24 Facts About Forum Romanum


Roman Forum, known by its Latin name Forum Romanum, is a rectangular forum surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome.

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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; and the nucleus of commercial affairs.

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Unlike the later imperial fora in Rome—which were self-consciously modelled on the ancient Greek plateia public plaza or town square—the Roman Forum Romanum developed gradually, organically, and piecemeal over many centuries.

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The Forum Romanum proper included this square, the buildings facing it and, sometimes, an additional area extending southeast as far as the Arch of Titus.

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Originally, the site of the Forum Romanum had been a marshy lake where waters from the surrounding hills drained.

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On current evidence it is likely that burials in the Forum Romanum ceased some time in the late 9th century BC and that the Esquiline Necropolis replaced them.

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Since the early Forum Romanum area included pools of stagnant water, the most easily accessible area was the northern part of the valley which was designated as the Comitium.

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Forum Romanum was outside the walls of the original Sabine fortress, which was entered through the Porta Saturni.

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The original Forum Romanum functioned as an open-air market abutting on the Comitium, but eventually outgrew its day-to-day shopping and marketplace role.

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Forum Romanum is said to have converted that temple into the Curia Hostilia close to where the Senate originally met in an old Etruscan hut.

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Originally a low-lying, grassy wetland, the Forum Romanum was drained in the 7th century BC with the building of the first structures of Cloaca Maxima, a large covered sewer system that emptied into the Tiber, as more people began to settle between the two hills.

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Archaeological evidence shows that by the end of the 7th century BC the ground level of the Forum Romanum was raised significantly in some places in order to overcome the problems of poor drainage and provide foundation for a pebble-paved area.

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The Forum Romanum was witness to the assassination of a Roman Emperor in 69 AD: Galba had set out from the palace to meet rebels but was so feeble that he had to be carried in a litter.

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Forum Romanum was immediately met by a troop of his rival Otho's cavalry near the Lacus Curtius in the Forum, where he was killed.

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Forum Romanum refurbished and reorganized it, building anew the Temple of Saturn, Temple of Vesta and the Curia Julia.

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Forum Romanum reconstructed the rostra at each end of the Forum and added columns.

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Forum Romanum suffered some of its worst depredations during the Italian Renaissance, particularly in the decade between 1540 and 1550, when Pope Paul III exploited it intensively for material to build the new Saint Peter's Basilica.

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Between 1431 and 1462 the huge travertine wall between the Senate House and the Forum of Caesar adjoining the Forum Romanum was demolished by grant of Pope Eugene IV, followed by the demolition of the Templum Sacrae Urbis, the Temple of Venus and Roma, and the House of the Vestals, all by papal license.

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The 1898, restoration had three main objectives: restore fragmented pieces of columns, bases, and cornices to their original locations in the Forum Romanum, reach the lowest possible level of the Forum Romanum without damaging existing structures, and to identify already half-excavated structures, along with the Senate house and Basilica Aemilia.

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Excavations in the Forum Romanum continue, with new discoveries by archaeologists working in the Forum Romanum since 2009 leading to questions about Rome's exact age.

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Roman Forum Romanum was a site for many artists and architects studying in Rome to sketch during the 17th through the 19th century.

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The focus of many of these works produced by visiting Northern artists was on current state of the Roman Forum Romanum, known locally as the "Campo Vaccino", or "cow field", due to the livestock who grazed on the largely ignored section of the city.

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Roman Forum Romanum has been a source of inspiration for visual artists for centuries.

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Rome: Ruins of the Forum Romanum, Looking Towards the Capitol by Canaletto, showing the remains of the Temple of Castor and Pollux.

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