Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Prof: Good morning, all.

  • The title of today's lecture is, "The Roman Way of Life

  • and Death at Ostia, the Port of Rome."

  • On Tuesday we spoke about architecture under the emperor

  • Hadrian, the extraordinary emperor Hadrian.

  • We talked about the buildings that he commissioned,

  • and some of which he also had a hand in designing since,

  • as we mentioned, he was an amateur architect

  • himself.

  • We spoke about that Greek import, the Temple of Venus and

  • Roma, and also about the two major

  • commissions during his principate,

  • the Pantheon in Rome and Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli.

  • The main takeaway point vis-à-vis both of these

  • buildings-- and you see them once again now

  • on the screen, at left and right--is that

  • Hadrian followed the lead of Trajan before him.

  • What Trajan had done, and Apollodorus of Damascus had

  • done, in the Forum of Trajan and in

  • the Markets of Trajan, and that is to combine,

  • in one building complex, both the traditional and the

  • innovative strands of Roman architecture.

  • The traditional that goes back to Greek and Etruscan

  • architecture and is marked by the traditional elements,

  • the traditional vocabulary of architecture,

  • namely columns and walls and the roofs that they support;

  • and then more innovative Roman architecture,

  • which is predicated on concrete construction,

  • faced with a variety of materials, from stone to what

  • we'll see today as the ascendance of brick as a facing,

  • which began, as you'll recall,

  • after the fire in A.D.

  • 64 in Rome.

  • Again, looking at these two buildings as examples of what

  • Hadrian, he and his architects, tried to do.

  • The Pantheon, you'll recall on the left,

  • has a traditional porch, a porch that looks very much

  • like a typical Greek, Etruscan or Roman temple,

  • but then a revolutionary body, when you walk inside the

  • building, a revolutionary cylindrical drum and

  • hemispherical dome.

  • And then with regard to Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli,

  • I show you a view of the Canopus, and you'll recall that

  • the Canopus makes use of columnar architecture.

  • There are columns that border one end of the pool,

  • although they are columns with a twist because you can see they

  • support a straight and an arcuated lintel,

  • which we saw in Second Style Roman wall painting,

  • in painting, and then eventually it begins

  • to infiltrate built architecture,

  • comes to the fore under Hadrian.

  • So that's a playing around with those lintels in a way you

  • wouldn't have seen in Greek and Etruscan architecture,

  • but still relies, in the main,

  • on the traditional vocabulary of architecture.

  • But then you'll recall, on the other end of the pool,

  • a building that was meant to conjure up the Serapeum in the

  • Temple of Serapis in Canopus, in Egypt, but that was made out

  • of concrete construction and that had a segmented dome,

  • a kind of pumpkin dome that we believe that Hadrian designed

  • himself.

  • So this extraordinary combination of traditional and

  • innovative Roman architecture; that we see the hallmark of

  • Hadrianic architecture, and a gift that he gave to the

  • future evolution of architecture.

  • The other major contribution of the Hadrianic period,

  • that Hadrian himself had less to do with because it was

  • already bubbling up after the fire in A.D.

  • 64, is the move that we're going to see today toward

  • multi-storied housing.

  • We saw that begin already at the last gasp of Pompeii and

  • Herculaneum.

  • You'll remember after the earthquake of 62,

  • and before the eruption of Vesuvius,

  • the Pompeians and those who lived in Herculaneum began to

  • build, began to add additional stories

  • to their residential structures, and that meant for the most

  • part a second story being added to their residential structures,

  • but they never went beyond that.

  • What we see beginning to happen, especially under

  • Hadrian, is an increased taste for

  • multi-storied buildings, multi-storied domiciles,

  • but multi-storied residences that had more than two stories,

  • even up to as many as five stories: essentially apartment

  • houses.

  • And our best example for such apartment houses are in the city

  • of Ostia, the port city of Rome,

  • and it's therefore to the city of Ostia that we are going to

  • turn to today.

  • And, in fact, we'll spend the entire lecture

  • on the city of Ostia, because like Pompeii and

  • Herculaneum before it, especially like Pompeii,

  • we have an extraordinary array of not only private domiciles,

  • but also public architecture from the city of Ostia that

  • gives us an outstanding sense of what this city looked like in

  • antiquity.

  • I show you a plan of Ostia in its heyday.

  • You'll remember that the city was actually founded very early

  • on.

  • At the very beginning of the semester, we looked at the town

  • plan of Ostia, which dated to the mid-fourth

  • century B.C., around 350 B.C.

  • And you'll recall--and I'll remind you of this plan in a

  • moment-- you'll recall that it was

  • founded as-- it was actually Rome's first

  • colony, although it was a colony in

  • Italy obviously, not outside the mainland,

  • but its first colony in Italy, or anywhere for that matter.

  • And it was founded, as so many of these first

  • colonies were, as a military camp.

  • It was laid out as a castrum,

  • as you'll recall.

  • And that castrum, one can see in the very

  • center-- I'm going to show you a better

  • view of this from Ward-Perkins in a moment--

  • but you can see that kernel of the castrum plan right

  • here in the center of this plan.

  • But what this plan shows you is the way in which the city grew

  • over time.

  • Again, it began in the Republic, it continued to be

  • developed during the Republic.

  • It was under Augustus that some new buildings,

  • some public buildings were added to the locale,

  • including the Theater, and we're going to look at the

  • Theater today.

  • And then ports were added, as you'll remember--and I'll

  • review that momentarily--ports were added at Portus,

  • by Claudius and also by Trajan.

  • And it was after the Port of Trajan that the city really

  • began to take off in terms of its commercial activity,

  • and much of the building that we see in the city,

  • as it looks still today, belongs to the Hadrianic period

  • and into the time of the successors of Hadrian,

  • the so-called Antonine emperors, whose architecture

  • we'll also be studying this semester.

  • While this plan is on the screen, let me just point out

  • the location of Rome-- the arrow points this way--the

  • so-called Via Ostiense, the route, the street that

  • leads from Rome to Ostia; the Via Ostiense.

  • And actually the city road becomes the town--the country

  • road; the country thoroughfare

  • becomes the city street, the main city street,

  • the decumanus of the city of Ostia.

  • You can also see in this plan the location of a place called

  • Isola Sacra, up there, which we will see was the main

  • cemetery for Ostia.

  • Yes, there are tombs outside the city walls,

  • also elsewhere in the city, but our most- best-preserved

  • tombs are from this area called Isola Sacra;

  • and I'll show that to you also today.

  • And here you can see the Tiber River, the Tevere,

  • the Tiber River wending its way from Rome to Ostia.

  • And it is of course along the Tiber that we'll see warehouses

  • were located, and where the ships went back

  • and forth to export or import material,

  • products from Rome to Ostia and back again.

  • Again, we talked about the building of ports at Ostia.

  • We talked especially about the port that Claudius commissioned,

  • at Portus, and I remind you of it on the back of a Neronian

  • coin, a coin of Nero; obverse with Nero's portrait,

  • reverse representing that Claudian port.

  • And we see it there.

  • You'll remember it had curved breakwaters, which you can see

  • in that coin depiction, and a river god at the bottom;

  • boats in the center, as well as the lighthouse.

  • We see all of that on the coin.

  • And you'll remember that the breakwaters were made up of

  • columns that partook of that rusticated masonry that Claudius

  • so favored.

  • Down here, a painting that I've shown you before,

  • that is on the walls of the Vatican in Rome,

  • the Vatican Museums in Rome, where you can see Claudius'

  • port, with its curved breakwaters and

  • its lighthouse over here.

  • And then the port that was added by Trajan during his

  • reign, a multi-sided additional port right here.

  • And it was again the construction of that particular

  • port that really brought commerce even more--

  • this area had been used since the mid-fourth century B.C.,

  • but it begins to really take off;

  • there's a real efflorescence during this period.

  • And it is therefore not surprising that with commerce

  • booming there was more need for residential architecture,

  • for those who lived there, for the traders and so on and

  • so forth who lived there, and we see this,

  • the building of not only civic buildings but especially of

  • private domiciles begins to move very rapidly apace.

  • The city becomes more crowded and there becomes this need to

  • build up vertically, as well as horizontally;

  • and we'll see that development today.

  • Tourists who go to Rome really miss the boat by not going out

  • to Ostia in larger numbers, because most tourists don't

  • tend to take the trip out to Ostia.

  • But it's well worth it, and it's very easy to get to.

  • It only takes about 25 minutes to a half an hour on a suburban

  • train, to get from Rome to Ostia.

  • So it's a not-to-be-missed experience.

  • And I show you one of these trains in the upper left that

  • takes you very easily from Rome to the site of Ostia.

  • There are a number of stations in Ostia.

  • One of them is Ostia Centro, the downtown of Ostia,

  • which you see in that view in the upper left.

  • And the other is Lido di Ostia, which means "the

  • beach," and I show you a view of Lido di Ostia down here.

  • Now looking at that nice view of the ocean--

  • I know you've all been, you're back from spring break,

  • but still it's nice to reminisce about what some of you

  • may have been doing during spring break and see this

  • wonderful view of the scene.

  • It looks very enticing, but I can tell you that it's

  • not, once you get there.

  • It's very polluted.

  • This is not one of the great beaches of the world.

  • So don't be seduced by Lido di Ostia.

  • Stay on the train and make your way to the site called Scavi di

  • Ostia, which is the excavations of

  • Ostia, the archaeological excavations,

  • where you can see, as you saw, as one sees in

  • Pompeii, an ancient Roman city,

  • extremely well preserved.

  • And you see a glimpse of it over here, and you can tell even

  • just from this glimpse that we are dealing here with a city

  • that is not unlike Pompeii.

  • It has streets and sidewalks, and it has buildings along the

  • side of either of those.

  • But there is one main difference between this and what

  • we saw at Pompeii-- and you can see it very well in

  • this image-- and that is that these houses,

  • that are along the street, look different than those did

  • in Pompeii in that they are made out of concrete,

  • faced with brick: a very different kind of

  • appearance, and one that is

  • quintessentially Ostian and makes this city well worth a

  • visit.

  • In fact, if we think of Pompeii as the quintessential

  • first-century A.D.

  • Roman city, we should think of the city of Ostia as the

  • quintessential second-century A.D.

  • city, the best example that we have of what a second century,

  • a Hadrianic and Antonine city, would have looked like,

  • and that is what makes it so important to us.

  • Here I remind you again of the original plan that we looked at,

  • the plan from the mid-fourth century B.C.,

  • 350 B.C., from Ward-Perkins, that shows you the original

  • castrum of the first colony: this rectangular space,

  • very regular, with its own wall surrounding

  • the city, with the cardo,

  • the north-south street, and the decumanus,

  • the east-west street, intersecting exactly at the

  • center of that city.

  • And then at that intersection, as was Roman practice,