Ancient Roman civilization is among the most advanced and most admired societies in the world. In school we learned about it mainly through pictures of dwellings, temples, roads and forts which span across hundreds of kilometers of the Italian countryside. In fact, ancient ruins all over the world also have their fair share of tourists who explore and appreciate the ingenuity of the Romans.
Considered to be the oldest section of the eternal city of Rome, the Roman Forum is found between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills. The valley holds a wide area of ancient building ruins and roads. While in Rome, you can re-live your school book texts about the ancient Roman civilization by visiting and experiencing firsthand the grandeur and the genius of the ancient Romans.
The Roman Forum illustrates the life and times of the ancient Romans. It was the center of Roman public life, the meeting place for public speeches, elections and the place of triumphal processions of military accomplishment – usually upon return from a foreign war. The Forum also stood witness to great pageantry and religious ceremonies. It also became the center of trade and commerce since it also functions as a market place. With all this activity, the Roman Forum has been called “the most celebrated meeting place in the world and in all history.”
The Roman Forum, being a center of socio-political activities in ancient times, includes several of the empire’s shrines and temples. The Vulcanal, the House of the Vestal Virgins and the Regia or the royal residence can all be found within the confines of the forum. Other structures include the Comitium which housed government buildings like the Senate House and other government offices and tribunals. The legendary Julius Caesar built the Basilica Julia and the Curia Julia which served as judicial offices of the Kingdom. The last structures added to the forum were the Trajan’s forum and the Basilica of Maxentius in the fourth century.
Unfortunately, some of the structures of the Forum were destroyed in the past when much of the stone was taken away and used to build churches and palaces in the nearby districts. Today, the ruins of the many structures can still be seen in the Roman Forum: the Temples of Saturn, Vespasian and Titus, Caesar, and, Castor and Pollux. The ruins of the Temple of the Vestal Virgins, Basilica Aemilia and Basilica Lulia have stood the test of time. Government structures like the ruins of the Regia, Curia Julia, Rostra Augusti, Niger, Umbilicius Urbi and Milliarium can also still be seen.
The Trajan Column still stands in the Forum which symbolizes the triumph of the Trajan’s victory over the Dacians. The Arch of Septimius Severus and Titus is among the most photographed structures of the Forum. The legendary pools of Lacus Curtius and the Lutumae can also still be seen. If you fancy the idea of walking in the footsteps of history, you can also still trace the Gemonian stairsteps, the processional street of Via Sacra, Vicus Jugarius and Clivus Capitolinus.
The ruins of the Roman Forum show us how cities are built, destroyed and re-built over time. We know they will continue to capture your interest and imagination as you walk along this marvelous ancient urban landscape.