Journal of Roman Studies

Research Article

Harbour and River Boats of Ancient Rome

Lionel Cassona1

a1 New York University.

From the moment Rome's port city of Ostia was founded, boats of all kinds were needed to take care of the traffic about the Tiber's mouth and up-river to the capital. As the centuries passed, and both Rome and Ostia grew, the number and variety of such boats increased apace.

Ancient writers and, more important, inscriptions give the names of many of these craft and of the men who specialized in operating the particular types. We hear of codicarii, lenuncularii, scapharii and so on. What were their boats like? What special service did each perform?