Sunday, January 21, 2007

Ostia Antica and the Appian Way

We successfully made it from Athens to Rome very early friday morning. Unfortunately Rome doesn’t have as much internet access as I was hoping for so these last three posts are a bit late. (I'll post one now and the remaining ones tomorrow when I get back to the States.)

After landing in Rome we immediately traveled down to Ostia Antica. Ostia was the ancient port city for Rome. Paul’s journey into Rome started down in the boot of Italy so he wouldn’t have come in through Ostia. However, if Paul was released at the end of his two year imprisonment (which I believe he was) and if he did travel on to Spain (which some of the Epistles hint at and Church history states that he did) than he would have most likely departed from this seaport.

Ostia has one of the few known (and best preserved) synagogues from the 1st century AD in the Roman world.

The early church (pre-Constantine) in Rome met in one of three locations: villas, synagogues or apartment blocks. Below is the picture of the remains of an apartment block. Never higher than 50 feet, apartments offered absolutely zero privacy. Since the poorest lived on the top floors, it is likely that’s where the Christians met as well.

We then left Ostia and drove to within a few miles of the city walls of ancient Rome and walked the final two and a half miles of the Appian Way which leads into Rome. This is the road Paul took to enter Rome.

Roman law mandates that the dead are buried outside of the city. As Paul was walking up the Appian Way and about to enter into Rome he would have seen thousands of graves such as the one below lining the road. As he was journeying to Rome a prisoner to be tried and likely executed, I imagine this was incredibly difficult emotionally.

This is me on the ancient steps of the Appian Way, just a few miles outside of Rome. Paul walked these very steps.

Hundreds of thousands of graves like this one, line the entrance into a city.

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