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date: 03 February 2023



  • Nicholas Purcell


Ostia, city at the mouth of the *Tiber, colonia at least by the late 4th cent. bce, heavily involved with Rome's naval history, commerce, and communications, and one of the best-known Roman cities archaeologically. Abandoned in the 5th cent. ce, Ostia was covered with drifting sand from coastal dunes, and the area was sparsely populated until this century because of malaria. With the coast southwards, and the remains of *Portus, this therefore makes an archaeological site of the highest importance.Tradition ascribed the foundation to King Ancus *Marcius, and claimed that the trade in salt from the adjacent lagoons (which was certainly significant in historical times) dated back to that epoch (cf. the *via Salaria). The Latin civilization is well represented in the immediate hinterland by the important discoveries at Castel di Decima on the via Laurentina and Ficana, overlooking the confluence of the Tiber and the Fossa Galeria, an important route leading inland towards *Veii, and dominating the coastal plain just inland from Ostia.


  • Ancient Economy
  • Ancient Geography

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