Loading...

Ostia

OSTIA ŏs’ tĭ ə (Lat. ostia, mouth). A town located at the mouth of the Tiber River. Rome was built on the banks of the Tiber River, approximately sixteen m. from the seacoast, for reasons of security and trade. As the city grew the need for access to the sea became apparent, and Ostia was settled at the mouth of the river sometime between 350 and 300 b.c. During the 2nd Punic War (218-201 b.c.) it served as a naval base, and upon the conclusion of peace developed into an important commercial center. Since Rome depended for its grain supply upon imports from Sicily and Africa, Ostia was of vital significance to the city. During the 1st cent. a.d. the city developed steadily as trade increased, and various emperors improved it by building a new harbor and other public facilities; e.g., Caligula constructed an aqueduct to supply the city with fresh water. By the 2nd cent. the city was at its height: ships anchored in its harbor from Africa and the E, and it was adorned with as many as