A lecture given by Professor Simon Keay that will link with the BBC television documentary with which he has been closely involved. The lecture will be chaired by Professor Don Nutbeam, Vice-Chancellor.
Portus, the maritime port of Imperial Rome, was an entirely artificial creation and one of the great engineering feats of the ancient world. Recent work at the site has produced results that promise to change our understanding of the purpose of the port at different periods of antiquity. It now seems that the early port that was established by the emperor Claudius was used primarily as an anchorage to supplement the commercial capacity of the nearby river port of Ostia.
Recent work at Portus has produced results that promise to change our understanding of its purpose at different periods of antiquity. It now seems that the early port that was established by the emperor Claudius was used primarily as an anchorage to supplement the commercial capacity of the nearby river port of Ostia. Its enlargement under Trajan in the early 2nd century AD, by contrast, may have been an attempt to more closely control the supply of food and other material to Rome as well as providing infrastructure for the repair of military or commercial ships that were central to the functioning of the port. In the lead up to the period of Byzantine domination in Italy, by contrast, the port seems to much of its commercial functions, while gaining importance as an ecclesiastical centre. Since Portus was the maritime port of Imperial Rome, these advances are of importance to our understanding of Rome’s relationship to the Mediterranean. The research underpinning this work has been inter-disciplinary, involving such scientific techniques as geophysics, geo-archaeology, computer-based visualization and the study of human remains, as well as more traditional archaeological approaches, and involving colleagues from Southampton, Cambridge and Lyon.
The documentary “The Roman Empire: What lies Beneath” will be aired soon on BBC1.
University of Southampton
RSVP before 20 September
If you wish to attend this lecture please email Tracy Storey to reserve your place.