Roman Forum

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View of the Roman Forum from the Capitoline Museums (2012)

The Roman Forum (Roman Market Place) in Rome is the oldest Roman forum and was the center of political, economic, cultural and religious life. It lies in a depression between the three city hills Capitol , Palatine and Esquiline and was the site of many public buildings and monuments.

Originally a swampy valley traversed by a brook, it became, according to ancient tradition, which did not go back to the 8th century BC. Archaeological evidence dating back to BC , only under the legendary Etruscan King Lucius Tarquinius Priscus at the beginning of the 6th century BC. Included in the city. It experienced the height of its splendid expansion in the Roman Empire . Today it is one of the most important archaeological sites of ancient Rome.


The Roman Forum (1787) before the excavation, which only began in 1788.

In the place of the later Roman Forum there was until the 7th century BC. A swampy plain that stretched between the Palatine and the Capitol and was used as a burial place by the early Latin settlers. Only when the Cloaca Maxima were built could this swamp and its extension towards the Tiber, the Velabrum , be dried out.

“Here, where the markets are now, there used to be boggy swamps, holes filled with water, the tide rose in the Tiber. This is Lacus Curtius , where an altar now stands in the dry: Solid land today, it used to be a lake. Where the Velabrum now leads the parade to the circus , once only willow scrub and swaying reeds could be seen. "

- Ovid : Fasting 6, 401-406

Royal time

Roman historiography brought the initiative to build the Cloaca Maxima with Lucius Tarquinius Priscus around 600 BC. BC, the completion with Lucius Tarquinius Superbus , the last Roman king, in connection. Archaeologically verifiable is the end of the burials in the Forum valley around 600 BC. At the same time, the first paving was built, which testifies to the use of the new space. Around 600 BC The building of the Regia was also built in the 2nd century BC , although traditionally referred to as the house or seat of government of the second Roman king Numa Pompilius and anchored in written tradition as one of the oldest buildings in Rome. The building of the Temple of Vesta is also connected with Numa. Archaeologically verifiable, the Regia became after a fire at the end of the 6th century BC. Restored with a new floor plan. Together with the temple of Vesta, it designated from the 6th century BC onwards. The eastern border of the new place called the forum.

Roman Republic

A second comitium was soon laid north of this square, the Comitium, separated from the forum by the rostra . This is where most of Roman politics was done, as the Senate seat , the Curia , and the Rostra , the public speaker's platform, were right next to it. Around 490 BC Two temples were built in the valley, dedicated to the gods Saturn and Castor . Together with a row of shops between the temples, the tabernae veteres , they formed the southern boundary of the forum serving as a marketplace. Around the middle of the 5th century BC The application of the Twelve Tables law to the Rostra shows that the forum quickly developed into the center of the young city. But this meaning cannot be captured archaeologically.

On the western narrow side of the forum, at the foot of the Capitol, was built in 367 BC. A first temple dedicated to Concordia , the unity, was built. The foundation should go back to Marcus Furius Camillus and symbolize the end of the class struggles between the patricians and the plebeians . Choosing the forum as the location for this demonstrates its increasing importance in political terms. The politicization of the forum begins. In 338 BC Chr. Was Gaius Maenius the ship's beaks from the Battle of Antium attach it to the rostrum. Such booty was previously consecrated in temples and shrines. Gaius Maenius was honored in the same year with an honorary column and the erection of an equestrian statue. In honor of Lucius Furius Camillus , Maenius's colleague in the Consulate of the Year, an equestrian statue was erected on the forum, with which achievement and victory in the Latin War were honored. Another equestrian statue followed in 306 BC. For Quintus Marcius tremulus in front of the Dioscuri temple . Gaius Duilius was born in 260 BC. Honored with a columna rostrata . The ship's beaks (rostra) captured by him were attached to it. Finally, the ambassadors from Rome who had perished during their legation were honored with statues on or near the speaker's platform.

In addition to these honors for contemporaries, there were those for people of the past whose exemplary character was shown for the time they were set up: for the Augur Attus Navius, who had miraculously transferred the Ficus Ruminalis to the Comitium; for Horatius Cocles ; for Hermodorus of Ephesus, who provided decisive assistance in drawing up the Twelve Tables law ; for Pythagoras and Alcibiades . The increasing competition within the Roman nobility ultimately led to such an accumulation of statues of honor on the forum that in 158 BC. All statues that had not been erected by popular or senate resolution were cleared away. Nevertheless, especially in the 1st century BC Chr. Increased statues, often exceptional in execution, but mostly donated for trivial reasons: for Sulla , Pompeius and Caesar , for Octavian , Lucius Antonius , Marcus Aemilius Lepidus and Marcus Antonius . In the political struggle of the outgoing republic, however, such honorary statues were constantly overturned or destroyed, rebuilt, melted down or brought to safety.

Roman Forum in the 2nd century BC Chr.

All of this also had an impact on the structural design of the forum. With the end of the Punic Wars , with the expansion of the de facto domain to the eastern Mediterranean and the financial means gained from the spoils of war, the 2nd century BC Chr. Not only in Rome in general, but especially in the forum a brisk building activity. Temples such as those of Concordia and Dioscuri were completely renewed, four basilicas were built, including 179 BC. Chr. Built Basilica Aemilia and 169 v. Chr. Built Basilica Sempronia . Both gave the forum square a solid frame on the north and south sides and replaced the tabernae veteres of the old market square. On the west side of the forum was also created in 121 BC. The Basilica Opimia . At the same time, the construction of the Macellum underscored the shift in the original economic use of the forum and its political upgrading. For this purpose, the function of the Comitium was shifted to the forum, the use of the rostra was rotated so that speakers now spoke to the forum. As a new backdrop, in front of which the hustle and bustle of the forum took place, was under Sulla 83-80 BC The Tabularium built. Located behind all western forum buildings, it formed the optical frame and the demarcation to the Capitol Hill, on the eastern flank of which it rose.

Gaius Iulius Caesar had the forum repaved. In this context, an underground corridor system was set up under the open space, which could be reached through vertical shafts and associated recesses in the pavement. This corridor system probably served another aspect of the Roman Forum: It was the venue for gladiator fights until the amphitheater of Statilius Taurus in 29 BC. A first stone and therefore permanent building was built for this type of event.

Imperial times

Under Augustus the forum was heavily redesigned. The extensive use of marble and the new paving in white travertine resulted in an extremely magnificent square, perhaps comparable to the Acropolis in Athens . Through clever associations Augustus linked the buildings newly built under his rule with the Julier family in order to derive his claim to power directly from the gods. This became particularly clear in the deliberate parallelization of Pollux and Castor, the Dioscuri , with the sons of Augustus, and the changed orientation of the square, which was now oriented towards the relocated speaker's platform and the temple of Divus Iulius . The new design, geared towards Augustus and Julier, was also reflected in the fact that it was built after a fire in 12 BC. Newly laid pavement closed the Caesarian corridor systems: games were no longer held on the forum. In order to enforce the desired dignity of the square, Augustus even instructed the aediles not to tolerate anyone in the forum or in its vicinity who was not dressed in a toga . The representative claim of the new space design should not be degraded by everyday clothing.

The already 29 BC Temple built for his deified adoptive father now formed the new eastern boundary. It was possibly flanked by the Arch of Actium and Arch of the Parthians , two triumphal arches that celebrated Augustus' military victories. Thus the east side of the forum was entirely in the service of the Augustan presentation and self-portrayal, the regia behind it disappeared from the field of view of the forum visitor. Tiberius , adoptive son and successor of Augustus, built his own arch on the west side, between the northwest corner of the Basilica Julia and next to the Temple of Saturn . Tiberius had previously had the Concordia temple on this side of the forum extensively renewed, so that the buildings of Augustus and Tiberius now clung to the square on the narrow sides.

Under the following emperors , the focus of the square function shifted, the forum now served as a backdrop for magnificent religious ceremonies. Since the Forum had become Roman in the late Republic too small, built from Caesar some rulers called Imperial Forums ( Forum of Caesar , Augustus Forum , Peace Forum Flavian , Forum of Nerva , Trajan's Forum ), while took over some tasks of the Roman Forum, but never completely could replace. Only now did the forum get the rarely used addition Romanum to delimit it . Strabon calls it ἡ ἀρχαῖα ἀγορά , "the old forum".

The interventions of the successors of Augustus were initially cautious, new buildings complemented the plaza without redefining it. Thus, under Domitian , the temple of Vespasian and Titus was built on the west side and on the north side, but outside the actual forum area, Antoninus Pius built the temple of Faustina , his deified wife, in 141 .

Only Domitian dared to intervene fundamentally in the forum complex, but not by building, but by erecting a colossal equestrian statue. It took up the middle of the square and degraded the surrounding buildings to the pure backdrop of its self-expression. It was removed immediately after his death in 96. It was not until the tenth anniversary of the Roman tetrarchy in 305 that the forum was again used in a comparable manner. The character of the forum changed again with the construction of the Septimius Severus Arch in 203, which set a new accent on the west side by forming a three-arched entrance north of the Rostra.

Around this time the name Forum magnum , "the great forum", appears for the first time , although Cassius Dio has passed down the name - he calls it μεγάλη , "large" in Greek - would have appeared after the construction of the Caesar forum. It is still listed in the Notitia and Curiosum of the regional catalog of the city of Rome as the Forum Romanum vel magnum and formed the core of Regio VIII .

Decennial base

At the time of Diocletian , who also had the Iulia Curia renewed and gave it the basic features of its present-day appearance, the east side underwent one final decisive change when the new rostra, the rostra Diocletiani , which took up almost the entire width , were built. They replaced the old rostra of the Caesar temple on this side and now corresponded to the rostra on the west side, which was also changed during this time. A five-column monument was added to the western rostra, which rose on or behind the grandstand. One of the associated column bases, the so-called Decennalia base, has been preserved. Other bases were discovered and documented during the Renaissance, but are now lost. A similar monument is assumed for the Rostra Diocletians dated by brick stamps. On the occasion of the Decennalia , the ten-year celebration of the Tetrarchy in 303, the columned monuments announced the event and celebrated the new form of rule, through which Rome had been reduced to one of several residential cities of the Roman emperors. Also in the Tetrarchic period, a seven-column monument was erected on the south side of the forum, directly in front of the facade of the Basilica Iulia, the base of which is still preserved.

After Constantine the Great emerged victorious from the tetrarchical power struggles in 324, he occupied the forum and had his colossal equestrian statue erected in front of the Arch of Septimius Severus, and a few years later another equestrian statue for his son Constantius II in front of the northern one Passage of the arch followed. Rostra Augusti was expanded in the 5th century, probably on the occasion of a naval victory over the Vandals in 456 . Although Christian Hülsen already recognized that this reconstruction cannot be linked with the sacking of Rome by the vandals in 455, the name Rostra Vandalica, introduced earlier, prevailed.

The last ancient building was erected on the Roman Forum in 608 at the time of Pope Boniface IV, the Phocas column in honor of the Eastern Roman Emperor Phocas , the then overlord of the city.

middle Ages

Western forum area and Capitol in 1748 with post-antique buildings, plan by Giovanni Battista Nolli

In the 8th century, many of its buildings were no longer intact, but the Roman Forum continued to be the center of the Eternal City and the last popular assembly on its territory is recorded for the year 768. Some ancient buildings have been converted into churches. The temple of Antoninus Pius and Faustina was converted into the church of San Lorenzo in Miranda , the Curia Iulia into the church of Sant'Adriano al Foro Romano . It was not until the turn of the 8th to 9th century that the forum slowly lost its central function. Some buildings were deliberately destroyed in order to gain access to building materials and building land. The Norman attack in 1084 under Robert Guiskard will also have contributed to further destruction of the forum buildings.

In the middle of the 12th century the forum area was no longer passable, the ruins of ancient buildings on the one hand and newly built fortifications e.g. B. the Frangipani on the other hand required long detours, which bypassed the area widely via the imperial forums. Residential houses were erected on the rubble, simple brick buildings with wooden roofs, surrounded by vegetable gardens and vineyards. The floor level of the forum had meanwhile increased significantly. The interior level of the church of Sant'Adriano al Foro Romano had to be raised by four meters at the beginning of the 13th century in order to correspond to the walking horizon outside the church. Most of the ancient structures were buried under the now higher ground level, and cows grazed on part of the open space. This eastern part of the old Roman Forum was given the name Campo Vaccino ("cow pasture"), which was used until the 18th century and was originally the colloquial name for the Boarium Forum . South of Campo Vaccino , with the Palatine Hill and its Farnesian Gardens, the area of ​​Rome called disabitato began , the part of the city within the Aurelian Wall that was largely depopulated until the 19th century.

Modern times

Campo Vaccino and avenue in the plan by Giovanni Battista Nolli (1748)
The Campo Vaccino around 1750

The humanist Poggio Bracciolini reported in his 1448 dialogue De varietate fortunae (“On the transience of happiness”) that a large part of the cella of the Temple of Saturn, which was still upright when it arrived in Rome in 1402, has meanwhile fallen victim to the lime burners had fallen.

One of the reasons for this destructive handling of the ruins of the forum was the end of the papacy in Avignon and the return of the pope to Rome in 1367. Urban VI. , in his efforts to rebuild the city, had ancient monuments looted extensively in order to get building materials for his building projects. He had material from the Basilica Aemilia and the temple for Antoninus Pius and Faustina removed from the forum in order to be able to restore the old Lateran Palace , which was nevertheless torn down under Sixtus V towards the end of the 16th century. At the beginning of the same century, the area of ​​the Roman Forum was systematically ransacked in search of stone material for the construction of St. Peter's Basilica . In order to meet the interests of the humanistic urge to research, however, sculptures and inscriptions that came to light during the work in the Roman Forum quarry were spared. Important evidence like the Fasti Capitolini escaped the lime kilns.

Under Paul III. the forum area was designed for the last time. On the occasion of Charles V's visit after the Tunis campaign , a street of triumph was laid out between the arches of Septimius Severus and Titus. For this purpose, numerous residential buildings and the fortress towers in the way on the Campo Vaccino were demolished. The area was leveled and artificially increased with additional construction rubble. From the 17th century, a large avenue made of elms marked the course of this street.

Most of the structural remains on the forum disappeared irretrievably between the 13th and 16th centuries. The area, which was now unusable as a quarry, was only occupied by individual houses and workshops and was otherwise used for agriculture, increasingly became the focus of antiquarian interests. However, its former function was so largely forgotten that, for example, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe did not mention the Forum Romanum at all in his Italian trip , although he knew Via Sacra and the adjoining ruins. The basis for this disregard was a violent scholarly dispute of the 16th century, in which Pirro Ligorio , who located the forum between the Capitol Hill and the Palatine Hill, prevailed against Bartolomeo Marliani . Subsequent scholars consolidated this misinterpretation. This view was only revised after the systematic excavations began at the beginning of the 19th century.

Research history

Roman Forum around 1880

In 1788 the Swede Carl Fredrik von Fredenheim (1748–1803) carried out the first excavation and uncovered part of the Basilica Julia. With Carlo Fea and Antonio Nibby (1782–1839) the systematic excavation of the forum area began at the beginning of the 19th century. For this purpose, the residential development, for which the ruins had been used as a convenient base, was demolished. Any ruins that could be seen above ground were uncovered by deep excavations. This concerned about the temple of Faustina and the arch of Septimius Severus. The remains of the Temple of Saturn and the Temple of Vespasian as well as the Tabularium were cleared. After Feas left, Nibby continued the deep excavations from 1829 to 1834. They were not allowed to excavate the entire forum down to the ancient level. When evaluating the excavation results, the first important finding was that the forum was further north than previously assumed. Participants in this first academic study of the topography of the ancient Roman Forum were among others Christian von Bunsen , who was one of the founders of the Instituto di corrispondenza archeologica in 1829 , and the architect and archaeologist Luigi Canina (1795–1856). However, since the excavations were only made very selectively, this generation was denied a coherent understanding of the ancient findings.

After Rome became part of the Italian state and its capital in 1871, almost the entire area, which is now open to the public under the name of the Roman Forum, was archaeologically developed between 1871 and 1905. Obliged to the time and the Kingdom of Italy , the main aim was to regain the state of the imperial era . Without bothering with the documentation, everything that was younger or was judged to be younger was removed. The so-called rostra Diocletiani from the 3rd or 4th century in front of the temple of Divus Iulius were removed and only a few remains are evidence of this last speaker's platform on the forum.

But Pietro Rosa , Giuseppe Fiorelli and Rodolfo Lanciani succeeded under this premise between 1871 and 1885 to excavate the forum square as such, the temple of Divus Iulius and the Via Sacra between the temple of Faustina and the Maxentius basilica . Giacomo Boni , responsible for the excavations from 1898 to 1922, continued the large-scale procedure and laid the Basilica Aemilia, the Temple of Vesta and the associated house of the Vestal Virgins, the Regia, the Juturna spring, the Lapis Niger and the burials of the archaic period, the so-called Sepulcretum, east of the Faustina temple free.

Since the 20th century, research has concentrated, in addition to ongoing documentation on the old excavations, on specialized issues that are followed up by means of small, targeted excavations. In 1979 the Rostra Diocletiani were archaeologically examined again, which produced important results for the monument, its dating and reconstruction. In the 21st century excavations were carried out east of the Vestalinnenhaus on the rise to the Palatine Hill, which uncovered the remains of the Roma quadrata from the royal era. In addition, building surveys and restoration work have been and are being carried out.

The monuments of the Roman Forum

Overview of the Roman Forum and the adjacent areas

The monuments described below include buildings and sacred sites in the archaeological area designated as the Roman Forum , which is much larger than the ancient forum. It extends from the buildings below the Capitol in the west to the height called Velia with the Arch of Titus and the Temple of Venus and Roma in the east, so it is about twice as large as the actual ancient “marketplace”. The monuments can be roughly divided into three different types of building: temples and other religious buildings, buildings used for political purposes, and buildings of economic and administrative importance. There was, however, not always a clear separation of uses - the Temple of Saturn was also used for the safekeeping of the Roman state treasure and for public announcements.

Religious buildings

Some of the oldest and most important sanctuaries, especially those from the Republican era, can be found in the Roman Forum. The Temple of Saturn , located in the west of the forum below the Capitoline Hill, has a long prehistory. First there was probably an altar, already consecrated to Saturnus (god of agriculture). 498 BC Then the temple was dedicated. After a fire he was 42 BC. Rebuilt, the remains visible today come from a renovation in 283. The public announcements ( Acta diurna ) were posted on this temple and the aerarium , the Roman treasury, was kept in it. According to Pliny, the sanctuary of Venus Cloacina , which dates back to the founding time of Rome, was used for state purification ceremonies and is said to have had this function after the dispute over the robbery of the Sabine women was over. According to a surviving coin image, the sanctuary south of the Basilica Aemilia was not roofed and consisted only of the surrounding wall and two cult images. Only the foundation has been preserved.

The temple of Janus , which also dates back to when the city was founded, was dedicated to the two-faced god Janus . It was actually a double arch over the Argiletum , the road between Basilica Aemilia and Curia. The doors of the Temple of Janus were opened when Rome was at war and closed when no part of the empire was at war. Today nothing is left. Lapis Niger (Latin for black stone) describes a square area made of black marble on which, according to tradition, Romulus was murdered by the senators for abuse of power . During excavations below the Lapis Niger between Curia Iulia and the arch of Septimius Severus, an early Roman sanctuary of Vulcanus was discovered.

The Volcanal , located south of the arch for Septimius Severus , the altar of the fire god Vulcanus , is one of the oldest sanctuaries of the forum, which the Sabine king Titus Tatius is said to have founded. The Umbilicus urbis , located in the immediate vicinity, was considered to be the center of the Roman Empire and thus of the world. It was also considered a place where the upper and lower world touched, so that sacrifices were made here. Here you can also find the deliberate double use as a sanctuary and its political significance. The Porticus of the Dei Consentes , located above the Temple of Saturn and probably rebuilt in 367, is a building with six rooms in which the twelve gilded statues of the Dei Consentes (six gods and six goddesses each) were set up according to the Greek model.

Reconstruction of the atrium Vestae by Christian Hülsen (1905)

The Concordia Temple is on the western edge of the forum and was dedicated to the Roman goddess of concord, Concordia . Its establishment is said to be at the end of the class battles in 367 BC. This early building was probably never carried out. The Concordia Temple was redesigned by Tiberius at the turn of the ages . Today you can only see the podium, located under the stairs to the Capitol . At times the temple was used for Senate meetings. The still is uplifting in residues on the high podium at the southern edge Forum Temple of Castor and Pollux , also Dioskurentempel or Temple of Castor and Pollux (the mighty sons of Zeus and Leda called), was one of the oldest temples of the Roman Forum. Today you can see the newly built and redesigned form from the time of Augustus.

The Juturna spring rises east of the Dioskurentempel at the foot of the Palatine Hill . Like all springs, this one was also worshiped as a deity (in this case as the spring nymph Iuturna), its water was regarded as healing, the place itself as one of the most sacred of the forum. To the north of the spring, the remains of the Temple of Vesta rise as the central sanctuary of the Roman Forum. There was Vesta , the chaste guardian of the eternal hearth fire, worshiped. The sacred space of the temple, adorned with a statue of Pallas Athene, was only allowed to be entered by the Vestals and the Pontifex Maximus. Men were not allowed to enter the temple at night. The honored and virginal Vestals lived in the directly adjacent House of the Vestals (Atrium Vestae), a splendidly furnished two-storey villa. Further north was the Regia , seat of the Rex Sacrorum and the Pontifex Maximus . This is where the meetings of the pontifices took place and the city's annals were also kept.

The temple of Antoninus Pius and Faustina on the north side of the forum is the best preserved temple in ancient Rome. Built by Emperor Antoninus Pius in honor of his wife and dedicated to him after his death, it owes its preservation to its rededication in a church in the 7th or 8th century. The archaic cemetery in the vicinity of the temple shows the remainder of the graves, which were formerly distributed over the entire forum area, which were not built over later. About 40 to the 9th century BC Tombs dating back to BC are preserved.

The so-called Temple of Romulus (allegedly built in honor of the son of Maxentius ) is located between the Temple of Antoninus Pius and Faustina and the Basilica of Maxentius further east. It also owes its good preservation to the rededication - already in the late late antiquity (in the 6th century) - in a church. The temple was probably dedicated to Iuppiter Stator, and the Penates were also venerated here. The double temple of Venus and Roma lies on the slope of the Colosseum . The cella facing the forum was dedicated to the Roma , the city goddess, while the cella facing the Colosseum housed the cult of Venus . Today the Antiquarium at the Roman Forum is set up in the western cella .

Secular buildings

The Comitium was the site of the Roman Legislative Assembly ( Comitia ). Originally it was probably just an open space and was later given its round shape. After various renovations and the relocation of the assemblies to the forum, there is no longer anything to indicate its earlier importance. The rostra were the speaker's platform at the Comitium. The ship's beaks captured in the fight against the Volscians (Latin rostra ) were attached here and gave the platform its name. The golden milestone next to the Rostra, the Milliarium Aureum , was a bronze column erected under Augustus with the names and distances of all provincial capitals.

The Iulia Curia was the meeting place of the Senate as the successor to the Hostilia Curia . The Hostilia Curia, together with the Comitium and the Rostra, formed the political focus of the forum. The area was redesigned mainly by Gaius Iulius Caesar and Augustus, who built the new Curia. The brick building with access to the also newly built Forum Iulium owes the main features of its current appearance to Diocletian , who rebuilt it after a fire. The use as a church from the 7th century explains the excellent state of preservation, the current appearance is the result of a restoration carried out under Benito Mussolini . The bronze iron doors are replicas, the originals can be found in the main portal of the Lateran Basilica . The Carcer Tullianus was the state prison of Rome, famous prisoners were among others Jugurtha and Vercingetorix . Christian legend also names it as the place where the apostles Peter and Paul were imprisoned.

Triumphal arch of Septimius Severus; left in the background the temple of Saturn .

“Propaganda buildings”, which - here again in a deliberate dual function - were often built as temples, were particularly splendidly designed. The Arch of Septimius Severus was erected in 203 AD in memory of the successes of Septimius Severus , Caracalla and Geta against the Parthians in the east. The arch, more than 20 meters high and clad in Pentelic marble , bears an inscription from which Geta was subsequently erased and overwritten after his murder. The arch provided the template for the representative west portal of the Berlin Palace by Johann Friedrich Eosander von Göthe .

The temple of Vespasian and Titus was dedicated to the Flavians Vespasian and Titus after their apotheosis and was completed under Domitian . Three Corinthian columns are preserved. The Domitian building complex was the connecting link between the forum and the Palatine , probably a great entrance wing to the imperial palaces. The Praetorian Guard must have been housed here as well.

The Temple of Divus Iulius or Caesar Temple was built by Augustus in honor of his adoptive father, Gaius Iulius Caesar, who was raised among the gods in 29 BC. Built on the site where Caesar's body was cremated. To the south of the Caesar temple there are still the remains of a monument referred to as the Arch of Augustus , the exact identification of which is not entirely certain.

The Arch of Titus was built from marble at the end of the 1st century AD in honor of the deified Emperor Titus for his victory over the rebels in Judea and the conquest of Jerusalem . The arch stands at the highest point on the road from the forum to the Colosseum . In the Middle Ages it was used as the entrance to the fortress of the Frangipani family. The Arch of Titus served as a model for the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The Phocas column is considered to be the last ancient public building erected on the forum. The column was built in 608 in honor of the Eastern Roman emperor Phocas by his exarch Smaragdus and probably carried a gilded statue of the emperor at the time.

Farm buildings

The preserved side aisle of the Maxentius basilica

The Basilica Aemilia is one of the four original basilicas from the Roman Republic . It was first named Basilica Aemilia et Fulvia after its two builders , but since only the Aemilians took part in restorations in the following centuries, it was briefly called Basilica Aemilia. After several restorations, it was rebuilt one last time after being destroyed in 410 by Alaric .

The Basilica Iulia was named after the gens of its builder Gaius Iulius Caesar. It replaced the smaller predecessor building of the Basilica Sempronia , served as a meeting building for the Senate and was the largest basilica ever built, which also included the old row of shops of the tabernae veteres in its area.

The Maxentius (or Constantine) Basilica is the largest and last Roman basilica to be built. It was intended to serve as a reception hall for Maxentius , but was completed by his adversary Constantine after his defeat at the Milvian Bridge and his death . The architectural highlight was the cross-vault ceiling, which collapsed in an earthquake in 1349.


  • Kai Brodersen : Galenos: The burned library. Marix, Wiesbaden 2015, ISBN 978-3-7374-0962-9 (about a major fire at the forum in 192 AD).
  • Filippo Coarelli : Rome. An archaeological guide. Verlag von Zabern, Mainz 2000, ISBN 3-8053-2685-8 , pp. 55-109.
  • Filippo Coarelli: Il foro romano. Two volumes. Quasar, Rome 1986.
  • Theodor Kissel : The Roman Forum. Life in the heart of Rome. Artemis, Düsseldorf 2004, ISBN 3-7608-2307-6 .
  • Joachim Losehand: Houses for the rulers of Rome and Athens? Reflections on the function and significance of Building F on the Athens Agora and the Regia on the Roman Forum. Kovac, Hamburg 2007, ISBN 3-8300-3397-4 .
  • Leonard von Matt, Franco Barelli: Rome. Art and culture of the Eternal City. DuMont, Cologne 1975, ISBN 3-7701-0707-1 , pp. 32-39.
  • Klaus S. Freyberger : The Roman Forum. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2012.
  • Bernhard Steinmann, Robert Nawracala, Martin Boss (ed.): In the center of power. The Roman Forum in a model. Exhibition catalog Erlangen , Erlangen 2011.

Web links

Commons : Roman Forum  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Andrea Carandini : Palatino, Velia e Sacra via. Paesaggi urbani attraverso il tempo (= Workshop di Archeologia Classica. Volume 1). Edizioni dell'Ateneo, Rome 2004; Andrea Carandini: Roma il primo giorno. Laterza, Rome / Bari 2007.
  2. ^ Filippo Coarelli: Rome. An Archaeological Guide , p. 56.
  3. Dionysius of Halicarnassus , Roman antiquities 1.44 .
  4. Livy 1,38,6 ; 56 .
  5. For example, Ovid , Tristia 3,1,30 ; Fasti 6.263 f. ; Plutarch , Numa 14.
  6. Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman antiquities 2.65 f. ; Plutarch, Numa 11.
  7. Varro , De lingua Latina 5,145 : Quo conferrent suas controversias et quae venderentur vellent quo ferrent, forum appellarunt.
  8. Plutarch, Camillus 42.3 .
  9. For the following, see with further literature: Susanne Muth : Reglementierte reminder. The Roman Forum under Augustus as a place of controlled communication. In: Felix Mundt (Ed.): Communication rooms in Rome during the imperial period (= Topoi - Berlin studies of the old world. Volume 6). De Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2012, ISBN 978-3-11-026593-4 , pp. 3–48, here: pp. 7–17 (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
  10. ^ Filippo Coarelli: Rome. An archaeological guide. Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1981, p. 79.
  11. Susanne Muth : Ahead of its time? How the Roman Forum found a new space structure . In: Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin: Yearbook 2007/2008 . Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-934045-10-1 , pp. 324-346.
  12. ^ Suetonius, Augustus 40.
  13. Paul Zanker : Augustus and the power of images. Second edition. CH Beck, Munich 1990, p. 168.
  14. Virgil , Aeneid 7,361; Pliny , Naturalis historia 19.23 ; Tacitus , Annales 12.24 ; Suetonius, Augustus 72.
  15. Strabo 5,3,8 (236).
  16. Cassius Dio 59,28,5.
  17. Descriptio XIIII regionum urbis Romae ; to the catalog of regions: Arvast Nordh: Libellus de Regionibus Urbis Romae. Gleerup, Lund 1949.
  18. ^ Christian Hülsen: Annual report on new finds and research on the topography of the city of Rome. New series I. The excavations on the forum 1898–1902. In: Communications from the German Archaeological Institute, Rome Department. Volume 17, 1902, pp. 1-97, here p. 19 f. ( Digitized version ).
  19. Dirk Henning: CIL VI 32005 and the "rostra Vandalica". In: Journal of Papyrology and Epigraphy . Volume 100, 1996, pp. 259-264 ( PDF ).
  20. ^ For a summary of the imperial forum see Filippo Coarelli: Rom. An archaeological guide. Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1981, pp. 53-56.
  21. For the history of the forum in the Middle Ages see Christian Hülsen : Das Forum Romanum. Its history and its monuments. Loescher, Rome 1904, pp. 24–32 ( digitized version ); Gerlinde Huber-Rebenich , Martin Wallraff , Katharina Heyden, Thomas Krönung (eds.): Mirabilia Urbis Romae - The miracles of the city of Rome. Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 2014, ISBN 978-3-451-30931-1 , pp. 35-36.
  22. For the history of the forum in modern times see Christian Hülsen: Das Forum Romanum. Its history and its monuments. Loescher, Rome 1904, pp. 32–40 ( digitized version ).
  23. Patrizia Verduchi: Le tribune rostrate. In: Anna Maria Bietti Sestrieri (Ed.): Roma. Archeologica nel centro (= Lavori e studi di archeologia. Volume 6). De Luca Rom 1985, pp. 29-33.
  24. Paolo Carafa, Daniela Bruno: Il Palatino messo a punto. In: Archeologia Classica. Volume 64, 2013, pp. 719-786.
  25. ^ Filippo Coarelli: Rome. An archaeological guide. Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1981, p. 56 f .; Researching the forum at the 'digitales forum romanum' of the Humboldt University in Berlin.
  26. ^ Lawrence Richardson Jr .: A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome . Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 1992, p. 92 Cloacina, Sacrum ; Samuel Ball Platner , Thomas Ashby : A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome . Oxford University Press, London 1929, p. 128 ( online ).
  27. ^ Lawrence Richardson Jr .: A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome . Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 1992, pp. 98-99 Concordia, Aedes .
  28. ^ Samuel Ball Platner, Thomas Ashby: A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome . Oxford University Press, London 1929, pp. 475-476 ( online ); Lawrence Richardson Jr .: A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome . Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 1992, p. 351 Sepulcretum .
  29. ^ Filippo Coarelli: Rome. An Archaeological Guide , p. 101.
  30. ^ Filippo Coarelli: Rome. An Archaeological Guide , p. 79.
  31. ^ Samuel Ball Platner, Thomas Ashby: A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome . Oxford University Press, London 1929, p. 145 ( online ).
  32. ^ Lawrence Richardson Jr .: A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome . Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 1992, pp. 28-29 Arcus Septimii Severi .
This article was added to the list of articles worth reading on July 15, 2011 in this version .

Coordinates: 41 ° 53 ′ 31.4 "  N , 12 ° 29 ′ 12.2"  E