What did Rome’s emperors do for Ostia, its economy and its enterprises?

WEDNESDAY 21 FEBRUARY, 18.00–19.30

What did Rome’s emperors do for Ostia, its economy and its enterprises?

Christer Bruun (Toronto)

G.E. Rickman Lecture

Abstract

An Ostian inscription from the reign of the emperor Hadrian honors the emperor because the colonia had been conservata et aucta. This lecture explores ways in which the emperors’ concern with the economy of the empire and the provisioning of Rome impacted on the town of Ostia and its inhabitants. It is normally taken for granted that the expansion of the harbour zone took place in general harmony: imperial investments flowed to Ostia-Portus, the town and its population grew steadily, and its business and trading community flourished. But were there no conflicts, no diverging voices and views on what kind of development was needed? It seems implausible that there were no worries in Ostia, and this lecture looks at neglected signs of local opinions and how the interaction between the imperial centre and Ostia may have played out.

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