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The Roman Forum, also known by its
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
name Forum Romanum ( it, Foro Romano), is a rectangular
forum Forum (plural forums or fora) may refer to: Common uses * Forum (legal), designated space for public expression in the United States *Forum (Roman), open public space within a Roman city **Roman Forum, most famous example *Internet forum, discus ...
(
plaza A town square (or square, plaza, public square, city square, urban square, or piazza) is an open public space A public space is a place that is generally open and accessible to people. Roads (including the pavement), public square A ...

plaza
) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the ', or simply the '. 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
gladiatorial matches
; and the nucleus of commercial affairs. Here statues and monuments commemorated the city's great men. The teeming heart of
ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who stud ...
, it has been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world, and in all history. Located in the small valley between the
Palatine A palatine or palatinus (in Latin; plural ''palatini''; cf. derivative spellings below) is a high-level official attached to imperial or royal courts in Europe since Roman Empire, Roman times.
Palatine
and
Capitoline Hill The Capitolium or Capitoline Hill ( ; it, Campidoglio ; la, Mons Capitolinus ), between the Forum Forum (plural forums or fora) may refer to: Common uses * Forum (legal), designated space for public expression in the United States *For ...
s, 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 The Roman Kingdom, also referred to as the Roman monarchy, or the regal period of ancient Rome, was the earliest period of Roman history The history of Rome includes the history of the Rome, city of Rome as well as the Ancient Rome, civili ...
's earliest shrines and temples were located on the southeastern edge. These included the ancient former royal residence, the
Regia The Regia ("Royal house") was a two-part structure in Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the ear ...

Regia
(8th century BC), and the
Temple of Vesta The Temple of Vesta, or the aedes (Latin ''Glossary of ancient Roman religion#aedes, Aedes Vestae''; Italian language, Italian: ''Tempio di Vesta''), is an ancient edifice in Rome, Italy. The temple is located in the Roman Forum near the Regia and ...

Temple of Vesta
(7th century BC), as well as the surrounding
complex of the Vestal Virgins
complex of the Vestal Virgins
, all of which were rebuilt after the rise of
imperial Rome The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity it included large territorial holdings ar ...

imperial Rome
. Other archaic shrines to the northwest, such as the ''
Umbilicus UrbisImage:UmbilicusUrbiPlate.jpg, Plate marking the Umbilicus Urbis The ''Umbilicus Urbis Romae'' ()—"Navel of the City of Rome"—was the symbolic centre of the city from which, and to which, all distances in Ancient Rome were measured. It was situat ...
'' and the
Vulcanal File:roman.forum.&.arch.of.septimius.rome.arp.jpg, 300px, The site identified by Boni as the Vulcanal is today protected by a modern gray roof. The excavation is just off the southwest corner of the Arch of Severus and adjacent to the truncated mas ...
(Shrine of Vulcan), developed into the
Republic A republic () is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a month ...
's formal
Comitium The Comitium ( it, Comizio) was the original open-air public meeting space of Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century ...

Comitium
(assembly area). This is where the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...

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 The Comitium ( it, Comizio) was the original open-air public meeting space of Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century ...

Comitium
was replaced by the larger adjacent Forum and the focus of judicial activity moved to the new
Basilica Aemilia The Basilica Aemilia ( it, Basilica Emilia, links=no) was a civil basilica In Ancient Roman architecture, a basilica is a large public building with multiple functions, typically built alongside the town's Forum (Roman), forum. The basilica ...

Basilica Aemilia
(179 BC). Some 130 years later,
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
built the
Basilica Julia The Basilica Julia ( it, Basilica Giulia) was a structure that once stood in the Roman Forum The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum ( it, Foro Romano), is a rectangular Forum (Roman), forum (plaza) surrounded by the ru ...

Basilica Julia
, along with the new
Curia Julia The Curia Julia ( la, Curia Iulia, links=no, it, Curia Iulia, links=no) is the third named ''curia Curia (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was ...

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 The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government i ...
and
religious Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...
pursuits in ever greater numbers. Eventually much economic and judicial business would transfer away from the ' to the larger and more extravagant structures (
Trajan's Forum Trajan's Forum ( la, Forum Traiani; it, Foro di Traiano) was the last of the Imperial fora The Imperial fora (''Fori Imperiali '' in Italian) are a series of monumental '' fora'' (public squares), constructed in Rome , established_title ...

Trajan's Forum
and the
Basilica Ulpia The Basilica Ulpia was an ancient Roman civic building located in the Forum of Trajan. The Basilica Ulpia separates the temple from the main courtyard in the Forum of Trajan with the Trajan's Column to the northwest. It was named after Roman empe ...
) to the north. The reign of
Constantine the Great Constantine I ( la, Flavius Valerius Constantinus; ; 27 February 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ...

Constantine the Great
saw the construction of the last major expansion of the Forum complex—the
Basilica of Maxentius The Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine ( it, 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 buildi ...
(312 AD). This returned the political center to the Forum until the fall of the
Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican ...

Western Roman Empire
almost two centuries later.


Description

Unlike the later imperial fora in Rome—which were self-consciously modelled on the ancient Greek ''plateia'' (πλατεῖα) public plaza or
town square A town square (or square, plaza, public square, city square, urban square, or piazza) is an open public space A public space is a place that is generally open and accessible to people. Roads (including the pavement), public square A ...

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 Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (; 138–78 BC), commonly known as Sulla, was a Roman general A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infan ...

Sulla
,
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
,
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

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 The Capitolium or Capitoline Hill ( ; it, Campidoglio ; la, Mons Capitolinus ), between the Forum Forum (plural forums or fora) may refer to: Common uses * Forum (legal), designated space for public expression in the United States *For ...
to that of the
Velian Hill The Velia — or Velian Hill or Velian Ridge — is a or stretching out from the middle of the north side of the towards the (itself a spur of the ) in . In later times, the Velia was called ''Summa Sacra Via'' ("Summit of the ") — since ...
. The Forum's
basilica In Ancient Roman architecture, a basilica is a large public building with multiple functions, typically built alongside the town's Forum (Roman), forum. The basilica was in the Latin West equivalent to a stoa in the Greek East. The building ...

basilica
s during the Imperial period—the
Basilica Aemilia The Basilica Aemilia ( it, Basilica Emilia, links=no) was a civil basilica In Ancient Roman architecture, a basilica is a large public building with multiple functions, typically built alongside the town's Forum (Roman), forum. The basilica ...

Basilica Aemilia
on the north and the
Basilica Julia The Basilica Julia ( it, Basilica Giulia) was a structure that once stood in the Roman Forum The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum ( it, Foro Romano), is a rectangular Forum (Roman), forum (plaza) surrounded by the ru ...

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 The Arch of Titus ( it, Arco di Tito; la, Arcus Titi) is a 1st-century AD honorific arch, located on the Via Sacra The Via Sacra (, "''Sacred Street''") was the main street of ancient Rome, leading from the top of the Capitoline Hill, through ...

Arch of Titus
. Originally, the site of the Forum had been a
marsh A marsh is a wetland A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is flooded by water, either permanently (for years or decades) or seasonally (for weeks or months). Flooding results in oxygen-free (Anoxic waters, anoxic) processes prevail ...

marsh
y lake where waters from the surrounding hills drained. This was drained by the Tarquins with the ''
Cloaca Maxima The Cloaca Maxima ( lat, Cloaca Maxima, lit. ''Greatest Sewer'') was one of the world's earliest sewage systems. Built during either the Roman Kingdom The Roman Kingdom, also referred to as the Roman monarchy, or the regal period of ancient ...
''. Because of its location, sediments from both the flooding of the
Tiber The Tiber (; la, Tiberis; it, Tevere ) is the third-longest and the longest in Central Italy, rising in the in and flowing through , , and , where it is joined by the River , to the , between and . It estimated at . The river has achi ...

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 Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of government that is not a monarchy or dictatorship, and is usually associated with the rule of law. ** Republicanism, the ideology in support of republics or against ...
times. As the ground around buildings rose, residents simply paved over the debris that was too much to remove. Its final
travertine Travertine ( ) is a form of terrestrial limestone Limestone is a common type of carbonate In chemistry, a carbonate is a salt Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride (NaCl), a chemical compound belonging to the l ...

travertine
paving, still visible, dates from the reign of
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles through ...

Augustus
. Excavations in the 19th century revealed one layer on top of another. The deepest level excavated was 3.60 meters
above sea level Above may refer to: *Above (artist) Tavar Zawacki formerly known as 'ABOVE' (born 1981) is an American abstract art Abstract art uses visual language of shape, form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of ind ...
. 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 ''Triumphs'' (Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, r ...
. Victorious generals entered the city by the western Triumphal Gate ( Porta Triumphalis) and circumnavigated the Palatine Hill (counterclockwise) before proceeding from the
Velian Hill The Velia — or Velian Hill or Velian Ridge — is a or stretching out from the middle of the north side of the towards the (itself a spur of the ) in . In later times, the Velia was called ''Summa Sacra Via'' ("Summit of the ") — since ...
down the
Via Sacra The Via Sacra (, "''Sacred Street''") was the main street Main Street is a metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech in which a thing or concept is referred to by the name of something closely associated with that thing or concept. Etymology ...

Via Sacra
and into the Forum.Grant, ''Op. cit.'', p. 16. From here they would mount the Capitoline Rise ('' Clivus Capitolinus'') up to the
Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus The Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, also known as the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus ( la, Glossary of ancient Roman religion#aedes, Aedes Iovis Optimi Maximi Capitolini; it, Tempio di Giove Ottimo Massimo; ) was the most important temple in ...

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 300px, Map of central Rome during the Roman Empire showing Vicus Tuscus at the center 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 ...
,
Argiletum The Argiletum (Latin ''Argīlētum'', it, Argileto) was the main route approaching the Forum Romanum from the northeast in the ancient city of Rome. It connected the Forum with the Suburra, Subura district of the city. Paths that were found in the ...
, and Via Nova.)


History


Roman Kingdom

Originally a low-lying, grassy
wetland A wetland is a distinct ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles ...

wetland
, the Forum was drained in the 7th century BC with the building of the ''
Cloaca Maxima The Cloaca Maxima ( lat, Cloaca Maxima, lit. ''Greatest Sewer'') was one of the world's earliest sewage systems. Built during either the Roman Kingdom The Roman Kingdom, also referred to as the Roman monarchy, or the regal period of ancient ...
'', a large covered sewer system that emptied into the
Tiber The Tiber (; la, Tiberis; it, Tevere ) is the third-longest and the longest in Central Italy, rising in the in and flowing through , , and , where it is joined by the River , to the , between and . It estimated at . The river has achi ...

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 Romulus () was the legendary founder Founder or Founders may refer to: Places *Founders Park, a stadium in South Carolina, formerly known as Carolina Stadium * Founders Park, a waterside park in Islamorada, Florida#In popular culture, Islamora ...
, the first king of Rome controlling the
Palatine Hill The Palatine Hill, (; la, Collis Palatium or Mons Palatinus; it, Palatino ) which is the centremost of the seven hills of Rome The seven hills of Rome ( la, Septem colles/montes Romae, it, Sette colli di Roma ) east of the river Tiber ...

Palatine Hill
, and his rival,
Titus Tatius According to the Roman foundation myth, Titus Tatius was the king of the Sabines The Sabines (; lat, Sabini; grc, Σαβῖνοι ''Sabĩnoi''; it, Sabini, all exonyms) were an Italic peoples, Italic people that lived in the central Apenn ...
, who occupied the
Capitoline Hill The Capitolium or Capitoline Hill ( ; it, Campidoglio ; la, Mons Capitolinus ), between the Forum Forum (plural forums or fora) may refer to: Common uses * Forum (legal), designated space for public expression in the United States *For ...
. An alliance formed after combat had been halted by the prayers and cries of the
Sabine The Sabines (; lat, Sabini; it, Sabini, all exonym An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Sou ...

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 The Comitium ( it, Comizio) was the original open-air public meeting space of Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century ...

Comitium
. It was here at the
Vulcanal File:roman.forum.&.arch.of.septimius.rome.arp.jpg, 300px, The site identified by Boni as the Vulcanal is today protected by a modern gray roof. The excavation is just off the southwest corner of the Arch of Severus and adjacent to the truncated mas ...
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 Numa Pompilius (; 753–673 BC; reigned 715–673 BC) was the legendary second king of Rome The king of Rome ( la, rex Romae) was the chief magistrate Chief magistrate is a public official, executive or judicial, whose office is the highest ...

Numa Pompilius
(r. 715–673 BC), is said to have begun the cult of Vesta, building its
house A house is a single-unit residential building A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house A house is a single-unit residential building, which may range ...

house
and
temple A temple (from the Latin ) is a building reserved for spiritual rituals and activities such as prayer and sacrifice. Religions which erect temples include Christianity (whose temples are typically called church (building), churches), Hinduism (w ...

temple
as well as the
Regia The Regia ("Royal house") was a two-part structure in Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the ear ...

Regia
as the city's first royal palace. Later
Tullus Hostilius Tullus Hostilius (r. 673–642 BC) was the Roman mythology, legendary third king of Rome. He succeeded Numa Pompilius and was succeeded by Ancus Marcius. Unlike his predecessor, Tullus was known as a warlike king who according to the Roman Histor ...
(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 The Curia Hostilia was one of the original senate houses or "curia Curia (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area ar ...
close to where the Senate originally met in an old Etruscan hut. In 600 BC
Tarquinius Priscus Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, or Tarquin the Elder, was the legendary Kings of Rome, fifth king of Roman Kingdom, Rome and first of its Etruscan civilization, Etruscan dynasty. He reigned from 616 to 579 BC. Tarquinius expanded Roman power through mi ...
had the area paved for the first time.


Roman Republic

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 The Temple of Vesta, or the aedes (Latin ''Glossary of ancient Roman religion#aedes, Aedes Vestae''; Italian language, Italian: ''Tempio di Vesta''), is an ancient edifice in Rome, Italy. The temple is located in the Roman Forum near the Regia and ...

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 The Temple of Saturn (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...

Temple of Saturn
(497 BC) and the
Temple of Castor and Pollux The Temple of Castor and Pollux ( it, Tempio dei Dioscuri) is an ancient temple in the Roman Forum The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of th ...

Temple of Castor and Pollux
(484 BC). The
Temple of Concord The Temple of Concord ( la, Aedes Concordiae) in the ancient city of Rome refers to a series of shrines or temples dedicated to the Roman goddess Concordia, and erected at the western end of the Roman Forum The Roman Forum, also known ...

Temple of Concord
was added in the following century, possibly by the soldier and statesman
Marcus Furius Camillus Marcus Furius Camillus (; c. 446 – 365 BC) was a Roman soldier and statesman of the Patrician (ancient Rome), patrician class. According to Livy and Plutarch, Camillus Roman triumph, triumphed four times, was five times Roman dictator, dictator, ...
. A long-held tradition of speaking from the elevated speakers'
Rostra The rostra ( it, Rostri, links=no) was a large platform built in the city of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metrop ...

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 Tribune () was the title of various elected officials in ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the ...

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 Gaius Sempronius Gracchus (154–121 BC) was a populist Ancient Roman, Roman politician in the 2nd century BC and brother of the reformer Tiberius Gracchus, Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus. His election to the office of tribune in the years 123 BC an ...
. 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 The ''mos maiorum'' (; "ancestral custom" or "way of the ancestors," plural ''mores'', cf. English "mores"; ''maiorum'' is the Genitive case, genitive plural of "greater" or "elder") is the unwritten code from which the Ancient Rome, ancient Roma ...
'' ("custom of the fathers/ancestors") in ancient Rome. When
Censor Censor may refer to: People with the name *Cato the Elder Marcus Porcius Cato (; 234–149 BC), also known as Cato the Censor ( la, Censorius), the Elder and the Wise, was a Roman soldier, senator The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">R ...
in 318 BC,
Gaius Maenius Gaius Maenius (possibly Gaius Maenius Antiaticus) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'' ...
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
basilica In Ancient Roman architecture, a basilica is a large public building with multiple functions, typically built alongside the town's Forum (Roman), forum. The basilica was in the Latin West equivalent to a stoa in the Greek East. The building ...

basilica
s (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 The Basilica Aemilia ( it, Basilica Emilia, links=no) was a civil basilica In Ancient Roman architecture, a basilica is a large public building with multiple functions, typically built alongside the town's Forum (Roman), forum. The basilica ...

Basilica Aemilia
). Nine years later, the
Basilica Sempronia The Basilica Sempronia was a structure in the Roman Forum The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was origin ...
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 The Tribal Assembly (''comitia populi tributa'') was an assembly consisting of all Roman citizens convened by tribes (''tribus''). In the Roman Republic, citizens did not elect legislative representatives. Instead, they voted themselves on legislat ...
'', 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 Tribune () was the title of various elected officials in ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the ...
Tiberius Gracchus Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus (163/162–133 BC) was a populist Roman politician best known for his agrarian law, agrarian reform law entailing the transfer of land from the Roman state and wealthy landowners to poorer citizens. Against stiff op ...

Tiberius Gracchus
was lynched there by a group of Senators. In the 80s BC, during the dictatorship of
Sulla Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix (; 138–78 BC), commonly known as Sulla, was a Roman general A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines Marines or naval infan ...

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 Robert Guiscard (; Modern ; – 17 July 1085) was a Normans, Norman adventurer remembered for the Norman conquest of southern Italy, conquest of southern Italy and Sicily. Robert was born into the Hauteville family in Normandy, went on to become ...

Robert Guiscard
and his Normans in 1084, when neglect finally allowed debris to begin to accumulate unabated.) In 78 BC, the immense
Tabularium The Tabularium was the official archive, records office of ancient Rome and housed the offices of many city officials. Situated within the Roman Forum, it was on the front slope of the Capitoline Hill, below the Temple of Jupiter (Capitoline Hill) ...

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 Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
delivered his famous speech denouncing the companions of the conspirator
Catiline Lucius Sergius Catilina (108–62 BC), known in English as Catiline (), was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *' ...
at the Forum (in the
Temple of Concord The Temple of Concord ( la, Aedes Concordiae) in the ancient city of Rome refers to a series of shrines or temples dedicated to the Roman goddess Concordia, and erected at the western end of the Roman Forum The Roman Forum, also known ...

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 Mamertine Prison ( it, Carcere Mamertino), in antiquity the Tullianum, was a prison (''carcer'') located in the Comitium in ancient Rome. It is said to have been built in the 7th century BC and was situated on the northeastern slope of the Ca ...
, 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 Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

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 Marcus Antonius (14 January 1 August 30 BC), commonly known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century A ...
's funeral oration for Caesar (immortalized in
Shakespeare William Shakespeare (bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national p ...

Shakespeare
's famous play) was delivered from the partially completed speaker's platform known as the and the public burning of Caesar's body occurred on a site directly across from the Rostra around which the 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 Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
there.


Roman Empire

After Julius Caesar's death, and the end of the subsequent
Civil Wars A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine publish ...
, 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 Temple of Divius Iulius was placed between Caesar's funeral pyre and the Regia. The Temple's location and reconstruction of adjacent structures resulted in greater organization akin to the Forum of Caesar. The Forum was also witness to the assassination of a Roman Emperor in 69 AD:
Galba Galba (; born Servius Sulpicius Galba; 24 December 3 BC – 15 January AD 69) was a Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different ...

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 Marcus Otho (; born Marcus Salvius Otho; 28 April 32 – 16 April 69) was for three months, from 15 January to 16 April 69. He was the second emperor of the . A member of a noble family, Otho was initially a friend and courtier of the young ...
'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 Trajan's Forum ( la, Forum Traiani; it, Foro di Traiano) was the last of the Imperial fora The Imperial fora (''Fori Imperiali '' in Italian) are a series of monumental '' fora'' (public squares), constructed in Rome , established_title ...
(110 AD), these activities transferred to the
Basilica Ulpia The Basilica Ulpia was an ancient Roman civic building located in the Forum of Trajan. The Basilica Ulpia separates the temple from the main courtyard in the Forum of Trajan with the Trajan's Column to the northwest. It was named after Roman empe ...
. The white marble
Arch of Septimius Severus The Arch of Septimius Severus ( it, 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 Lucius Septimius ...

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 Lucius Septimius Severus (; 11 April 145 – 4 February 211) was Roman emperor from 193 to 211. He was born in Leptis Magna (present day Al-Khums, Libya) in the Roman province of Africa (Roman province), Africa. As a young man he advanced thro ...
and his two sons against Pescennius Niger, and is one of the most visible landmarks there today. The arch closed the Forum's central area. Besides the Arch of Augustus, which was also constructed following a Roman victory against the Parthians, it is the only triumphal arch in the Forum."Roman Art and Archaeology," Mark Fullerton p. 358 The Emperor
Diocletian Diocletian (; la, Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus; born Diocles; 22 December c. 244 – 3 December 311) was from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in , Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become a commander of ...
(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 The Temple of Vesta, or the aedes (Latin ''Glossary of ancient Roman religion#aedes, Aedes Vestae''; Italian language, Italian: ''Tempio di Vesta''), is an ancient edifice in Rome, Italy. The temple is located in the Roman Forum near the Regia and ...

Temple of Vesta
and the Curia Julis. The latter represents the best-preserved tetrarchic building in Rome. He also reconstructed the rostra at each end of the Forum and added columns. The reign of
Constantine the Great Constantine I ( la, Flavius Valerius Constantinus; ; 27 February 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ...

Constantine the Great
saw the completion of the construction of the
Basilica of Maxentius The Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine ( it, 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 buildi ...
(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 The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican ...

Western Roman Empire
almost two centuries later.


Medieval

The city's estimated population fell from 750,000–800,000 to 450,000 in 450 AD to 250,000 by 500 AD. 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 upright=0.8, The Column of Phocas, against the backdrop of the Arch of Septimius Severus. The Column of Phocas ( it, Colonna di Foca) is a Roman triumphal column, Roman monumental column in the Roman Forum of Rome, Italy, built when Rome was part ...

Column of Phocas
, a Roman monumental column, was erected before the
Rostra The rostra ( it, Rostri, links=no) was a large platform built in the city of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metrop ...

Rostra
and dedicated or rededicated in honour of the
Phocas Phocas ( la, Focas; el, Φωκᾶς; 5475 October 610) was Byzantine emperor from 602 to 610. The early life of Phocas is largely unknown, but he rose to prominence in 602, as a leader in the revolt against Emperor Maurice (emperor), Maurice. ...

Phocas
. This proved to be the last monumental addition made to the Forum. The emperor
Constans II Constans II ( gr, Κώνστας, ''Kōnstas''; 7 November 630 – 15 July 668), nicknamed "the Bearded" (ὁ Πωγωνᾶτος; ''ho Pogonâtos''), was emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 641 to 668. He was the last attested emperor to serve ...
, who visited the city in 663 AD, stripped the lead roofs of the monumental buildings, exposing the structures to the weather and hastening their 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 Einsiedeln Itinerary reports that the Forum was already falling apart at that time. During the Middle Ages, though the memory of the ' 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 The Capitolium or Capitoline Hill ( ; it, Campidoglio ; la, Mons Capitolinus ), between the Forum Forum (plural forums or fora) may refer to: Common uses * Forum (legal), designated space for public expression in the United States *For ...
and the
Colosseum The Colosseum ( ; it, Colosseo ) is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy, just east of the Roman Forum. It is the largest ancient amphitheatre ever built, and is still the largest standing amphitheatre in the world tod ...

Colosseum
. After the 8th century the structures of the Forum were dismantled, re-arranged and used to build 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 Pope Urban V ( la, Urbanus V; 1310 – 19 December 1370), born Guillaume de Grimoard, was the head of the Catholic Church from 28 September 1362 until his death in 1370 and was also a member of the Order of Saint Benedict. He was the only Avignon ...

Pope Urban V
from
Avignon Avignon (, ; ; oc, Avinhon, label= Provençal or , ; la, Avenio) is the prefecture A prefecture (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. L ...
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.


Renaissance

The Forum Romanum suffered some of its worst depredations during the Italian Renaissance, particularly in the decade between 1540 and 1550, when Pope
Paul III Pope Paul III ( la, Paulus III; 29 February 1468 – 10 November 1549), born Alessandro Farnese, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 13 October 1534 to his death in 1549. He came to the papal throne in an era ...
exploited it intensively for material to build the new
Saint Peter's Basilica The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican ( it, Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano), or simply Saint Peter's Basilica ( la, Basilica Sancti Petri), is a Church (building), church built in the Renaissance architecture, Renaissanc ...

Saint Peter's Basilica
.Lanciani, 1897; pp. 247-48 Just a few years before, in 1536, the
Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as ...
Charles VCharles V may refer to: * Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, german: Karl V, it, Carlo V, nl, Karel V, la, Carolus V (24 February 1500 – 21 September 1558) was Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and offici ...

Charles V
held a triumph in Rome on his return from conquering Tunis in North Africa. To prepare the Forum for the procession intended to imitate the pageantry of the ancient Roman triumph, the papal authorities undertook sweeping demolitions of the many medieval structures on the site, to reveal and better display the ancient monuments. This required the clearance of some 200 houses and several churches, the excavation of a new "Via Sacra" to pass under the arches of Titus and Septimius Severus, and the excavation of the more prominent monuments to reveal their foundations. In 1425 Pope
Martin V Pope Martin V ( la, Martinus V; January/February 1369 – 20 February 1431), born Otto (or Oddone) Colonna, was the head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian ...

Martin V
issued a
papal bull A papal bull is a type of public decree, letters patent, or charter issued by a pope of the Catholic Church. It is named after the leaden Seal (emblem), seal (''bulla (seal), bulla'') that was traditionally appended to the end in order to auth ...
inaugurating a campaign of civic improvement and rebuilding in the city, which was depopulated and dominated by ruins. The demand for building materials consequently increased significantly, making the forum a convenient quarry for stone and marble. Since the 12th century, when Rome's civic government was formed, responsibility for protecting the ruins of the forum fell to the ''maestri di strade'' under the authority of the Conservatori, Rome's senior magistrates. Historically, the ''maestri'' and the ''Conservatori'' saw themselves as guardians of Rome's ancient legacy and zealously protected the ruins in the forum from further destruction, but in the 15th century the Papacy gradually encroached upon these prerogatives. The Bull of 1425 strengthened the powers of the ''maestri'' in protecting the ruins, but in conferring papal authority the Vatican essentially brought the ''maestri'' under its control and away from the independence of the Conservators. In the 15th century, the Vatican escalated the issuance of excavation licenses, which gave broad permission to individuals to mine specific sites or structures for stone. In 1452, the ability of the ''maestri'' to issue their own excavation licenses was revoked by the Bull of
Nicholas V Pope Nicholas V ( la, Nicholaus V; 13 November 1397 – 24 March 1455), born Tommaso Parentucelli, was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 ...

Nicholas V
, which absorbed that power into the Vatican. From then on only two authorities in Rome had the power to issue such licenses: the Vatican and the Conservators. This dual, overlapping authority was recognized in 1462 by a Bull of
Pius II Pope Pius II ( la, Pius PP. II, it, Pio II), born Enea Silvio Bartolomeo Piccolomini ( la, Aeneas Silvius Bartholomeus, links=no; 18 October 1405 – 14 August 1464), was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known ...

Pius II
. Within the context of these disputes over jurisdiction, ruins in the forum were increasingly exploited and stripped. In 1426, a papal license authorized the destruction of the foundations of a structure called the "Templum Canapare" for burning into lime, provided that half the stone quarried be shared with the
Apostolic Camera The Apostolic Camera ( la, everendaCamera Apostolica), formerly known as the is an office in the Roman Curia The Roman Curia ( la, Romana Curia ministerium suum implent) comprises the administrative institutions of the Holy See and the ...
(the Papal treasury). This structure was identified by
Rodolfo LancianiRodolfo Amedeo Lanciani (1 January 1845 – 22 May 1929) was an Italian archaeologist, a pioneering student of ancient Roman topography. Among his many excavations was that of the House of the Vestals in the Roman Forum The Roman Forum, ...
as the
Basilica Julia The Basilica Julia ( it, Basilica Giulia) was a structure that once stood in the Roman Forum The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum ( it, Foro Romano), is a rectangular Forum (Roman), forum (plaza) surrounded by the ru ...

Basilica Julia
, but the name could have applied to any structure in the western section of the Forum, often called the ''Canapare'' or ''Cannapara''. Between 1431 and 1462 the huge travertine wall between the Senate House and the
Forum of Caesar The Forum of Caesar, also known by the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to ...
adjoining the Forum Romanum was demolished by grant of
Eugenius IV Pope Eugene IV ( la, Eugenius IV; 1383 – 23 February 1447), born Gabriele Condulmer, was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number o ...
, followed by the demolition of the ''Templum Sacrae Urbis'' (1461-2), the
Temple of Venus and Rome The Temple of Venus and Roma (Latin: ''Templum Veneris et Romae'') is thought to have been the largest Roman temple, temple in Ancient Rome. Located on the Velian Hill, between the eastern edge of the ''Forum Romanum'' and the Colosseum, in Rome, ...

Temple of Venus and Rome
(1450), and the
House of the Vestals (1905) Image:Vestalvirgins11.jpg, Statues at the House of the Vestals The House of the Vestal Virgins (; it, Casa delle Vestali) was the residence of Vestal Virgins, located behind the circular Temple of Vesta at the eastern edge of the Roman ...

House of the Vestals
(1499), all by papal license. The worst destruction in the forum occurred under
Paul III Pope Paul III ( la, Paulus III; 29 February 1468 – 10 November 1549), born Alessandro Farnese, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 13 October 1534 to his death in 1549. He came to the papal throne in an era ...
, who in 1540 revoked previous excavation licenses and brought the forum exclusively under the control of the Deputies of the Fabric of the new
Saint Peter's Basilica The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican ( it, Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano), or simply Saint Peter's Basilica ( la, Basilica Sancti Petri), is a Church (building), church built in the Renaissance architecture, Renaissanc ...

Saint Peter's Basilica
, who exploited the site for stone and marble. Monuments which fell victim to dismantling and the subsequent burning of their materials for lime included the remains of the Arch of Augustus, the
Temple of Caesar The Temple of Caesar or Temple of Divus Iulius ( la, Aedes Divi Iuli; it, Tempio del Divo Giulio), also known as Temple of the Deified Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans mo ...

Temple of Caesar
, parts of the
Temple of Antoninus and Faustina The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina is an ancient Roman temple in Rome, which was later converted into a Roman Catholic church, the Chiesa di San Lorenzo in Miranda or simply "San Lorenzo in Miranda". It is located in the Forum Romanum, on the V ...

Temple of Antoninus and Faustina
, the
Temple of Vesta The Temple of Vesta, or the aedes (Latin ''Glossary of ancient Roman religion#aedes, Aedes Vestae''; Italian language, Italian: ''Tempio di Vesta''), is an ancient edifice in Rome, Italy. The temple is located in the Roman Forum near the Regia and ...

Temple of Vesta
, the steps and foundation of the
Temple of Castor and Pollux The Temple of Castor and Pollux ( it, Tempio dei Dioscuri) is an ancient temple in the Roman Forum The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of th ...

Temple of Castor and Pollux
, and the
Regia The Regia ("Royal house") was a two-part structure in Ancient Rome In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the ear ...

Regia
. The Conservators protested vehemently against the ruination of their heritage, as they perceived it, and on one occasion applied fruitlessly to
Pope Gregory XIII Pope Gregory XIII ( la, Gregorius XIII; 7 January 1502 – 10 April 1585), born Ugo Boncompagni, was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the , with 1.3 billion Catholics . ...

Pope Gregory XIII
(1572-1585) to revoke all licenses for foraging materials, including the one granted to the ''fabbrica'' of Saint Peter's in the forum.


Excavation and preservation

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 Claude Lorrain (; born Claude Gellée , called ''le Lorrain'' in French; traditionally just Claude in English; c. 1600 – 23 November 1682) was a French painter, draughtsman and etcher , who is believed to have been the first to apply the t ...

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 Giovanni Battista (or Giambattista) Piranesi (; also known as simply Piranesi; 4 October 1720 – 9 November 1778) was an Italian Classical archaeologist, architect An architect is a person who plans, designs and oversees the construction o ...
worked on a series of 135 etchings depicting 18th-century Rome. Renowned British artist
J.M.W. Turner Joseph Mallord William Turner (23 April 177519 December 1851), known in his time as William Turner, was an English Romanticism, Romantic painter, Printmaking, printmaker and Watercolor painting, watercolourist. He is known for his expressive co ...
painted ''Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino'' in 1839, following his final trip to the city. The excavation by
Carlo Fea Image:Portret van archeoloog Carlo Fea, RP-P-1909-4921.jpg, Carlo Fea Carlo Fea (4 June 1753 - 18 March 1836) was an Italy, Italian archaeologist. Born at Pigna, Liguria, Pigna, in Liguria, Fea studied law in Rome, receiving the degree of doctor ...
, 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 The Lapis Niger (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in ...
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. In 2020, Italian archaeologists discovered a
sarcophagus A sarcophagus (plural sarcophagi or sarcophaguses) is a box-like funeral receptacle for a cadaver, corpse, most commonly carved in stone, and usually displayed above ground, though it may also be buried. The word ''sarcophagus'' comes from th ...

sarcophagus
and a circular altar dating to the 6th century BC. Experts disagree whether it is a memorial tomb dedicated to Rome's legendary founder,
Romulus Romulus () was the legendary founder Founder or Founders may refer to: Places *Founders Park, a stadium in South Carolina, formerly known as Carolina Stadium * Founders Park, a waterside park in Islamorada, Florida#In popular culture, Islamora ...
.


Monuments

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.) Notable artists of the Forum include Maerten van Heemskerck, Pirro Ligorio, Canaletto,
Claude Lorrain Claude Lorrain (; born Claude Gellée , called ''le Lorrain'' in French; traditionally just Claude in English; c. 1600 – 23 November 1682) was a French painter, draughtsman and etcher , who is believed to have been the first to apply the t ...

Claude Lorrain
, Giovanni Paolo Panini, Hubert Robert,
J.M.W. Turner Joseph Mallord William Turner (23 April 177519 December 1851), known in his time as William Turner, was an English Romanticism, Romantic painter, Printmaking, printmaker and Watercolor painting, watercolourist. He is known for his expressive co ...
and many others.


Temple of Saturn

The
Temple of Saturn The Temple of Saturn (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...

Temple of Saturn
was one of the more significant buildings located in the Roman Forum. 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 Jupiter (mythology), god Jupiter but was replaced with Saturn (mythology), Saturn; historians are unsure why. The building was not used solely for religious practice; the temple also functioned as a Roman economy, bank for Roman society. The Temple stood in the forum along with four other temples, the temples of Temple of Concord, Concord, Temple of Vesta, Vesta, Temple of Castor and Pollux, 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 in Rome

Other Forum (Roman), 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 of Caesar, Forum Iulium'', ''Forum of Augustus, Forum Augustum'', the ''Forum of Nerva, Forum Transitorium'' (also: ''Forum Nerva''), and
Trajan's Forum Trajan's Forum ( la, Forum Traiani; it, Foro di Traiano) was the last of the Imperial fora The Imperial fora (''Fori Imperiali '' in Italian) are a series of monumental '' fora'' (public squares), constructed in Rome , established_title ...

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: * The ''Forum Boarium'', dedicated to the commerce of cattle, between the
Palatine Hill The Palatine Hill, (; la, Collis Palatium or Mons Palatinus; it, Palatino ) which is the centremost of the seven hills of Rome The seven hills of Rome ( la, Septem colles/montes Romae, it, Sette colli di Roma ) east of the river Tiber ...

Palatine Hill
and the river
Tiber The Tiber (; la, Tiberis; it, Tevere ) is the third-longest and the longest in Central Italy, rising in the in and flowing through , , and , where it is joined by the River , to the , between and . It estimated at . The river has achi ...

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 Hill and the Tiber. Other markets were known but remain unidentifiable due to a lack of precise information on each site's function.


See also

* ''Colossus of Constantine'', colossal statue formerly in the west apse of the
Basilica of Maxentius The Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine ( it, 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 buildi ...
* Farnese Gardens (1550), immediately overlooking the Forum * ''Veduta''


References


External links


Reconstruction in 3D of the Roman ForumCircus Maximus
and th
Tiber Island

www.italyrome.infoRoman Forum's 360x180 degree panorama virtual tour

Digital Roman Forum
3D reconstructions of the Roman Forum in c. 400

(at LacusCurtius; Hülsen was one of the principal excavators of the Forum)



{{Authority control Roman Forum, Archaeological sites in Rome Roman archaeology Roman sites in Lazio Ruins in Italy Archaeological parks Archaeological museums in Italy Tourist attractions in Rome Rome R. X Campitelli