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Sunrise, Roman Forum, Rome, Italy

Roman Forum

General information About the Roman Forum</h2?

The Roman Forum was originally a swampy lowland, but an ancient sewer system built in the 6th century B.C. drained the area and the water flowed through canals into the Tiber. The construction of the first buildings of the forum was carried out on the place where meetings were held, the market worked and justice was administered.

Caesar began to expand the square; Emperor Augustus continued the work; Augustus’ successors erected new magnificent buildings. Roman Forum, shimmering marble and shining gilt, became the center of the Roman world. But in the VI century. began a gradual decline. During the Renaissance, valuable materials were plundered to decorate new palaces and churches. Up to the XVIII century. here grazed cattle Roman shepherds – and the Forum was called the pasture for cows. Around the same time, systematic excavations began, from a depth of 10-15 meters to the light of God extracted ancient ruins.

Today, the entrance to the Forum is possible either from Constantine’s Arc de Triomphe or from Via dei Fori Imperiali.

Hours of operation:
Daily from 9.00 a.m;
closes 2 hours before sunset

Buildings of the Roman Forum

Basilica Aemilia

The censors Marcus Aemilius Lepidus and Marcus Fulvius Nobilior built the Basilica Aemilia in 179 AD to relieve trade in the Forum. It was presumably destroyed in the early 5th century during the conquest of Rome by Alaric, king of the Visigoths.


Opposite is the Curia, built by King Tullus Hostilius of ancient Rome for the meeting of senators, which acquired its present appearance under Emperor Diocletian (303 AD). The bronze doors of the basilica were moved to the Cathedral of St. John Lateran in the XVII century; the marble mosaic floor, the side rows of steps for senators and the podium in the end part go back to the beginning of the IV century.

Two blocks with reliefs left here only for support allow us to imagine how the Forum once looked like. A black stone was discovered between the orator’s rostrum and the Curia, believed to mark the underground rooms revered as the tomb of Romulus.

Septimius Arch

In 203 AD, Emperor Septimius Severus’ sons Septimius Bassianus (Caracalla) and Geta erected the mighty three-span Triumphal Arch of Septimius Severus in honor of the tenth anniversary of their father’s reign. Inscriptions on the attic glorify the victories of the emperor and his sons over the Parthians, Arabs and Assyrians. Later Caracalla did not want to share power with his brother and, having killed Geta, destroyed his name in these inscriptions.


Next to the arch is the rostra, an oratorical tribune from the Golden Age, decorated with bows from ships captured by the Romans. In front of it is a Corinthian column erected in 608 in memory of the Byzantine Emperor Phocas: it was he who gave the Pantheon to Pope Boniface IV to convert it into a temple.

Temple of Julius Caesar

The temple of the officially deified Julius Caesar forms the second narrow side of the square. After Caesar’s assassination in the Ides of March, 44 BC, his body was burned on this site, and here Mark Antony promulgated Caesar’s will. Emperor Octavian erected a temple with a second oratorical tribune on the site in 29 AD.

Temple of Castor and Pollux

Nearby is a podium temple in honor of the twins Castor and Pollux, patrons of the city. The three Greek marble columns that have survived from it are considered one of the symbols of Rome. Mortar was first used in the construction of the podium.

Basilica Julia

The Basilica of Julius was erected opposite the Basilica Aemilia – also on the longitudinal side of the Forum (169 BC); under Julius Caesar it was renovated as a judicial basilica. On its steps the Romans spent their time playing various games, the marked out fields for them can be clearly distinguished.

Temple of Saturn

On the other side of the basilica, eight Ionic granite columns are the remains of the Temple of Saturn, which served as a repository for state treasures in the Roman Republic. Built in the I century BC. tabularium forms the transition from the forum to the Capitol. The ruins below the building are the portico, where the statues of the twelve major gods stood, and the remains of the Temple of Vespasian and the Temple of Concordia (concordia); the latter was erected in 367 B.C. as a symbol of reconciliation between patricians and plebeians and was renewed in the early 1st century A.D. by Emperor Tiberius.

Temple of Antoninus and Faustina

To the right of the exit from the forum on the Via dei Fori Imperiali stands the mighty temple of Antoninus and Faustina. It was erected in 141 AD by the Emperor Antoninus Pius after the death of his wife, Empress Faustina, and after his own death, from 161 AD onwards, the temple was used to worship the officially deified emperor. Transformed in the 11th century into the church of San Lorenzo in Miraida, the temple with its 17 m high columns, reliefs, ornaments and frieze is considered the best preserved in the Roman Forum.

The Temple of Vesta

In a single round temple burned the Sacred Fire kept by the Vestals. On the Roman New Year, March 1, the fire was first extinguished in dwellings and then re-lit from the fire in the Temple of Vesta.

House of the Vestals

In the neighboring House of Vestaloki in seclusion lived the priestesses of Vesta; the girls were trained to serve in the temple at the age of 6 to 10 years; they were chosen by the Great Pontiff himself among the daughters of the most noble families of the city. As a rule, they served as vestals for 30 years.

Basilica of Maxentius

The powerful arches of the Basilica of Maxentius are a grandiose example of ancient pavilion-type buildings. The construction of the Basilica was started in 306 by Emperor Maxentius and finished in 330 by his successor Constantine. The building was intended for court proceedings and business meetings. The bronze roof was stolen in the 7th century, and an earthquake in the 9th century hastened the destruction. In the western apse stood the monumental statue of Constantine, fragments of which have already been mentioned.

Titus Triumphal Arch<?h3>

In front of the exit to the Colosseum stands the Arch of Titus Triumphal Arch, erected in honor of Titus’ victory in the Jewish War. Titus, son of Emperor Vespasian, conquered and destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD. Two bas-reliefs inside the arch span depict Titus’ triumphal procession with trophies, including a menorah (menorah) from the destroyed Temple in Jerusalem.