The Forum was the religious, political, and commercial center of Rome

The Forum was the religious, political, and commercial center of Rome

A tour of this great archaeological area lets us understand the grandeur of the Roman Empire. Though many buildings are ruins, some pieces have remained standing.

Credits foto on Instagram @viagens.feelu

The Arch of Septimus Severus (203 AD) was built in honor of the emperor for whom it was named and for his two sons. When Caracalla had his brother killed — apparently quite a common happening in Rome — he had his name removed from the arch.

There's a speaker's platform near the arch where it is said that Marc Antony asked that his friends lend him their ears after the assassination of Julius Caesar — at least as Shakespeare tells it.

Credits foto on Instagram @petruz_in_wonderlust

The eight still-standing columns are part of the Temple of Saturn (497 BC) that held the State treasury. It has been estimated that there were 13 tons of gold and 30 million silver coins during the reign of Caesar.

Not far from here is a 13.5-meter high column erected in gratitude to the Byzantine Emperor Phocas for having donated the Pantheon to the Pope.

Interesting fact: No one knew what it was until 1816 when Lady Elizabeth Foster excavated the pedestal.

Only the foundations and columns remain of the immense Basilica Iulia started by Julius Caesar, where judges heard civil cases, divided into four courts. Apparently, during debates, there was quite the hubbub with screaming lawyers and spectators paid to applause if the case was won!

Credits foto on Instagram @carmelod.amore

The brick building on the edge of the Forum is the Curia, seat of the ancient Senate.

Take a look at the House of the Vestals, virgin girls devoted to keeping lit the sacred fire of Vesta, the deity of the hearth, home, and family.

And you certainly cannot miss the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina, embedded in a 16th-century church and the grand Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine, site of the courthouse, and seemingly an inspiration to Michelangelo for the Dome of St. Peter.

The Arch of Titus leads to the Colosseum.

As Rome grew, the Forum became too small and Julius Caesar had a new one built. Other emperors did likewise, creating what are now called the Imperial Forums. Unfortunately, most of this was buried when Mussolini decided to build a street connecting the Colosseum and Piazza Venezia, called Via dei Fori Imperiali, but we're still digging to this day...

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