Square surrounded by colonnades, in which were placed the offices of the various collegia or guilds of boatmen, raftmen and others, which had a special importance at Ostia; the names of the guilds may still be read in inscriptions in the mosaic pavements of the chambers.
The boatmen early erected themselves into gilds.
Horace mentions it as the usual halt at the end of the first day's journey from Rome, and describes it as full of boatmen and cheating innkeepers.
To the east of the town a large Arab village had grown up, inhabited for the most part by natives of Egypt and Cyrenaica, who acted as boatmen, porters and servants, but since the fall of the Turkish government most of these have quitted the island; while about a mile off on the rising ground is the village of Khalepa, where the consuls and merchants reside.
The Notonectidae, or " water-boatmen " (q.v.) have convex ovoid bodies admirably adapted for aquatic life.