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Here are some lesser-known facts about ancient Ostia
1. Ostia Antica was quite a large city as it was Rome's main port for global merchants and world-transportation.
2. Some excavationists say that it is better preserved compared to Pompeii.
3. The residents formed collegia which were groups of men within the same profession (trade unions). These groups would support political leaders and lobby for benefits for the community.
4. An average family consisted of a father, mother, daughters under the age of 15, married sons, the sons' families and slaves. In the days of the republic, the father was the absolute head of the family. He could even sell his children into slavery! He could arrange marriages for his daughters when they were only 12 to 15 years old! He would do this for the money it would bring to his family. The young boys and girls had little to say in the matter.
5. If your family was well-off enough to educate you, tutors would come to your house or you would attend a private school to learn writing, reading and arithmetic.
6. In the 1st Century AD, people in many parts of the empire were becoming Christians. Like the Jews, the Christians believed in just one god. They worshiped only their god, and would not worship the Roman gods or the emperor. Romans were usually tolerant of other religions within the empire. However, when the empire began to have severe troubles, emperors tried to force people to follow the Roman religion. For Jews and Christians, this often meant sacrificing everything they owned, even their lives for the sake of their beliefs.
7. By the time of the Roman Empire, the Romans were sending ships to the far corners of the ancient world as they knew it. In Italy, farmers grew grain and planted olive groves and vineyards. Olive oil and wine were shipped to cities throughout the empire. As the empire expanded, olive oil and wine were also produced in Gaul, Spain, and North Africa as well as Italy. All of which meant lots of activity in Ostia, the ancient port-town!
For more on the ruins of ancient Ostia be sure to check out our Ancient Ostia Tour by clicking 'View Tour' below!