Fachbereich Geschichtswissenschaft
Internal Migration in Port Cities. Ostia ca. A.D. 100-500. An Insight from the Archaeology and Epigraphy?

My research focused on the possible connections between urban cult activity, epigraphy and graffiti, and the presence of internal migrants in that town or city. My work concentrated on the port town of Ostia, a hub for such migrants, using Republican Delos (a centre with abundant religious and epigraphic evidence for a 'foreign' presence) as a comparison. Internal migrants in Ostia are defined here as individuals from within the Roman empire but originating from beyond Ostia, Rome and Italy, who decide to live permanently or semi-permanently in the port town. It was found that the presence of non-Roman cult activity on its own gave only some evidence for new migrant presence, not broader migrant flows and longer-term settlement and acculturation. Rather, it appears that only when we look at the frequency and nature of domestic and workplace shrines, combined with onomastics from epigraphy and graffiti, can we hope to get a clearer picture of these wider phenomena. An important step towards understanding empire-wide migration flows and religious transfer can thus be achieved by examining other entrepots within the Roman sphere in this way, as well as examining major cities such as Rome, Alexandria and Constantinople.

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