large salt beds which were in the immediate area. This movement to the coast occurred probably much later than is traditionally accepted, about the period of (c578-535). Any location of an original settlement has not been located, most probably, because of the construction of the present city on the site, and the habitation presently in existance, prevents any further search.

When the Latin League was dissolved (c338), the Romans then set about the improvement of the settlement of Ostia, due to the value of the nearness to a river mouth, and the valued salt beds. This resulted eventually in declaring the sites as colonies. At this time we find the remains of a large fortification,, of sorts with an approximation of perhaps near the number of 200 to 300 families living in or nearby. The fortified village was, in size, nearly four to five acres in expanse. We see some of the early ideas in the Roman Marching camps in the layout of this fortified village, in that it had two main streets which were obviously planned as intersecting, within the village on a ninety degree cross avenue. This improvement, with a strong stone wall, and sufficient manpower to effectively man the wall, if necessary, against any enemies who might come by sea, or from the period raids of pirates who swarmed these waters in this age, showed a much stronger face than previously. This colonies function, during this period, was manyfold; defend the Tiber mouth against their enemies, supervising the salt collection, collecting dues as a customs station, storing large amounts of foodstuffs such as grain, which was awaiting transportation upriver to Rome, and the regulation of trade along the river. At this time, the harbor here was not adequate for all the tasks, due to the fact that the river created a delta, and the streams varied its channels from time to time, carrying silt into established harbor areas.

The Punic Wars (First and Second-[264--241], & [218-201]) made it necessary, for the first time, for the Romans to develop a naval fleet, and as one would imagine, the port of Ostia, also became a major naval base, important to the defense of the river, and the city of Rome. After the wars were over, the need for a Roman Navy, was not so pressing, however, due to a large increase in population in Rome and the surrounding country, Ostia retained and expanded its importance as a major port, of both supply and receivership for goods coming from overseas to Rome. The major import substance was grain to feed the population, as it continued to grow. By the year 100 BC, the city of Ostia had grown exponentially; it now possessed a much strengthened and much larger defensive wall together with an increased population and massive storage facilities for overseas goods arriving in the port. It is about this time that the first Civil War begin (83 BC) and Marius, returning from Africa, captured the city of Ostia, before marching on Sulla and the City of Rome.

To be continued:----

Reference:
>> Michael Grant, “A Guide To The Ancient World, A Dictionary of Classical Place Names,” The H. W. Wilson Co., 1986

Respectfully Submitted;

Marcus Audens
Marcus Minucius Audens
 

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