LAT 390 • Seminar in Classical Studies
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
This course will examine the archaeological evidence for religious life in an ancient Roman city based on the excavations at Ostia. Lying at the mouth of the Tiber, Ostia grew from an early colony into one of the major shipping centers of the Roman Empire. Because of its plan and historical development, especially during the Principate, it has often been taken as a model for Roman civic life, or Rome itself just on a smaller scale. For the archaeologist and ancient historian it is also much like Pompeii, since it was largely uninhabited in later centuries, so that the Roman levels remain largely intact. For all these reasons, Ostia has become an important cite for studying urban planning and social life in Imperial times. The seminar will focus on the physical layout and evolution of the city from its earliest stages (as a castrum). In particular we will examine the later stages of urban development and the ways that religious architecture (formal temples as well as other types) figures into its growth. We will use recent work in masonry analysis to evaluate this development and to place the sites into the religious and social life of the city. Student research projects will focus on individual sites within the city by dealing with architectural history and comparative styles and/or construction techniques.