Quantcast
Connect with us

Archaeologists uncover secrets of Portus, once gateway to Rome

Published

on

University of Southampton team finds evidence explaining why opulent Roman empire port was dismantled in 6th century

British archeologists digging near Rome have built up an accurate picture of Portus, the once-mighty port that could host 350 ships at a time and kept the ravenous capital of the Roman empire supplied with grain, wine, oil, slaves and luxuries from around the world.

The team says it has also unraveled the mystery of how the site’s luxurious palace and huge warehouse vanished almost overnight, leaving no trace of the port’s scale and wealth.

Rather than being burned down by invading hordes as the empire declined, or left to disintegrate, a team lead by the University of Southampton has revealed that Portus was systematically demolished in the 6th century by the Byzantines – the eastern emperors who fought the invading Ostrogoths to regain control of Rome.

Experts discovered that the magnificent, three-story palace was flattened and 50ft walls pushed over. “By the 6th century the Byzantines felt the port could be a threat as it was vulnerable to being occupied by the Ostrogoths, so they took the decision to destroy it themselves, said Simon Keay from Southampton University, who heads the dig.

ADVERTISEMENT

Built by the emperor Trajan in the second century, Portus included a mile-wide main basinthat has now silted up, and an inner, hexagonal basin that still exists as a lake in woodland at the end of the runway of Rome’s Fiumicino airport – its perfect hexagonal shape clearly visible from above. The remains of an amphlitheatre and an enormous, 260-yard long warehouse have also been discovered.

Keay said Portus’s importance to Rome was proven by the team’s excavation of the 60-room imperial palace covering nine acres. It was fronted by a long colonnade and boasted a first floor courtyard with a pool fed by a cistern below – a level of grandeur that matched Hadrian’s villa near Rome. “The palace shows how central Portus was to the city and to making sure Rome was fed,” said Keay.

But more impressive was evidence that the palace and the warehouse were torn down methodically by the Byzantines, who gained and lost control of Portus on various occasions during their struggles with the Ostrogoths.

ADVERTISEMENT

“These were solid structures, and you really must have wanted to pull them down,” said Keay, who discovered walls flattened by the Byzantines as they sought to reduce the danger of the port being occupied and put to use by their foes.

“It will have needed a firm decision and the Byzantines will have really worked on it,” he added. “Portus was a great hub, but as Rome wound down, Portus mirrored it.”

© Guardian News and Media 2013


Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘Bond is dead’: White dudes flip out over casting of a black woman as next Agent 007

Published

on

On Monday, the Daily Beast reported that the new 007 -- the special agent in the James Bond series -- will be portrayed by the black actress Lashana Lynch.

The announcement set off predictably racist and sexist reactions.

Perhaps the most prominent right-winger to voice his displeasure was Ben Shapiro, who complained that it didn't make sense for Bond to be a woman because of the character's signature seduction moves.

"Bond is about the guns and the girls," Shapiro said, noting that a woman in a seductive role was not realistic.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

REVEALED: The government just ‘dramatically’ expanded its investigation of Jeffrey Epstein

Published

on

Federal investigators have been able to “dramatically expand” their investigation into financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein as prosecutors bring sex trafficking charges against him, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Rossmiller said in court on Monday.

The government revealed the expansion of the case at the day’s bail hearing. In searching the defendant’s house, investigators found an old passport with Epstein picture and a fake name that listed Saudi Arabia as the location of his residence, the prosecutor said.

The judge was surprised at this revelation, NBC News reported, asking the attorney, “Say again?”

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Will Hurd becomes first GOP lawmaker to condemn Trump’s ‘racist and xenophobic’ attacks on Dems

Published

on

Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) on Monday became the first Republican lawmaker to unequivocally condemn President Donald Trump's racist attacks against four Democratic lawmakers.

When asked by CNN's Christiane Amanpour about Trump's weekend tweets, in which he told Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) to “go back” to their countries despite the fact that all four are American citizens, Hurd did not hold back on repudiating the president's statements.

"Those tweets are racist, and xenophobic," he said. "They’re also inaccurate. The four women he’s referring to are actually citizens of the United States."

Continue Reading
 
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

close-image