Twenty short walks, with Guy de la Bédoyère
The British historian Guy de la Bédoyère, known among others for his appearances in the archaeological television series "Time Team", made twenty short movies of Ostia. These are not professional movies. Their great charm is that the viewer walks through the ruins, often in the rain, together with de la Bédoyère. His English spoken commentary was made during the filming, in 2008 and 2010.
A quick look round Roman Ostia's forum, overlooked by the Temple of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva. The Baths of the Forum at Ostia Antica form one of the largest and highest parts of the ruins. They were in operation from the late 2nd century AD until well on into the Christian era. This tour runs through the cold rooms and on into the warm rooms. Ostia Antica has a number of public baths. Close by the biggest, the Forum Baths, is a well-preserved Roman public latrine. It was communal and flowing water was used for cleaning up and washing away waste. This set of baths is in the western part of Ostia. The baths are arranged around central courts and have a very well-preserved service area that includes fittings for a water wheel. This wheel, operated by slaves, lifted 1000 liters of water an hour to a cistern for running down into the baths. The Baths of Mithras at Ostia Antica had a Mithraeum (Temple of Mithras) installed underground in its service area in the early third century AD. Like most Mithraea, the building was designed to recall the cave in which Mithras killed the sacred bull and released the force of Eternal Life. Similarities in belief and worship led early Christians to target the Mithraea and destroy them. Christians later adapted these Baths to their use and wrecked the Mithraeum, smashing the statue. The current one is a reproduction. Ostia Antica's Garden Houses apartments occupy a secluded rectangular courtyard in the middle of a large insula in the south-west part of the Roman town. Built in Hadrian's reign (AD 117-138), they seem to have been designed as fairly well-appointed apartments in a secluded zone. Each of the two blocks had four apartments on each level, and there were at least two floors, possibly four. So there were anything between 16 and 32 apartments in total. Ostia's House of the Dioscures lies in the Garden Houses insula. It had a long history and by the 4th century was one of the best-appointed private houses in the whole town - and the only one with a private baths. Unlike the earlier Roman atrium house, it has no obvious visual axes and is today rather hard to understand. Its west wall forms the south-east corner of the Garden Houses apartment courtyard and is very regular. Its east wall forms part of the outer irregular zone of the insula. The second movie about the House of the Dioscures, filmed two years earlier. Difficult to film as it's very overgrown. Ostia Antica was packed with apartment blocks. The 'Casette Tipo' ('little house type'), Insula III.1 and 2, was built in Trajan's reign (AD 98-117) and consists of two rectangular apartment blocks facing one another across a narrow road. Stairs led to upper floors. They were casually and cheaply built: although rectangular they are far from precisely laid out. Of interest to anyone studying Roman housing. Built under Hadrian, the ground floor of the Insula of Serapis (III.10.3) at Ostia Antica had shops gathered round a courtyard together with a shrine to Serapis added in the early third century. A substantial brick staircase led to the upper floors and the apartments, while next door was a bath-house, reached through the Insula of Serapis. Clearly this was more than just an apartment block and served multiple functions for the immediate community. Laid out originally under Augustus, but later improved Roman Ostia's 'Piazza of the Corporations' was the city's main commercial headquarters for shippers and traders. A large rectangular square overlooked by the theatre had small offices ranged around three sides, most with mosaics outside that named or identified the business. Presumably this was where orders were taken, or sales made, with instructions then going to one of the city's many warehouses. In the centre was a Temple of Ceres, surrounded by statues of local businessmen, officials and civic worthies. The Great Warehouse: poorly preserved but one of the largest building complexes at Ostia. These are the remains of the Firemen's Barracks at Ostia. This large building dates mainly from Hadrianic times (AD 117-138) and was identified by the large number of inscriptions dedicated by the Vigiles (firemen). During the second century AD there were 320 stationed here on detachment from Rome. The House of the Wrestlers (Caseggiato dei Lottatori) (V.3.1) is named for the mosaic of the wrestlers on one of its floors. It is thought to have been a guild headquarters. Built in the 2nd century AD this is an example of the traditional Roman atrium house which survived right on into the 4th century when it was a distinctly obsolete design. The House of Apuleius was built in Ostia in Republican times but was remodelled in the mid-second century AD when it may have been owned by Lucius Apuleius Marcellus. The house was situated right next to the Mithraeum of the Seven Spheres. The House of Diana (III.3.3-4) at Ostia Antica was an apartment block of four or five floors. The lower floor survives along with part of the next level. It was limited by law to a height of about 17.8 metres because fires could not be extinguished above that level. It was in existence by the mid 2nd century AD. The design was a response to the need for high-density housing and is typical of much of the city's housing stock; Rome's housing was similar but far less survives for obvious reasons. The second movie about the House of Diana. Ostia Antica's House of the Columns (IV.3.1) was built in the 3rd century AD. This is one of the better-preserved townhouses at Ostia Antica. It dates to the 3rd century AD but seems to have had some substantial additions in the 5th century. This tour of the ruins starts from the street outside.