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Rome 2006


The Forum was the heart of ancient Rome, and today the jumbled ruins give the briefest ideas of just how 'much' this city was. There are fragments of temples from the period before Christ, arches built for emperors, medieval churches, and modern monuments built basically right on top of each other. 
As one who really enjoys history, wandering the Sacred Way (via sacra) through the center of all this jumble was just a blast. I'll try to put these in the order I ran into them, heading in from the west side by the Capitoline Museum and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

an overview from the Capitoline Museum (above) - the Colosseum is in the far, far background. With a bit of a telephoto its location becomes clearer (right).

Smack in the middle of the Forum is the Column of Phocas, actually the very youngest monument there - built in 608 CE to celebrate the Byzantine emperor.
Walking around the side, you can see of the three first sights as you work toward the entry. The Temple of Saturn (the thing with columns and no roof) was the last incarnation of temples built on the site starting about 425 BCE. This relative newcomer is "only" from 42 BCE. The Arch of Septimus Severus, the white monument just beyond the temple, was built around 200 years after Christ. The Santi Luca e Martina - that thing with the dome -  is a medieval church that was rebuilt in the 1600s.

Even before getting into the Forum proper, I knew this was going to be cool. The pathway down from the hill above led right past archeologists conducting further digs.
The arch of Septimus Severus is the last stop for tacky souvenirs before entering!!

It was also too big to fit all of it into a nice picture...


Walking in, the Palatine hills are off to the right. I visited the grounds of these residences for the rich and famous on my last day (and are on a different page)

The slight remains of the Temple of Vesta (right) belie the vast importance this shrine held to the Romans - the sacred flame of the hearth. These were the original Vestal virgins, women who had to remain celibate. Anyone in the order breaking this vow was buried alive (the men involved were whipped to death)


Looking back from the temple, one looks across a field strewn with column fragments to the arch and the unknown soldier tomb rising above all. Keep in mind that the Forum has been destroyed and fought over many times, including being almost completely destroyed when Rome was sacked by the Ostrogoths. In fact, the area fell into such complete disuse that it became a favorite place for shepherds and was known as Campo Vaccino - the cattle field!

Wandering further, on the left side of the Forum is the temple of Antonius and Faustina (above) - originally dedicated as a temple to Emperor Antonius Pius and his wife Faustina, it was later converted to a church and eventually had a Baroque facade constructed in 1601. Check out the green door high on the wall - when the church was built, there was so much dirt and debris built up in the Forum that it was at ground level! The present day door is directly below it.

It sits next to the temple of Romulus - built not for the founder of Rome but the son of Emperor Maxentius who died around 310 CE.

The Basilica of Constantine and Maxentius is the most enormous building in the Forum (check out the size of the red-shirted person). Commissioned by the same Constantine who converted to Christianity, despite the name basilica it is not a religious building, but rather was used for conducting law and business.

in the view of the Forum, it is the large complex on the left side.

Leaving the Forum, one walks under the Arch of Titus and out into the plaza where the Colosseum is located. It is fascinating to note that this arch was erected in honor of a military victory by Titus, son of the Emperor Vespasian. What military victory, you may ask? Why, the military victory in which Rome defeated Jerusalem, sacked the city, destroyed the Temple of Solomon - the most holy site in Judaism - and began the diaspora of the Jews that was to last until after WWII. I wonder how many of the people walking through that gate realize how many of the worlds' current problems can be (arguably) traced back to the victory it celebrates.

Rome 2006:

Main Rome 2006 Page - Pyramide - Baths - Circus Maximus - Colosseum - Forum - Trajan's Column - Piazza Venezia - Capitoline - Trevi Fountain - Santa Maria sopra Minerva - Pantheon - Navano - Spanish Steps - Sant Angelo - St. Peter's - Vatican - Life in Rome - Other

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