Aaron Tincher ’18 — We went to Ostia today to visit the ruins. Unlike Rome, Ostia has not been built over multiple times and therefore provides a good snapshot of what life would have been like in ancient Italy. There was one small hiccup in getting to Ostia, the transportation workers went on strike, and therefore the train was shut down. We were able to catch some cabs and make it to Ostia. In Ostia we heard four different presentations from students, and I gave a presentation on the Jewish Synagogue in Ostia. We learned about and saw the cult of Mithras, the market at Ostia, and the cult of Cybele. Each gave an interesting contrast to that of Christianity, it was important to visualize and try to understand how these religions competed with Christianity. We also ate a picnic lunch in the Ostian theatre; we ate a wide variety of authentic meats, cheeses, and bread. It was a great meal and good bonding experience for our group. We learned from class how Rome was such a cosmopolitan city and was very diverse. Visiting Ostia only reinforced what we learned, because we saw many different religions and learned how busy and diverse the market was by analyzing tiles painted on the floor. The tiles had pictures of different food, different animals, and different goods from different countries. Visiting Ostia also reinforced the idea that while ancient Rome was a hierarchical structure, the city was open enough to let lower class people rub up against the elites of society. I was not expecting Ostia to be as large as it was, and I was not expecting the ruins to be as intact as they were. Seeing the city helped replaced the mental image I had of ancient Rome with a real one, which will help in future studies of the ancient city. I have been impressed all week with the craftsmanship and building ability of the ancient Romans, and today was no exception. I am blown away with how detailed their work was and how long it is able to last, they truly don’t make it how they used to.