Rome Sights to See - The Roman Forum
Located in a valley between Palatine
Hill and Capitoline
Hill, the Forum Romanum
has got to be one of the foremost archaeological sites in the world.
Long before the first millennium the forum was the center of political
and cultural life for the Roman
Although difficult to accurately identify the actual start-date for this famous
area of Rome, it remained under construction for centuries. It can be said that by the 7th
century BC it was already a major part of Roman culture, growing into
final form under Octavian,
son of Julius Caesar in the decades around the beginning of the first millennium.
Composed of a dozen temples, arches and other structures, it was
rightly called the Forum Magnum
(the Great Forum) by those who had many such fora
to choose from. Built on drained marsh land, it provided a focal point
for commerce, legal administration and social interaction for the
citizens and rulers of Rome.
The structures fell into ruin after the Roman Empire collapsed in the
early part of the 5th century AD. Later, parts of
it were used in the Middle
Ages for grazing cattle. But with the re-birth in Europe
of culture and knowledge, known as the Renaissance, it was
rediscovered. A long restoration effort began in the Age of Reason at the
beginning of the 18th century and continues to this day.
Today, echoes of its grandeur can still be seen around the large
complex of buildings.
Archaeologists, and many others, have relined its paved streets, picked
up the debris of centuries and opened the forum to the public.
While far too large to be seen in one day, even a small sample
of what can be found there is enough to give a visitor a good idea of
what was once the glory of Rome.
The Temple of
Venus and Roma is just one example of the massive scale at
which the Romans executed their public projects. A huge temple designed
and built by the Emperor
Hadrian, it sits atop a plateau facing the Colosseum.
The Temple of Concord
is equally impressive.
Dedicated to peace, it was completed in 367 BC on the western end of
the Forum. Once a repository of several statues made of gold
and silver, it remains a shining reminder of what the builders of Rome
could accomplish when they wanted to..
There are many more. Temples dedicated to Saturn, Castor and Pollux, Vespasian and
several others all demonstrate the vision made real by various Roman
emperors and their architects.
Temples are not the only structures, however.
invented and perfected by the Romans and not improved on for a thousand
years, line many of the walkways. The Arch of Titus and
the Arch of Septimus
Severus are only two out of many outstanding examples.
from which politicians often made speeches, is still in evidence.
Standing beneath it one can easily be transported back to a time in
many ways very similar to our own. The Lapis Niger,
or "Black Stone", is a shrine that shows another aspect of the endless
creativity of the builders. The Via Sacra,
a shrine connected to it, is yet another.
No one can truly be said to have seen Rome until they've spent at least
a day wandering around the grounds of this magnificent monument to the
past of the Eternal City. It may just provide a needed reminder of what
can be accomplished by a civilization...and how easily it may be lost.
the Eternal City