Ostia in Late Antiquity

Ostia in Late Antiquity

By (author) Douglas Boin


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Ostia Antica was Rome's ancient harbor. Its houses and apartments, taverns and baths, warehouses, shops and temples have long contributed to a picture of daily life in ancient Rome. Recent investigations have revealed, however, that life in Ostia did not end with a bang but with a whimper. Only on the cusp of the Middle Ages did the town's residents entrench themselves in a smaller settlement outside the walls. What can this new evidence tell us about life in the later Roman Empire, as society navigated an increasingly Christian world? Ostia in Late Antiquity, the first academic study on Ostia to appear in English in almost 20 years and the first to treat the Late Antique period, tackles the dynamics of this transformative time. Drawing on new archaeological research, including the author's own, and incorporating both material and textual sources, it presents a social history of the town from the third through the ninth century.

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  • Hardback | 308 pages
  • 127 x 182.88 x 20.32mm | 748.42g
  • 22 Jul 2013
  • Cambridge
  • English
  • 57 b/w illus. 1 map
  • 1107024013
  • 9781107024014
  • 1,229,236

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Author Information

Dr Douglas Boin is Assistant Professor of History at Saint Louis University. He is an expert on the religious history of the Roman Empire, particularly as it pertains to the 'pagan', Christian and Jewish world of the ancient Mediterranean. Since 2010 he has taught in the Department of Classics at Georgetown University in Washington DC. His scholarship has appeared in The Journal of Roman Studies and The American Journal of Archaeology and he has authored entries on synagogues and church buildings for the multi-volume reference work, The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Greco-Roman World. For ten years, he worked as an archaeologist in Rome, studying the site of a Roman synagogue at Ostia Antica, the harbor town of the empire's capital. He speaks regularly on aspects of late Roman history, archaeology and religion at national and international conferences.

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Review quote

'... a very welcome development and begins to fill an important gap in the study of ancient Ostia. Boin skilfully weaves together material and textual evidence to show theories that Ostia experienced 'decline' or rapid Christianization in the third and fourth centuries are generally unfounded.' Bryn Mawr Classical Review 'In this compelling study, Boin eschews a catastrophic view of the transformation of Roman urban space during Late Antiquity in favor of a more nuanced and gradualist model ... By embracing nuance, and through his frank acknowledgement that both continuity and change characterized urban life in this period, Boin has produced a forceful riposte to the catastrophic school. Highly recommended. Graduate students/faculty.' G. I. Halfond, Choice

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