Friday, April 01, 2011

Ostia Antica - More General Pictires

Here's a nice general picture in the good afternoon light.

I just had to put this in here. This is an abandoned Pontiac minivan in an empty lot near the entrance to Ostia Antica. I am sure there is a story here somewhere...
This is a shot of a laundry. The guidebook said that it was basically the best preserved ancient Roman laundry known.
Another afternoon shot. Note the original paving stones in the road.

Ostia Antica - Square of the Guilds

I almost forgot to put pictures of one of my favorite parts of Ostia-the Square of the Guilds/Corporations. This large square off of the theater was originally separated from the theater by a large wall. It started as a place for theater-goers to congregate, but over time took the current form. It was a large square surrounded by a portico. Under the portico, there were individual rooms. Each of these rooms were occupied by a guild or corporation engaged in a certain line of work. The cool thing is that the mosaic in from of each room depicted what the group did. Some have pictures, and some have pictures and words. They advertise wood cutters, shippers, traders in rome, traders in wild animals, etc. It was really interesting. In the middle is a small temple. The god to which this temple was dedicated is unknown, but it is assumed to be one related to commerce.

This is a view of the Square of the Guilds from the theater.
This group presumably traded in exotic animals and/or ivory.
Here's a view down one of the sides. You can see the individual rooms and the advertisement in front of each.
This is one of the cool carved masks that decorated the theater.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ostia Antica general pictures

This is a area of huge buried jars.
This is what the jars look like out of the ground. There's no scale, so it's hard to tell, but these thing are almost 6 feet tall.
This is the Temple of Hercules. That's a statue of him there, and the square thing next to him is an original altar from the temple.
This is a large device for grinding wheat. It was located in a large bakery complex.
Roman baths were heated by pumping hot air through pipes in the walls and floors. If you look carefully you can see some pipes in this wall. I guess I'm a dork because I got excited upon seeing these and took like 10 pictures of these pipes. I'll spare you and just put this one :-).
Just a general street view. One of the reasons I likes Ostia more than Pompeii was that at Ostia you are much more free to just walk around the buildings. There are a lot more you can go into and explore, and in general a lot more freedom of movement around the site.
More awesome mosaics.

Ostia Antica (continued)

If you are going to Rome, I really can't recommend a visit to Ostia enough. It is every bit as good as Pompeii, and in some ways it's even better. Pompeii is, of course, awesome, but Ostia is very different. Pompeii was a wealthy city, while Ostia was much more working class, as it was a port town. Also, you can visit Ostia from Rome using a single 1 euro metro ticket (make sure to also have one for the trip back). It couldn't be easier.

Ostia was so important because the sea-going vessels were too large to travel up the Tiber River, so goods were loaded off the big ships and loaded onto barges for the trip up to Rome. Even after Ostia was replaced by the new ports built under the orders of Claudius and (I think) Trajan, for many years Ostia remained an important administrative center for coordinating the new ports.

If you want to read more about Ostia, please check out this website. It really contains an amazing amount of information http://www.ostia-antica.org/

Goods were stored in horrea, or warehouses, such as this one.
In addition to mosaics, there are many frescoes extant at Ostia. This one was in a bar/pub/restaurant.

Ostia Antica mosaics

One of the many cool things about Ostia were the many very well preserved mosaics that were there. This one was in a bath near the river port.
I can't remember where this one was. There were so many...
Don't bother this guy-he's trying to work out.

This isn't technically a mosaic, but it's still awesome.

Ostia Antica

So on Tuesday we visited Ostia Antica. Ostia (which means 'mouth' in Latin) was the ancient port for the city of Rome. It was later replaced when the city outgrew it, and then the river moved and it was kind of abandoned and forgotten, which means it is in great shape. It's a lot like Pompeii, with very well preserved buildings, etc.

This is a picture of what was the main gate from the river harbor.
And the fancy public toilet.
This is the main temple in the forum, called the Capitolium.
This is a nice view of one of the largest buildings.
And another general view.