|Author||Louis F. Aulbach|
|Publisher||CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform|
|Publication Date||February 14, 2018|
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The archeological site of Ostia Antica lies about 25 kilometers, or 15.5 miles, southwest of the center of Rome, and the park is easily accessible by the Rome Metro system. Yet, for many of the visitors who visit Rome to see the ruins of the ancient empire, a trip to Ostia is often not considered. While Rome has many grandiose temples, buildings and monuments of an empire, the ruins at Ostia Antica reflect a work a day, commercial port town. Nevertheless, Ostia Antica does have its charms and unique opportunities for those who want to learn about life in the ancient Roman world. In Rome, although many of the ancient buildings are located in and around the Roman Forum and the Capitoline Hill, the ruins of other structures are scattered throughout the city center among buildings that have been built in the subsequent centuries. Ostia, on the other hand, has been preserved as an intact city with very few modern structures on the site. Not unlike the city of Pompeii that was buried by volcanic ash in 79 AD, the city of Ostia was abandoned in the sixth century AD and left to be covered by Tiber River flood waters and the shifting sands of the Italian coast. Discoveries at the site in the early nineteenth century AD and excavations that began in the 1880's (and have continued off and on to the present day) have exposed the remains of a remarkably complex and vibrant community with significant ties to the capital of the Roman Empire. Established as a military encampment during the fourth century BC, Ostia prospered as a port city in the late Republic. During the early empire, Ostia became an important part of the food supply for the city of Rome. From the second century AD through the beginning of the third century AD, Ostia was at the height of its prosperity. With the support of a succession of emperors, the city was rebuilt with magnificent construction projects. By the middle of the third century AD, however, there were clear signs of the decline of Ostia as the shipping activities moved to Portus, the new port on the north side of the Tiber River. For the visitor today, Ostia Antica can be difficult to comprehend without some kind of guide. For one thing, the site is over 69 hectares, or 170.5 acres, in size. Knowing what to see and where to look is often a confusing task. Modern excavators have divided Ostia into five regions, and even then, there is an enormous amount to see and understand in any one region. This guide focuses on a part of Ostia that corresponds in large part to Regio II, an area that was demarcated in the early first century BC by the urban praetor Gaius Caninius as land set aside for public use. The necropolis along the Via Ostiense as one enters the archeological site is included as a prelude to sites of the city. The public land of Caninius (ager publicus) lies on the north side of the Decumanus Maximus, the main east-west street of Ostia, between the Porta Romana, the eastern gate of Ostia, and the Castrum, the original fortified camp of Ostia. The public land extended from the Decumanus Maximus to the Tiber River.
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