Ancient monuments in Rome
name=Roman Forum, Forum Romanum
location=Regione VIII "Forum Romanum"
date=Unknown Kingdom Era
:"This page refers to the main forum in the center of Rome. See
Imperial forumsor Other forums in Rome (below) for other forums in Romeand other Roman provincial cities.":"See Forum (Roman)for the type of building."
The Roman Forum, (Latin: "Forum Romanum") sometimes known by its original Latin title, is located between the
Palatine hilland the Capitoline hillof the city of Rome. It is the central area around which the ancient Roman civilization developed. Citizens referred to the location as the "Forum Magnum" or just the "Forum".
The oldest and most important structures of the ancient city are located in the forum, including its ancient former royal residency the
Regiaand the surrounding complex of the Vestal virgins. The Old Republic had its formal Comitiumthere where the senate, as well as Republican governmentbegan. The forum served as a city square and central hub where the people of Rome gathered for justice, and faith. The forum was also the economic hub of the city and considered to be the center of the Republic and Empire.
The area of the forum was originally a grassy
wetland. It was drained in the 7th century BCE by building the Cloaca Maxima, a large covered sewer system that drained into the Tiber River, as more people began to settle between the two hills.
The second king,
Numa Pompilius, is said to have begun the cult of Vesta, building its house and temple as well as the Regiaas the city's first royal palace. Later Tullius Hostiliuserected the Curia and enclosed the Comitium. In 600 BCE Tarquinius Priscushad the area paved for the first time.
Over time the Comitium was lost to the ever-growing Curia and
Julius Caesar's rearranging of the forum before his death in 44 BC. After Caesar's death Octaviusfinished the work.
Many of the forum's temples are from either the kingdom or the Republican era. Many have been destroyed and rebuilt several times.
Excavation and preservation
An anonymous 8th century traveler from Einsiedeln (now in Switzerland) reported that the Forum was already falling apart in his time. During the Middle Ages, though the memory of the "Forum Romanum" persisted, its monuments were for the most part buried under debris, and its location was designated the "Campo Vaccino" or "cattle field," located between the
Capitoline Hilland the Colosseum. The return of Pope Urban Vfrom Avignon in 1367 led to an increased interest in ancient monuments, partly for their moral lesson and partly as a quarry for new buildings being undertaken in Rome after a long lapse. Artists from the late 15th century drew the ruins in the Forum, antiquaries copied inscriptions in the 16th century, and a tentative excavation was begun in the late 18th century.
Sequences of remains of paving show that sediment eroded from the surrounding hills was already raising the level of the forum in early Republican times. Originally it had been
marshy ground, which was drained by the Tarquins with the " Cloaca Maxima". Its final travertinepaving, still visible, dates from the reign of Augustus.
A cardinal took measures to drain it again and built the "Alessandrine" neighborhood over it. But the excavation by
Carlo Fea, who began clearing the debris from the Arch of Septimius Severus in 1803, and archaeologists under the Napoleonic regime marked the beginning of clearing the Forum, which was only fully excavated in the early 20th century.
Remains from several centuries are shown together, due to the Roman practice of building over earlier ruins.
tructures within the Forum
The ruins within the forum clearly show how urban spaces were utilized during the Roman Age. The Roman Forum includes a modern statue of Julius Caesar and the following major monuments, buildings, and ancient
Temple of Castor and Pollux
Temple of Saturn
Temple of Vesta
Temple of Venus and Roma
Temple of Antoninus and Faustina
Temple of Caesar
Temple of Vespasian and Titus
Temple of Concord
Shrine of Venus Cloacina Basilicas
Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine
Arch of Septimius Severus
Arch of Titus
Arch of Tiberius
* Arch of Augustus
Regia, originally the residence of the kings of Rome or at least their main headquarters, and later the office of the Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of Roman religion.
Rostra, from where politicians made their speeches to the Roman citizens
Curia Hostilia(later rebuilt as the Curia Julia), the site of the Roman Senate
Clivus Capitolinuswas the street that started at the Arch of Tiberius, wound around the Temple of Saturn, and ended at Capitoline Hill.
Umbilicus Urbi, the designated centre of the city from which and to which all distances in Rome and the Roman Empire were measured
Milliarium AureumAll roads were considered to begin from this monument and all distances in the Roman Empire were measured relative to that point.
Lapis Niger, a shrine also known as the Black Stone
* Atrium Vestae, the house of the Vestal Virgins
processional street, the " Via Sacra", linked the Atrium Vetae with the Colosseum. By the end of the Empire, it had lost its everyday use but remained a sacred place.
Column of Phocas, the last monument built within the Forum
Tullianum, the prison used to hold various foreign leaders and generals.
Other forums in Rome
Other fora existed in other areas of the city; remains of most of them, sometimes substantial, still exist. The most important of these are a number of large imperial fora forming a complex with the Forum Romanum: the "Forum Iulium", "Forum Augustum", the "Forum Transitorium" (also: "Forum Nervae"), and
Trajan's Forum. The planners of the Mussolini eraremoved most of the Medieval and Baroque strata and built the "Via dei Fori Imperiali" road between the Imperial Fora and the Forum. There is also:
* The "
Forum Boarium", dedicated to the commerce of cattle, between the Palatine Hilland the river Tiber,
* The "
Forum Holitorium", dedicated to the commerce of herbs and vegetables, between the Capitoline Hill and the Servian walls,
* The "
Forum Piscarium", dedicated to the commerce of fish, between the Capitoline hill and the Tiber, in the area of the current Roman Ghetto,
* The "
Forum Suarium", dedicated to the commerce of pork, near the barracks of the cohortes urbanae in the northern part of the campus Martius,
* The "
Forum Vinarium", dedicated to the commerce of wine, in the area now of the "quartiere" Testaccio, between Aventine Hilland the Tiber.
Other markets were known but remain unidentifiable due to a lack of precise information on the function of the sites. Among these, the "Forum cuppedinis", was known as a general market for many goods.
* [http://dlib.etc.ucla.edu/projects/Forum Digital Roman Forum] , 3D reconstructions of the Roman Forum in ca. 400
* [http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/Europe/Italy/Lazio/Roma/Rome/Forum_Romanum/_Texts/Huelsen*/home.html Christian Hülsen: The Roman Forum] (at LacusCurtius; Hülsen was one of the principal excavators of the Forum)
* [http://www.arounder.eu/fori/lucaemartinafullscreen.mov QTVR fullscreen of Roman Forum by Tolomeus]
* [http://sights.seindal.dk/sight/4_Forum_Romanum.html Forum Romanum (Photo Archive)]
* [http://www.bestofrome.eu/pho/pho_for.html Images of the Forum Romanum]
* [http://www.euratlas.net/Roma/rome3-3.htm Map of the Forum in AD 100, blank or labelled]
* [http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/Europe/Italy/Lazio/Roma/Rome/_Texts/PLATOP*/Forum_Romanum.html Forum Romanum] (at LacusCurtius; article in Platner's "Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome")
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