Ostia Antica is a large archeological site, close to the modern suburb of Ostia (Rome), that was the location of the harbour city of ancient Rome, which is approximately 30 km to the northeast. "Ostia" in Latin means "mouth". At the mouth of the River Tiber, Ostia was Rome's seaport, but, due to silting and a drop in sea level, the site now lies 3 km from the sea. The site is noted for the excellent preservation of its ancient buildings, magnificent frescoes and impressive mosaics.
Ostia may have been Rome's first colonia. An inscription says that Ostia was founded by Ancus Marcius, the semi-legendary fourth king of Rome, in the 7th century BC. The oldest archaeological remains so far discovered date back to only the 4th century BC. The most ancient buildings currently visible are from the 3rd century BC, notably the Castrum (military camp); of a slightly later date is the Capitolium (temple of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva). The opus quadratum of the walls of the original castrum at Ostia provide important evidence for the building techniques that were employed in Roman urbanisation during the period of the Middle Republic.
In 68 BC, the town was sacked by pirates. During the sack, the port was set on fire, the consular war fleet was destroyed, and two prominent senators were kidnapped. This attack caused such panic in Rome that Pompey the Great arranged for the tribune Aulus Gabinius to rise in the Roman Forum and propose a law, the Lex Gabinia, to allow Pompey to raise an army and destroy the pirates. Within a year, the pirates had been defeated. The town was then re-built, and provided with protective walls by the statesman and orator Marcus Tullius Cicero.
The town was further developed during the first century AD under the influence of Tiberius, who ordered the building of the town's first Forum. The town was also soon enriched by the construction of a new harbor on the northern mouths of the Tiber (which reaches the sea with a larger mouth in Ostia, Fiumara Grande, and a narrower one near to the current Fiumicino International Airport). The new harbor, not surprisingly called Portus, from the Latin for "harbor," was excavated from the ground at the orders of the emperor Claudius. This harbour became silted up and needed to be supplemented later by a harbor built by Trajan and finished in the year AD 113. It has a hexagonal form, in order to reduce the erosive forces of the waves. This took business away from Ostia itself (further down river) and began its commercial decline.
The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius is an ancient Roman statue, made of bronze and stands 4.2m tall. The statue was erected in 175 CE. Its original location is debated: the Roman Forum and Piazza Colonna (where the Column of Marcus Aurelius stands) have been proposed.
Although there were many equestrian imperial statues, they rarely survived because it was practice to melt down bronze statues for reuse as coin or new sculptures in the late empire. Statues were also destroyed because medieval Christians thought that they were pagan idols. The statue of Marcus Aurelius was not melted down because in the Middle Ages it was incorrectly thought to portray the first Christian Emperor Constantine. Indeed, it is the only fully surviving bronze statue of a pre-Christian Roman emperor.
In the medieval era it was one of the few Roman statues to remain on public view. In the 8th century it stood in the Lateran Palace in Rome, from where it was relocated in 1538 to the Piazza del Campidoglio (Capitoline Hill) during Michelangelo's redesign of the Hill. Though he disagreed with its central positioning, he designed a special pedestal for it. The original is on display in the Palazzo dei Conservatori of the Musei Capitolini, while a replica has replaced it in the square.
Unfortunately the statue is a Fake! "REAL" bronzes do not weather and age like that. The statue stood outside for several centuries, so surely the gold paint would have long ago corroded off (Greeks and Romans always "Painted" their statues), and the bronze underneath would have corroded and pitted.
Click here for an Article by the U.S. General Services Administration on Bronze corrosion
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