Ostia is an ancient city which is located in the middle of Italy, on the south-west of Rome, at the mouth of Tiber River. It functioned as a coastal town of Rome city. It took an important place for trade, military aims, and transportation. Archaeologists researched the city very well. The city was the first colony of Rome and king Ancus Marcius founded it in the 7th century BC. But, archaeological findings reveal that Ostia was a tower that was founded in 350 BC and three hundred families took shelter in it.
As long as Rome was enlarging, Ostia also enlarged and developed to answer oversea needs of Rome. Because the way to heart of Rome passed through Tiber, to protect Ostia was especially important. This need became more apparent during Punic Wars (264-210 BC) and pirate plunders in 67 BC.
Big storage facilities were built in the city because of increasing volume of trade. Ostia became an important trade center with huge storehouses and more than eight hundred stores. Loads of large ships were put into smaller ships and they were sent to Rome. So, a cinsiderable amount of workers was living in the city. The population of Ostia was 50 thousand presumably in the early 2nd century AC.
In the era of Claudius, a new harbour named Portus was constructed 4 kilometers north of Ostia. In the era of Traianus, some new parts were added to the new harbour. During this period, instead of being a city of harbour, Ostia was a settlement that was serving passengers going to Rome.
Sand coming from the coast made difficult to shelter for large ships. This situation affected the life of city in a negative way. And the population of Ostia decreased because of malaria in that period. So, the city was abandoned in the 5th century AC. There has been no settlement here again. Excavations in Ostia has unearthed significant archaeological ruins. I have written about Pompeii before (another ancient Roman city), if you wonder. Thank you for reading.