Forum Boarium

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Location of the forum between Tiber and Circus Maximus (based on Droysen's hand atlas )
Temple of Hercules Victor
Temple of Portunus
The Janus Arch

The Forum Boarium (from Latin bos "cattle") was a marketplace ( forum ) of ancient Rome , which, according to its name, was primarily used as a cattle market .


The Forum Boarium lay on the bank of a flat point of the Tiber that once served as a passage for shepherds. Therefore this place became a place for the cattle trade, from which the name of the later forum comes.

The Forum Boarium is the oldest in Rome. Due to the favorable geographical conditions, not only were the first bridges over the Tiber located here , but also the original main port of the city ( Portus Tiberinus ). Brisk business activities were the result, which only diminished slightly when in the 3rd century BC. The seaport was relocated to Ostia Antica (42 AD another new port was built in Portus Romae ) and the Portus Tiberinus sank to the city harbor. Nevertheless, it persisted until the second century AD. In the Trajan period it was shut down and warehouses built over it.

At the Forum Boarium there is the Temple of Hercules Victor , which was long ascribed to Vesta , but was most likely dedicated to the victorious Hercules , and the Temple of Portunus , a place of worship dedicated to the port god Portunus (according to earlier view of Fortuna Virilis ). The temples are so well preserved because they were converted into churches in the Middle Ages .

In addition, on the northern edge of the forum are the heavily weathered Janus Arch (Janus Quadrifrons) , formerly a roofed intersection and meeting point for traders, and the so-called Argentarian Arch ( arcus argentariorum ).

At the south-eastern end of the forum was a late antique building, which probably housed the prefect of the Cura annonae , the city's food supply. Remains of this monumental building can still be seen in the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin . In its vestibule there is an ancient marble relief that is popularly known as the “mouth of truth” ( bocca della verità ) . The Romans believed in the Middle Ages that a liar's hand would be bitten off if he put it in the mouth of the relief.


Web links

Commons : Forum Boarium  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Coordinates: 41 ° 53 ′ 20 ″  N , 12 ° 28 ′ 52 ″  E