The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum (Italian: Foro Romano), is a rectangular forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum.
For centuries the Forum was the center of day-to-day life in Rome: the site of triumphal processions and elections; the venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches; and the nucleus of commercial affairs. Here statues and monuments commemorated the city's great men. The teeming heart of ancient Rome, it has been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world, and in all history. Located in the small valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, the Forum today is a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and intermittent archaeological excavations attracting 4.5 million or more sightseers yearly.
Many of the oldest and most important structures of the ancient city were located on or near the Forum. The Roman Kingdom's earliest shrines and temples were located on the southeastern edge. These included the ancient former royal residence, the Regia (8th century BC), and the Temple of Vesta (7th century BC), as well as the surrounding complex of the Vestal Virgins, all of which were rebuilt after the rise of imperial Rome.
Other archaic shrines to the northwest, such as the Umbilicus Urbis and the Vulcanal (Shrine of Vulcan), developed into the Republic's formal Comitium (assembly area). This is where the Senate—as well as Republican government itself—began. The Senate House, government offices, tribunals, temples, memorials and statues gradually cluttered the area.
Over time the archaic Comitium was replaced by the larger adjacent Forum and the focus of judicial activity moved to the new Basilica Aemilia (179 BC). Some 130 years later, Julius Caesar built the Basilica Julia, along with the new Curia Julia, refocusing both the judicial offices and the Senate itself. This new Forum, in what proved to be its final form, then served as a revitalized city square where the people of Rome could gather for commercial, political, judicial and religious pursuits in ever greater numbers.
Eventually much economic and judicial business would transfer away from the Forum Romanum to the larger and more extravagant structures (Trajan's Forum and the Basilica Ulpia) to the north. The reign of Constantine the Great saw the construction of the last major expansion of the Forum complex—the Basilica of Maxentius (312 AD). This returned the political center to the Forum until the fall of the Western Roman Empire almost two centuries later.
Forum Romanum (Latin)
|Surviving structures||Tabularium, Gemonian stairs, Tarpeian Rock, Temple of Saturn, Temple of Vespasian and Titus, Arch of Septimius Severus, Curia Julia, Rostra, Basilica Aemilia, Forum Main Square, Basilica Iulia, Temple of Caesar, Regia, Temple of Castor and Pollux, Temple of Vesta|
|Imperial comitium||Curia Julia, Rostra Augusti, Umbilicus Urbi, Milliarium Aureum, Lapis Niger, Basilica of Maxentius|
Unlike the later imperial fora in Rome—which were self-consciously modelled on the ancient Greek plateia (πλατεῖα) public plaza or town square—the Roman Forum developed gradually, organically, and piecemeal over many centuries. This is the case despite attempts, with some success, to impose some order there, by Sulla, Julius Caesar, Augustus and others. By the Imperial period, the large public buildings that crowded around the central square had reduced the open area to a rectangle of about 130 by 50 meters.
Its long dimension was oriented northwest to southeast and extended from the foot of the Capitoline Hill to that of the Velian Hill. The Forum's basilicas during the Imperial period—the Basilica Aemilia on the north and the Basilica Julia on the south—defined its long sides and its final form. The Forum proper included this square, the buildings facing it and, sometimes, an additional area (the Forum Adjectum) extending southeast as far as the Arch of Titus.
Originally, the site of the Forum had been a marshy lake where waters from the surrounding hills drained. This was drained by the Tarquins with the Cloaca Maxima. Because of its location, sediments from both the flooding of the Tiber and the erosion of the surrounding hills have been raising the level of the Forum floor for centuries. Excavated sequences of remains of paving show that sediment eroded from the surrounding hills was already raising the level in early Republican times.
As the ground around buildings rose, residents simply paved over the debris that was too much to remove. Its final travertine paving, still visible, dates from the reign of Augustus. Excavations in the 19th century revealed one layer on top of another. The deepest level excavated was 3.60 meters above sea level. Archaeological finds show human activity at that level with the discovery of carbonized wood.
An important function of the Forum, during both Republican and Imperial times, was to serve as the culminating venue for the celebratory military processions known as Triumphs. Victorious generals entered the city by the western Triumphal Gate (Porta Triumphalis) and circumnavigated the Palatine Hill (counterclockwise) before proceeding from the Velian Hill down the Via Sacra and into the Forum.
From here they would mount the Capitoline Rise (Clivus Capitolinus) up to the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the summit of the Capitol. Lavish public banquets ensued back down on the Forum. (In addition to the Via Sacra, the Forum was accessed by a number of storied roads and streets, including the Vicus Jugarius, Vicus Tuscus, Argiletum, and Via Nova.)
The original, low-lying, grassy wetland of the Forum was drained in the 7th century BC with the building of the Cloaca Maxima, a large covered sewer system that emptied into the Tiber, as more people began to settle between the two hills.
According to tradition, the Forum's beginnings are connected with the alliance between Romulus, the first king of Rome controlling the Palatine Hill, and his rival, Titus Tatius, who occupied the Capitoline Hill. An alliance formed after combat had been halted by the prayers and cries of the Sabine women. Because the valley lay between the two settlements, it was the designated place for the two peoples to meet. Since the early Forum area included pools of stagnant water, the most easily accessible area was the northern part of the valley which was designated as the Comitium. It was here at the Vulcanal that, according to the story, the two parties laid down their weapons and formed an alliance.
The Forum was outside the walls of the original Sabine fortress, which was entered through the Porta Saturni. These walls were mostly destroyed when the two hills were joined. The original Forum functioned as an open-air market abutting on the Comitium, but eventually outgrew its day-to-day shopping and marketplace role. As political speeches, civil trials, and other public affairs began to take up more and more space in the Forum, additional fora throughout the city began to emerge to expand on specific needs of the growing population. Fora for cattle, pork, vegetables and wine specialised in their niche products and the associated deities around them.
Rome's second king, Numa Pompilius (r. 715–673 BC), is said to have begun the cult of Vesta, building its house and temple as well as the Regia as the city's first royal palace. Later Tullus Hostilius (r. 673–642 BC) enclosed the Comitium around the old Etruscan temple where the senate would meet at the site of the Sabine conflict. He is said to have converted that temple into the Curia Hostilia close to where the Senate originally met in an old Etruscan hut. In 600 BC Tarquinius Priscus had the area paved for the first time.
During the Republican period the Comitium continued to be the central location for all judicial and political life in the city. However, in order to create a larger gathering place, the Senate began expanding the open area between the Comitium and the Temple of Vesta by purchasing existing private homes and removing them for public use. Building projects of several consuls repaved and built onto both the Comitium and the adjacent central plaza that was becoming the Forum.
The 5th century BC witnessed the earliest Forum temples with known dates of construction: the Temple of Saturn (497 BC) and the Temple of Castor and Pollux (484 BC). The Temple of Concord was added in the following century, possibly by the soldier and statesman Marcus Furius Camillus. A long-held tradition of speaking from the elevated speakers' Rostra—originally facing north towards the Senate House to the assembled politicians and elites—put the orator's back to the people assembled in the Forum. A tribune known as Caius Licinius (consul in 361 BC) is said to have been the first to turn away from the elite towards the Forum, an act symbolically repeated two centuries later by Gaius Gracchus.
This began the tradition of locus popularis, in which even young nobles were expected to speak to the people from the Rostra. Gracchus was thus credited with (or accused of) disturbing the mos maiorum ("custom of the fathers/ancestors") in ancient Rome. When Censor in 318 BC, Gaius Maenius provided buildings in the Forum neighborhood with balconies, which were called after him maeniana, in order that the spectators might better view the games put on within the temporary wooden arenas set up there.
The Tribune benches were placed on the Forum Romanum, as well. First, they stood next to the senate house; during the late Roman Republic they were placed in front of the Basilica Porcia.
The earliest basilicas (large, aisled halls) were introduced to the Forum in 184 BC by Marcus Porcius Cato, which began the process of "monumentalizing" the site. The Basilica Fulvia was dedicated on the north side of the Forum square in 179 BC. (It was rebuilt and renamed several times, as Basilica Fulvia et Aemilia, Basilica Paulli, Basilica Aemilia). Nine years later, the Basilica Sempronia was dedicated on the south side.
Many of the traditions from the Comitium, such as the popular assemblies, funerals nobles and games, were transferred to the Forum as it developed. Especially notable was the move of the comitia tributa, then the focus of popular politics, in 145 BC. Particularly important and unprecedented political events took place in 133 BC when, in the midst of riots in and around the Forum, the Tribune Tiberius Gracchus was lynched there by a group of Senators.
In the 80s BC, during the dictatorship of Sulla, major work was done on the Forum including the raising of the plaza level by almost a meter and the laying of permanent marble paving stones. (Remarkably, this level of the paving was maintained more or less intact for over a millennium: at least until the sack of Rome by Robert Guiscard and his Normans in 1084, when neglect finally allowed debris to begin to accumulate unabated.)
In 78 BC, the immense Tabularium (Records Hall) was built at the Capitoline Hill end of the Forum by order of the consuls for that year, M. Aemilius Lepidus and Q. Lutatius Catulus. In 63 BC, Cicero delivered his famous speech denouncing the companions of the conspirator Catiline at the Forum (in the Temple of Concord, whose spacious hall was sometimes used as a meeting place by the Senators). After the verdict, they were led to their deaths at the Tullianum, the nearby dungeon which was the only known state prison of the ancient Romans.
Over time, the Comitium was lost to the ever-growing Curia and to Julius Caesar's rearrangements before his assassination in 44 BC. That year, two supremely dramatic events were witnessed by the Forum, perhaps the most famous ever to transpire there: Marc Antony's funeral oration for Caesar (immortalized in Shakespeare's famous play) was delivered from the partially completed speaker's platform known as the New Rostra and the public burning of Caesar's body occurred on a site directly across from the Rostra around which the Temple to the Deified Caesar was subsequently built by his great-nephew Octavius (Augustus). Almost two years later, Marc Antony added to the notoriety of the Rostra by publicly displaying the severed head and right hand of his enemy Cicero there.
After Julius Caesar's death, and the end of the subsequent Civil Wars, Augustus would finish his great-uncle's work, giving the Forum its final form. This included the southeastern end of the plaza where he constructed the Temple of Divus Iulius and the Arch of Augustus there (both in 29 BC). The Forum was witness to the assassination of a Roman Emperor in 69 AD: Galba had set out from the palace to meet rebels but was so feeble that he had to be carried in a litter. He was immediately met by a troop of his rival Otho's cavalry near the Lacus Curtius in the Forum, where he was killed.
During these early Imperial times, much economic and judicial business transferred away from the Forum to larger and more extravagant structures to the north. After the building of Trajan's Forum (110 AD), these activities transferred to the Basilica Ulpia.
The white marble Arch of Septimius Severus was added at the northwest end of the Forum close to the foot of the Capitoline Hill and adjacent to the old, vanishing Comitium. It was dedicated in 203 AD to commemorate the Parthian victories of Emperor Septimius Severus and his two sons, and is one of the most visible landmarks there today. The Emperor Diocletian (r. 284-305) was the last of the great builders of Rome's city infrastructure and he did not omit the Forum from his program. By his day it had become highly cluttered with honorific memorials. He refurbished and reorganized it, building anew the Temple of Saturn, Temple of Vesta and the Curia. The last had recently burned and Diocletian's version is the one that can still be visited today.
The reign of Constantine the Great saw the completion of the construction of the Basilica of Maxentius (312 AD), the last significant expansion of the Forum complex. This restored much of the political focus to the Forum until the fall of the Western Roman Empire almost two centuries later.
The city's estimated population fell from 750,000–800,000 to 450,000 in 450 A.D. to 250,000 by 500 A.D. The populated areas contracted to the river. Strenuous efforts were made to keep the Forum (and the Palatine structures) intact, not without some success. In the 6th century some of the old edifices within the Forum began to be transformed into Christian churches. On 1 August 608, the Column of Phocas, a Roman monumental column, was erected before the Rostra and dedicated or rededicated in honour of the Eastern Roman Emperor Phocas. This proved to be the last monumental addition made to the Forum. The emperor Constans who visited the city in 665 A.D. stripped the lead roofs which exposed the monumental buildings to the weather and hastened deterioration. By the 8th century the whole space was surrounded by Christian churches taking the place of the abandoned and ruined temples.
An anonymous 8th-century traveller 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 Hill and the Colosseum.
After the 8th century the structures of the Forum were dismantled, re-arranged and used to build feudal towers and castles within the local area. In the 13th century these rearranged structures were torn down and the site became a dumping ground. This, along with the debris from the dismantled medieval buildings and ancient structures, helped contribute to the rising ground level.
The return of Pope Urban V from 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.
The Roman Forum was a site for many artists and architects studying in Rome to sketch during the 17th through the 19th century. The focus of many of these works produced by visiting Northern artists was on current state of the Roman Forum, known locally as the "Campo Vaccino", or "cow field", due to the livestock who grazed on the largely ignored section of the city. Claude Lorrain's 1636 Campo Vaccino shows the extent to which the building in the forum were buried under sediment. From about 1740 to his death in 1772, the artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi worked on a series of 135 etchings depicting 18th-century Rome. Renowned British artist J.M.W. Turner painted Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino in 1839, following his final trip to the city.
The excavation by Carlo Fea, who began clearing the debris from the Arch of Septimius Severus in 1803 marked the beginning of clearing the Forum. Excavations were officially begun in 1898 by the Italian government under the Minister of Public Instruction, Dr. Baccelli. The 1898 restoration had three main objectives: restore fragmented pieces of columns, bases, and cornices to their original locations in the Forum, reach the lowest possible level of the Forum without damaging existing structures, and to identify already half-excavated structures, along with the senate house and Basilica Aemilia. These state-funded excavations were led by Dr. Giacomo Boni until he died in 1925, stopping briefly during World War I.
In 2008 heavy rains caused structural damage to the modern concrete covering holding the "Black Stone" marble together over the Lapis Niger in Rome. Excavations in the forum continue, with new discoveries by archeologists working in the forum since 2009 leading to questions about Rome's exact age. One of these recent discoveries includes a tufa wall near the Lapis Niger used to channel water from nearby aquifers. Around the wall, pottery remains and food scraps allowed archeologists to date the likely construction of the wall to the 8th or 9th century BC, over a century before the traditional date of Rome's founding.
The Roman Forum has been a source of inspiration for visual artists for centuries. Especially notable is Giambattista Piranesi who created (1748–76) a set of 135 etchings—the Vedute di Roma (Views of Rome)—in which the Forum figured significantly. (Many of the features documented in Piranesi's views have now vanished.)
The Temple of Saturn was one of the more significant buildings located in the Roman Forum. It is believed to have been built in 497 BC and located in Regione VIII Forum Romanum. Little is known about when the Temple was built, as the original temple is believed to have been burnt down by the Gauls early in the fourth century. However it is understood that it was also rebuilt by Munatius Plancus in 42 BC. The eight remaining columns are all that is left of the illustrious temple. Though its exact date of completion is not known, it stands as one of the oldest buildings in the Forum Romanum. The temple originally was to be built to the god Jupiter but was replaced with Saturn; historians are unsure why. The building was not used solely for religious practice; the temple also functioned as a bank for the Roman Society.
The Temple stood in the forum along with four other temples. It stood with the Temple of Concord, Vesta, Castor and Pollox. At each temple, animal sacrifices and rituals were done in front of the religious sites. These acts were meant to provide good fortune to those entering and using the temple. Since the Temple of Saturn also functioned as a bank, and since Saturn was the god of the Golden Age, the sacrifices were made in hope of financial success.
Inside the Temple there were multiple vaults for the public and private ones for individuals. There were also sections of the Temple for public speaking events and feasts which often followed the sacrifices.
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 Nerva), and Trajan's Forum. The planners of the Mussolini era removed most of the Medieval and Baroque strata and built the Via dei Fori Imperiali road between the Imperial Fora and the Forum. There are also:
Other markets were known but remain unidentifiable due to a lack of precise information on each site's function.
The Arch of Septimius Severus (Italian: Arco di Settimio Severo) at the northwest end of the Roman Forum is a white marble triumphal arch dedicated in 203 to commemorate the Parthian victories of Emperor Septimius Severus and his two sons, Caracalla and Geta, in the two campaigns against the Parthians of 194/195 and 197–199.
After the death of Septimius Severus, his sons Caracalla and Geta were initially joint emperors. Caracalla had Geta assassinated in 212; Geta's memorials were destroyed and all images or mentions of him were removed from public buildings and monuments. Accordingly, Geta's image and inscriptions referring to him were removed from the arch.Arch of Titus
The Arch of Titus (Italian: Arco di Tito; Latin: Arcus Titi) is a 1st-century AD honorific arch, located on the Via Sacra, Rome, just to the south-east of the Roman Forum. It was constructed in c. AD 82 by the Emperor Domitian shortly after the death of his older brother Titus to commemorate Titus's victories, including the Siege of Jerusalem (AD 70).The arch has provided the general model for many triumphal arches erected since the 16th century—perhaps most famously it is the inspiration for the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.The Arch provides one of the few contemporary depictions of Temple period artifacts. It became a symbol of the Jewish diaspora, and the menorah depicted on the Arch served as the model for the menorah used on the emblem of the state of Israel.Basilica Aemilia
The Basilica Aemilia (Italian: Basilica Emilia) was a civil basilica in the Roman Forum, in Rome, Italy. Today only the plan and some rebuilt elements can be seen. The Basilica was 100 meters (328 ft) long and about 30 meters (98 ft) wide. Along the sides were two orders of 16 arches, and it was accessed through one of three entrances.Basilica of Maxentius
The Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine (Italian: Basilica di Massenzio), sometimes known as the Basilica Nova—meaning "new basilica"—or Basilica of Maxentius, is an ancient building in the Roman Forum, Rome, Italy. It was the largest building in the Forum.Curia Julia
The Curia Julia (Latin: Curia Iulia, Italian: Curia Iulia) is the third named Curia, or Senate House, in the ancient city of Rome. It was built in 44 BC, when Julius Caesar replaced Faustus Cornelius Sulla's reconstructed Curia Cornelia, which itself had replaced the Curia Hostilia. Caesar did so to redesign both spaces within the Comitium and the Roman Forum. The alterations within the Comitium reduced the prominence of the Senate and cleared the original space. The work, however, was interrupted by Caesar's assassination at the Theatre of Pompey, where the Senate had been meeting temporarily while the work was completed. The project was eventually finished by Caesar's successor, Augustus Caesar, in 29 BC.The Curia Julia is one of a handful of Roman structures that survive mostly intact. This is due to its conversion into the basilica of Sant'Adriano al Foro in the 7th century and several later restorations. However, the roof, the upper elevations of the side walls and the rear façade are modern and date from the remodeling of the deconsecrated church, in the 1930s.List of monuments of the Roman Forum
This list of monuments of the Roman Forum (Forum Romanum) includes existing and former buildings, memorials and other built structures in the famous Roman public plaza during its 1,400 years of active use (8th century BC — ca 600 AD). It is divided into three categories: (1) those ancient structures that can be seen today as ruins or reconstructions; (2) ancient structures that have vanished or exist only as fragments; and (3) churches of the later, Christian, era.
Many of the Forum's monuments were originally built in the periods of the Kingdom (753 BC-509 BC) and the Republic (509 BC-27 BC), although most were destroyed and rebuilt several times. The existing ruins generally date from the Imperial period (27 BC - 476 AD).Milliarium Aureum
The Milliarium Aureum (Classical Latin: [miːllɪˈaːrɪʊm ˈau̯rɛʊm]; Italian: Miliario Aureo), also known by the translation Golden Milestone, was a monument, probably of marble or gilded bronze, erected by the Emperor Caesar Augustus near the Temple of Saturn in the central Forum of Ancient Rome. All roads were considered to begin at this monument and all distances in the Roman Empire were measured relative to it. On it perhaps were listed all the major cities in the empire and distances to them, though the monument's precise location and inscription remain matters of debate among historians.
According to Philip Schaff, the phrase "all roads lead to Rome" is a reference to the Milliarium Aureum—the specific point to which all roads were said to lead. A marble structure speculated to be the base of the milestone is present in the Roman Forum.Philippi
Philippi (; Greek: Φίλιπποι, Philippoi) was a major city northwest of the nearby island, Thasos. Its original name was Crenides (Greek: Κρηνῖδες, Krenides "Fountains") after its establishment by Thasian colonists in 360/359 BC. The city was renamed by Philip II of Macedon in 356 BC and abandoned in the 14th century after the Ottoman conquest. The present municipality, Filippoi, is located near the ruins of the ancient city and is part of the region of East Macedonia and Thrace in Kavala, Greece. It was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016.Regia
The Regia was a two-part structure in Ancient Rome lying along the Sacra Via at the edge of the Roman Forum that originally served as the residence or one of the main headquarters of kings of Rome and later as the office of the Pontifex Maximus, the highest religious official of Rome. It occupied a triangular patch of terrain between the Temple of Vesta, the Temple of Divus Julius and Temple of Antoninus and Faustina. Only the foundations of Republican/Imperial Regia remain. Like the Curia it was destroyed and rebuilt several times, as far back as the Roman monarchy. Studies have found multiple layers of similar buildings with more regular features, prompting the theory that this "Republican Regia" was to have a different use.Roman Agora
The Roman Agora (Greek: Ρωμαϊκή Αγορά) at Athens is located to the north of the Acropolis and to the east of the Ancient Agora.Roman Forum, Beirut
Roman Forum is located in Beirut, Lebanon.Roman Forum (Thessaloniki)
The Roman Forum of Thessaloniki is the ancient Roman-era forum (or Agora) of the city, located at the upper side of Aristotelous Square.
It is a large two-terraced forum featuring two-storey stoas, dug up by accident in the 1960s. The forum complex also boasts two Roman baths, one of which has been excavated while the other is buried underneath the city, and a small theater which was also used for gladiatorial games. Although the initial complex was not built in Roman times, it was largely refurbished in the 2nd century. It is believed that the forum and the theater continued to be used until at least the 6th century.In the area of the forum, in the 60s it was planned to be built the central City's Court (in Greek: Δικαστήρια), but after the discovery the project was stopped. This intension still survives in the name of the nearby "Dikastirion (Ancient Agora officially) Square".Rostra
The Rostra (Italian: Rostri) was a large platform built in the city of Rome that stood during the republican and imperial periods. Speakers would stand on the rostra and face the north side of the comitium towards the senate house and deliver orations to those assembled in between. It is often referred to as a suggestus or tribunal, the first form of which dates back to the Roman Kingdom, the Vulcanal.It derives its name from the six rostra (plural of rostrum, a warship's ram) which were captured during the victory at Antium in 338 BC and mounted to its side. Originally, the term meant a single structure located within the Comitium space near the Forum and usually associated with the Senate Cūria. It began to be referred to as the Rostra Vetera ("Elder Rostra") in the imperial age to distinguish it from other later platforms designed for similar purposes which took the name "Rostra" along with its builder's name or the person it honored.Temple of Castor and Pollux
The Temple of Castor and Pollux (Italian: Tempio dei Dioscuri) is an ancient temple in the Roman Forum, Rome, central Italy. It was originally built in gratitude for victory at the Battle of Lake Regillus (495 BC). Castor and Pollux (Greek Polydeuces) were the Dioscuri, the "twins" of Gemini, the twin sons of Zeus (Jupiter) and Leda. Their cult came to Rome from Greece via Magna Graecia and the Greek culture of Southern Italy.The Roman temple is one of a number of known Dioscuri temples remaining from antiquity.Temple of Janus (Roman Forum)
In ancient Rome, the main Temple of Janus as it is often called, although it was not a normal temple, stood in the Roman Forum near the Argiletum. It had doors on both ends, and inside was a statue of Janus, the two-faced god of boundaries. The doors (the "Gates of Janus") were closed in times of peace and opened in times of war.
According to Livy 1.19 the second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius, decided to distract the early, warlike Romans from their violent ways by instilling in them awe and reverence. His projects included promoting religion, certain priesthoods, and the building of temples as a distraction with the beneficial effect of imbuing spirituality. The Janus was Numa's most famous architectural project.Temple of Saturn
The Temple of Saturn (Latin: Templum Saturni or Aedes Saturni; Italian: Tempio di Saturno) was an ancient Roman temple to the god Saturn. Its ruins stand at the foot of the Capitoline Hill at the western end of the Roman Forum. The original dedication of the temple is traditionally dated to 497 BC, but ancient writers disagreed greatly about the history of this site.Temple of Vesta
The Temple of Vesta (Latin Aedes Vestae; Italian: Tempio di Vesta) is an ancient edifice in Rome, Italy, located in the Roman Forum near the Regia and the House of the Vestal Virgins. The temple's most recognizable feature is its circular footprint. Since the worship of Vesta began in private homes, the architecture seems to be a reminder of its history. The extant temple used Greek architecture with Corinthian columns, marble, and a central cella. The remaining structure indicates that there were twenty Corinthian columns built on a podium fifteen meters in diameter. The roof probably had a vent at the apex to allow smoke release.Via Sacra
The Via Sacra (Latin: Via Sacra) (Sacred Road) was the main street of ancient Rome, leading from the top of the Capitoline Hill, through some of the most important religious sites of the Forum (where it is the widest street), to the Colosseum.
The road was part of the traditional route of the Roman Triumph that began on the outskirts of the city and proceeded through the Roman Forum.
In the 5th century BC, the road was supported by a super-structure to protect it from the rain. Later it was paved and during the reign of Nero it was lined with colonnades.
The road provided the setting for many deeds and misdeeds of Rome's history, the solemn religious festivals, the magnificent triumphs of victorious generals, and the daily throng assembling in the Basilicas to chat, throw dice, engage in business, or secure justice. Many prostitutes lined the street as well, looking for potential customers. From the reign of Augustus, the Via Sacra played a role in the Apotheosis ceremony by which deceased Roman Emperors were formally deified. The body of the Emperor, concealed under a wax death mask, was carried on a pall from the Palatine hill down the Via Sacra into the Forum, where funeral orations were held before the procession of Knights and Senators resumed its course to the Campus Martius.Vicus Tuscus
Vicus Tuscus ("Etruscan Street" or "Tuscan Street") was an ancient street in the city of Rome, running southwest out of the Roman Forum between the Basilica Julia and the Temple of Castor and Pollux towards the Forum Boarium and Circus Maximus via the west side of the Palatine Hill and Velabrum.