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Portus – port of Roman Empire

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Portus - port of the Roman Empire
Portus - port of the Roman Empire

The most famous port of ancient Rome is probably the one in Ostia – the main port of the Republic of Rome. However, this river haven has not always been able to meet the needs of a rapidly growing metropolis. That is why in the first century CE Emperor Claudius founded Portus, an imperial seaport that was used continuously until the 8th century when a fleet resided there under the command of Pope Constantine (708-715).

  • Construction of the port was initiated in 46 A.D. and continued until its official inauguration in 64 CE under Emperor Nero.
  • The most important ports with which trade took place were, among others Carthage, Leptis Magna (Libya), Gades (Spain), Taracco, Massilia (modern Marseille), Alexandria, Seleucia Pieria and Piraeus.
  • Portus along with several other marinas constituted a specific port system, which also included Porticus Aemilia, Puteoli and the port of Ostia. All these ports were located quite close to each other and connected by numerous roads and canals (eg Via Flavia).
  • Trajan’s basin has over 200 ha.
  • The main goods transported to Rome by Portus were textiles, slaves, olive oil, marble, as well as wild animals.
  • The development of the port can be studied quite thoroughly thanks to the bricks that contained information regarding the office of which consul they were made.
Author: Natalia Wilczyńska (translated from Polish: Jakub Jasiński)

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