Battle of Ostia

The naval Battle of Ostia took place in 849 between the Muslim pirates and a Christian league of Papal, Neapolitan, and Amalfitan, and Gaetan ships.

News of a massing of Arab ships off Sardinia reached Rome early in 849, less than three years after the successful sack of Saint Peter's. A Christian armada, commanded by Caesar, son of Sergius I, was assembled off recently refortified Ostia. Pope Leo IV came out to bless it and communicate the troops.

After the Arab ships appeared, battle was joined with the Neapolitan galleys in the lead. Midway through the engagement, a storm divided the enemies and the Christian ships managed to return to port. The Muslims, however, were scattered far and wide, with many ships lost and others sent ashore. When the storm died down, the remnants of the Arab fleet were easily picked off, with many prisoners taken.

In the aftermath of the battle, much booty washed ashore and was pillaged by the locals. The prisoners taken in battle were sent to work in chain gangs building the Leonine Wall which was to encompass the Vatican Hill. The battle was an important event in the history of Italy and Christianity. It united the Christian states of central and southern Italy in a joint cause against the Muslims, which eventually led to their expulsion from the peninsula. It also strengthened the papacy: especially for the resultant walls that went up to protect Saint Peter's. Coming off the only Muslim sack of Rome, it helped reverse the tide of the war and raise Christian morale. For all this, it is one of the few events to occur in southern Italy during the ninth century that is still remembered today, largely for the walls named after Leo and for the Renaissance painting of Raphael.


*Llewellyn, Peter. "Rome in the Dark Ages". London: Faber and Faber, 1970.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • The Battle of Ostia — Infobox Painting| title=The Battle of Ostia artist=Workshop of Raphael year=1514 1515 type=Fresco height=? width=770 city=Vatican City museum=Apostolic Palace The Battle of Ostia is a painting by the workshop of the Italian renaissance artist… …   Wikipedia

  • Ostia Antica — Marketsquare of Ostia Antica. Ostia Antica is a large archeological site, close to the modern suburb of Ostia (Rome), that was the location of the harbour city of ancient Rome, which is approximately 30 km to the northeast. Ostia in Latin… …   Wikipedia

  • Ostia Antica (district) — For other places with the same name, see Ostia (disambiguation). The Castle of Julius II in Ostia Antica …   Wikipedia

  • Ostia and Velletri — • Suburbicarian diocese near Rome Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Ostia and Velletri     Ostia and Velletri     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Battle of the Standard — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of the Standard caption=Battlefield monument at gbmapping|SE360977 date=22 August 1138 place= Cowton Moor near Northallerton in Yorkshire result=English victory combatant1=Kingdom of England… …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Ager Falernus — Infobox Military Conflict conflict=Battle of Ager Falernus partof=the Second Punic War date= Summer 217 BC place= Mount Callicula, Campania, present day Italy result= Carthaginian victory combatant1=Carthage combatant2=Roman Republic commander1=… …   Wikipedia

  • Roma-Ostia Half Marathon — A view on Via Cristoforo Colombo, where the race begins Date Late February Location Rome …   Wikipedia

  • Second Battle of El Alamein — Part of Western Desert Campaign …   Wikipedia

  • Raphael Rooms — The four Stanze di Raffaello ( Raphael s rooms ) in the Palace of the Vatican form a suite of reception rooms, the public part of the papal apartments. They are famous for their frescoes, painted by Raphael and his workshop. Together with… …   Wikipedia

  • Papal Navy — The Papal Navy (Italian: Marina Pontificia, Pontifical Navy ) was the maritime force of the Papal States. Loosely construed, it was in sporadic existence from the Battle of Ostia (849) during the pontificate of Leo IV until the ascension of Pope… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.