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Roman Republic: Res publica Romana • View topic - Ostia #2

Ostia #2

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Ostia #2

Postby Marcus Minucius Audens » Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:31 pm



Looking at the structure of the city we find that the only surviving Roman temple in the city, was one which was dedicated to the god Hercules. The dating of this, still standing architecture, dates from that approximate period. However, it is apparent that the most vibrant and influential belief system in effect was the cult of Vulcan. At this time, the priest of this cult was the most important religous influence in the whole city. Ostia suffered an attack, which was followed by a plundering of the city by pirates in 68 BC, and later the city remained in danger of takeover by Sextius Pompeius’ because of his control of the entire Tyrrhenian Sea during the civil wars (Sextius Pompeius vs. Octavian [the future Augustus], concluded in 36 BC).

Under the peaceful period during the reign of Augustus, the city regained much of its former activity and importance. This is shown, to some degree, by some new construction actions by the architect Agrippa. He oversaw the construction of a permanent theatre, and later this was improved by a commercial place of assembly which was built adjacent to the theatre. The following major construction of a Capitolium (Roman hill with a temple) was established with the cults of Venus, Fortuna, Ceres, Spes (Hope), and Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux), all of which were of Augustan or earlier origin.

The old concern, of the fact that the river had created a silt bar near the Tiber River mouth, now was a real problem in that the larger merchant vessels were not able to cross this bar and approach the harbor. Also the harbor was far too small for the increased shipping which was arriving as a result of the extended peace. As an attempt to solve the problem, Claudius in AD 41-54 selected an area about two miles North of Ostia, designed and then built a very large artificial harbor. This harbor was equipped with a towering lighthouse to guide ships to the harbor entrance and also boasted of two canal links to the Tiber, well upstream of the growing delta at the mouth of the river. However, in AD 62 a huge storm struck the area and sank some two hundred ships in that harbor (some shipwreck remains of merchant ships have been recovered from the seabed there). So, seeing the need for some improvement, Trajan in AD 98-117, cut into the coastline, and excavated a large inner basin, which solved the problem of ship safety from storms. This created an even greater influx of trade, and raised Ostia’s prosperity and importance to its peak, in the years following. A direct result of this new construction and resulting new trade and business, the city flourished and this then resulted in a major new construction plan for the city. Probably the most important feature of this new development, was the design and construction of the new style of urban development and the rise of residential areas to accommodate the large increase in population.

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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