Roman Apartments in Ancient Ostia w. Dr Janet DeLaine

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Ancient Ostia was a major port city of Rome, and at one point, bustling and diverse. Retired associate professor at the University of Oxford, and emeritus fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford, Dr Janet DeLaine, joins the show to discuss what scholars know about the apartment buildings that existed in Roman Ostia.

Some topics explored

  • When and why Ostia became a popular port in the Roman Republic
  • Issues with flooding in Ostia in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE and Rome rebuilding various aspects of the urban centre
  • Why multi-storey apartment blocks were built in Ostia
  • What exists today in Ostia
  • Why Ostia is a fertile area to have performed these various archaeological projects on it
  • Ostia being abandoned in the 7th century CE and why
  • The definition of an apartment building in this context
  • An estimation that approximately half of the urban centre would have been comprised of apartment buildings and were the majority of residential structures
  • Most units on the ground floor serving residential and commercial purposes
  • Estimation as to how many floors apartment buildings would have had
  • An example of the House of Diana at Ostia and a description of what its composition would have been in the 2nd century CE
  • Regulations under Augustus and Trajan that set a limit on how tall buildings could be developed to in the City of Rome. Trajan’s regulation was 16 Roman feet (approximately five stories tall)
  • How apartment buildings above the ground floor were accessed
  • Liturne / bathrooms in the buildings
  • Kitchens in the buildings
  • Common areas in the buildings
  • Staircases in the buildings
  • Ostia being more of a rental versus primary residence community
  • The records for Ostia being the site and inscriptions
  • Water going to and from the units
  • Disposing of excrements through a sewerage system
  • A list of builders from the period discovered at Ostia
  • The materials the buildings are made of

Listen to the episode

The episode can be streamed below and is also available on major podcast apps: Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Amazon Music.

Show Notes

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