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He also rightly emphasizes the danger in seeing religious identity in material culture, an observation applied to Christian objects, [End Page ] but strangely not to the art and sculpture of the traditional cults whatever this means by this time discussed later in the book. Chapter 2 examines structural and social continuity in late antique Ostia compared with previous centuries, concentrating on the material investment made along the beach, the river port which in fact may not be the site of the famed Temple of Castor and Pollux, although it certainly was by the river somewhere , along with the so-called Building with Opus Sectile.

This is seen as a good example of the difficulty in finding Christianity in the centre of Ostia at this time, although the fourth century? Christian structure built within the Baths of Mithras is not mentioned. The point about structural adaptation and the need to assimilate can still hold true though, but why was this need felt less in the southern part of town, where large new Christian basilicas were built? The following chapters proceed chronologically.

Ostia in Late Antiquity | Religious Dirt

Chapter 3 discusses the third-century town, arguing against the outdated crisis model, although the analysis of the fate of paganism here, and throughout the book, is too temple-focused to convince. Private religion and domestic rites are rightly touched on in this chapter, but ignored when looking at later periods, which is a shame.

It would also have been useful to touch on the debate over the decline in public blood sacrifice. Chapter 4 turns to the fourth century, and once more begins with a temple-focused debate on cultic activity at this time, although Boin rightly notes that these structures remained prominent landmarks and objects of civic pride.

Ostia in Late Antiquity

He then moves onto the Christian and Jewish communities of the town, convincingly Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves.

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Without cookies your experience may not be seamless. 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.

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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.

Part I.

Background: 1. New approaches to daily life in Late Antique Ostia; 2.

The new urban image of Rome's ancient harbor; Part II. Foreground: 3.


The third century: Roman religions and the long reach of the emperor; 4. The fourth century: proud temples and resilient traditions; 5.

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The fifth century: history seen from the spaces in between; 6.