Ostia Antica

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Ostia Antica is a large archeological site that was the harbour city of ancient Rome, which is approximately 30 kilometres (19 mi) northeast of the site and close to the modern town of Ostia. "Ostia" in Latin means "mouth". At the mouth of the River Tiber, Ostia was Rome's seaport, but, due to silting and a drop in sea level, the site now lies 3 kilometres (2 mi) from the sea.[1] The site is noted for the excellent preservation of its ancient buildings, magnificent frescoes and impressive mosaics.

Contents

History

Origins

Ostia may have been Rome's first colonia. An inscription[citation needed] says that Ostia was founded by Ancus Marcius, the semi-legendary fourth king of Rome, in the 7th century BC.[2] The oldest archaeological remains so far discovered date 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.

Sacking by pirates

In 68 BC, the town was sacked by pirates.[3] During the sacking, the port was set on fire, the consular war fleet was destroyed, and two prominent senators were kidnapped. This attack caused such panic in Rome that Pompey Magnus arranged for the tribune Aulus Gabinius to rise in the Roman Forum and propose a law, the Lex Gabinia, to allow Pompey to raise an army and destroy the pirates. Within a year, the pirates had been defeated.

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