16 Roman Life in Ostia, the Port of Rome

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By Diana E E Kleiner | Roman Architecture Lecture 16 of 24

Lecture Description

Professor Kleiner focuses on Ostia, the port of Rome, characterized by its multi-storied residential buildings and its widespread use of brick-faced concrete. She begins with the city's public face--the Forum, Capitolium, Theater, and Piazzale delle Corporazioni. The Piazzale, set behind the Theater, was the location of various shipping companies with black-and-white mosaics advertising their business. Professor Kleiner examines the Baths of Neptune and the Insula of Diana, a brick apartment building with four floors that housed a number of Ostia's working families. The Insula of Diana and other similar structures, including warehouses like the Horrea Epagathiana, demonstrate a fundamental feature of second-century Ostia: the appreciation of the aesthetic qualities of brick facing. Since the time of Nero, brick was customarily covered with stucco and paint, but these Ostian buildings are faced with exposed brick, the color, texture, and design of which make it attractive in its own right. The lecture ends with a survey of several single family dwellings in Ostia, including the fourth-century House of Cupid and Psyche, notable for the pastel-colored marble revetment on its walls and floors and for a charming statue of the legendary lovers.

Course Description

This course is an introduction to the great buildings and engineering marvels of Rome and its empire, with an emphasis on urban planning and individual monuments and their decoration, including mural painting. While architectural developments in Rome, Pompeii, and Central Italy are highlighted, the course also provides a survey of sites and structures in what are now North Italy, Sicily, France, Spain, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, and North Africa. The lectures are illustrated with over 1,500 images, many from Professor Kleiner's personal collection.

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