The part of ancient Rome known as the Forum is densely packed with fragments and more intact buildings from various eras of the city’s history and though I did some reading beforehand, trying hard to make some sense of it all, I failed utterly in that regard. The photo below of just a corner of the site may give you an idea of the scope of my confusion. A guide might have made a difference, but I’ve found I can listen or I can look and take pictures, my brain seems unable to do both simultaneously. So I opted for the visual. Here is some of what I saw.
Temple of Antoninus & Faustina, 141 A.D.
Emperor Antoninus Pius, who succeeded Hadrian and reigned 138 to 161 A.D., constructed the temple in honor of his wife, Faustina, after her death. A podium rises above a flight of steps where the ruins of the altar remain. The temple was converted to the Church of San Lorenzo in Miranda by the 11th century, though possibly as early as the 7th.
Temple of the Castori, 484 B.C.
Dedicated to the Castore and Polluce cults, the facade faced toward the Forum piazza with 19 columns (3 remain). The interior was used for the verification of weights and measures. Bankers, money-changers, and barbers occupied spaces that lead from the feet of the podium.
Constructed c. 82 A.D. by Emperor Domitian to commemorate the victories of his brother, Titus, including the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., it’s become the model for many latter-day triumphal arches including the Arc de Triumphe in Paris (1806), the Washington Square Arch in Manhattan (1892) and New Delhi’s India Gate (1931).
Palatine Hill sits between the Forum to its north and the Circus Maximus to the south and is where Emperors from the time of Augustus built their palaces. Though adjacent to the ruins of the Forum area, as you climb the hill the topography opens and the sense of congestion dissipates.
Above & below: Stadio Palatino or Hippodrome of Domitian, part of the imperial palace, a garden used for athletic games and entertainments, commissioned c. 80 A.D. by Emperor Titus Flavius Domitianus as a gift to the people of Rome. The Palatine Museum, below, upper left.
Restoration of pavement on Palatine Hill
A nagging concern during these days in Rome was a transport strike announced in advance for the day I’d be returning to the airport for my flight to Cairo and I may hold a grudge against Italian workers forever. I did the logical thing, put my love of public transport aside and booked a car service for my early (for me) drive to Fiumicino. I wasn’t sorry, the strike did transpire but I rode, instead, in a big brand new Mercedes and couldn’t have been happier, my reward for all that worry.
Next week, the first episode detailing a trip
to Egypt, a long time in the making.
More PortMoresby in Italy.
Find others of PortMoresby’s contributions here.