Europe Photoblogging, Part 22: Ostia
By Dwip September 29, 2014, 9:59 am Comments (0) RSS Feed for this post

This is a street within the Necropolis of Ostia, the ancient port of Rome at the mouth of the Tiber. In absence of the ability to make the trip to Pompeii, I visited the ruins of Ostia on 6/27/04 as my final side trip from Rome. I talk about it here.

Unlike the Vatican, Ostia really was a side trip – it’s about 15 miles from the city via rail. If the idea of an entire ruined Roman city appeals to you, you’ll have a good time in Ostia.

This is either a series of workshops or part of a warehouse. Throughout much of the Republican period and into the Imperial period, Ostia was one of the most important ports in the world, providing almost all of the waterborne trade to and from the city of Rome.

This is a mosaic in the baths of the Cisiarii, the guild of coachmen who drove horse-drawn cabs, which is why you see one towards the center of the mosaic. This one is in the frigidarium, the cold water pool that was part of the complex Roman bathing process.

Black and white mosaics like this were a lot cheaper to produce than the more colorful kind, as you would expect in a workingman’s bath. Nevertheless, as you can see the workmanship is still pretty good.

This is a wheel rut in an ancient stone street. How awesome is that?

This is another street in Ostia, either part of one of the major porticos that house shops and residences above them, or one of the many insulae, apartment buildings with shops below and apartments above.

There are lots and lots of street scenes to be had in Ostia. This one is probably of one of the many insulae on the left and the Baths of Neptune on the right.

This is a room in the Caserma dei Vigili, the barracks of the fire brigade, showing what’s left of some wall paintings and a bit of flooring.

This is a decorative stone floor in the Piazzale delle Corporazioni, believed to be commercial offices. It’s a little haphazard but pretty cool.

This is another mosaic from the Piazzale delle Corporazioni with various symbols. Again, this is not wildly high quality work, and certainly not world class like Ravenna, but it’s interesting that even something on this scale was affordable.

This is one of the rooms off of the courtyard in the Domus della Fortuna Annonaria, one of the houses where the important folks in Ostia lived.

Mainly I dig the super cool decorative brickwork in the arches. The Romans knew what they were about.

This particular domus is full of really cool decorative elements, like this stone floor here. A bit cracked now, obviously, but you can see where they were going with it.

And this is a mosaic from, you guessed it, the same domus, with half the Monster Manual on it. Again, these are not world class mosaics, but it’s still better than you or I are going to get in our houses anytime soon.

This is the interior of a bar near the Forum in the central part of Ostia. You can still see a bit of color on the brick ceilings, as well as the massive arches and vaulting.

This is a massive mosaic from the Terme di Porta Marina, a large bath complex in the southwest of Ostia near what used to be the sea before two thousand years of Tiber silt moved the coast to the west a couple of miles.

And one last street scene in Ostia for the road. That’s Ostia in a nutshell – lots of nice little streets with orderly little rows of buildings in which you may catch a glimpse of the hustle and bustle of the workingman’s Rome.

This concludes our photoblogging of Europe. Thanks for joining us, and we now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.

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