The Forum Romanum, or Roman Forum, was the center of commercial, religious and political life
in ancient Rome. Located between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, it contains many of the oldest
ruins in Rome and is considered the most famous meeting place in the world, and in all of history.

The oldest standing structure is the Temple of Vesta (7th century BC) and
the nearby complex of the Vestal Virgins, including the House of the Vestals.
The Temple of Saturn (an iconic structure of Rome) was founded in 500 BC.

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Forum Romanum Eastern View
Basilica Aemilia, Portico of Caesars
Curia Julia and Forum View

Plutei of Trajan
Santi Luca e Martina
Arch of Severus

Temple of Antoninus and Faustina
Temple of the Divine Augustus
Domus Tiberiana (Palatine Hill)

Temple of Vesta
Temple of Castor and Pollux
House of the Vestals and Thermae

Temple of Romulus Doors
Temple of Venus and Roma
Temple of Venus Genetrix

Temples of Saturn and Vespasian
Temple of Apollo Sosianus
Theater of Marcellus


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The Banner below leads to the Rome Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

Direct Link to the Gallery with images of the Roman Forum

There are a number of images in this section that are not yet on the Photoshelter site.
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Roman Forum 3713
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The eastern view of the Forum Romanum is from the Temple of Saturn, facing towards the Colosseum. On the left is the Column of Phocas (the last monument built in the Forum). Just beyond the column is the Temple of Antonio and Faustina. Beyond that you can see the Temple of Romulus (the round building). In the distance (left center) is the Temple of Venus and Roma. The next objects to the right are a pair of columns from the row of Honorary Columns that were in front of the Rostra. Center is the Arch of Titus (behind the Temple of Vesta, the smaller structure). To the right of center is the Temple of Castor and Pollux, beside the people walking are the remains of the Basilica Julia (Julius Caesar’s meeting hall), and on the far right is part of the ruins of the Palace of Tiberius on the Palatine Hill.


Basilica Aemilia 3681
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The only remaining (ruined) structure of Republican Rome, Basilica Aemilia was a public building built on the site where, in the 5th c. BC, butcher shops were located (replaced in the 4th c. BC by the bankers). In 179 BC, censor Marcus Fulvius Nobilor built the Basilica Fulvia. It was completed after his death by Marcus Aemilius Lepidus and renamed the Basilica Aemilia. In 55 BC, a new structure was built, funded by Julius Caesar, and was called Basilica Pauli.


Portici di Gaio e Lucio Cesari 3683
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The fire of 14 BC heavily damaged the structure, and it was rebuilt by Augustus. At the same time he enlarged the portico and dedicated it to his grandsons, Gaius and Lucius Caesar, who were intended to succeed him as Emperor, but they died prematurely. The portico connected the Temple of Caesar with the Basilica Aemilia and acted as a pedestrian entrance to the forum from this direction. The structure was destroyed by fire during the Sack of Alaric in 410 AD.


Portici di Gaio e Lucio Cesari 3695
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Marble ruins and columns from the Portico of Gaius and Lucius Caesar in front of Basilica Aemilia.
Beyond the columns you can see the Curia Julia and the facade and dome of Santi Luca e Martina.


Curia Julia Roman Forum 3680
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This scene (taken from the Temple of Peace in the Forum of Peace, or Forum of Vespasian)
shows the Northwest end of the Forum. At the far left is the Temple of Saturn (shown in detail
further below). The building at left center is the Curia Julia (Senate House). The tower above
Curia Julia is the bell tower of Palazzo Senatorio (the Palace of the Senate, built in the 13th
to 14th centuries). The dome and building to the right of Curia Julia is Santi Luca e Martina,
a 6th century church which in the 16th c. also became home of the Artists Guild (Accademia
di San Luca). The bottom left foreground is the remains of the first Temple of Minerva, on a
plinth in between the Forum of Peace and the Forum of Caesar. Beyond the ruins are
the Church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli on the Capitoline Hill, and the Monument to
Victor Emmanuel II, who was the first King of the Unified Italy from 1861-1878.


Plutei Porphyry Statue of Trajan 7369
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One of the Plutei of Trajan (detail below) to the right of the opus sectile floor in the Curia Julia.
At the rear is the base of the Altar of Victory, with an ancient red porphyry statue (detail below).

Originally the Curia Hostilia, built by Tullus Hostilius (7th c. BC) on the site of an Etruscan Temple built to honor the truce after the Sabine conflict (the abduction of the Sabine Women and the following battles), the Curia Julia (Meeting House of Julia, the family name of Julius Caesar) was rebuilt in 80 BC, and then in 44 BC by Julius Caesar (finished by Augustus after Caesar’s assassination). The Curia Julia was rebuilt again by Diocletian in the 3rd c. AD, and this is what is visible today. It is one of few Roman structures to survive intact, as it was used as a church (sant’Adriano al Foro, 7th c.). The exceptional floor is an example of the Roman art of opus sectile (inlay on walls or floors which create patterns). The floor is Numidian yellow marble squares with rosettes and rectangles with cornucopias, inlaid with green and red porphyry. The walls used to be veneered in marble 2/3 of the way to the ceiling, but like much of the marble in the ancient buildings, it was removed and reused.


Porphyry Statue of Trajan 7369c
(detail crop — no linked image)

At the rear of the Curia Julia is the Altar of Victory. It once had a statue of Victoria (the personification of Victory) standing on a globe extending a wreath. It was placed in the Curia Julia by Augustus to celebrate Rome’s military power (and his victory at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, where he beat Marc Antony and Cleopatra in the decisive sea battle. The altar was removed in the 4th century during the controversy between the Christian and pagan Senators. It now holds a porphyry statue.

This porphyry statue was found in 1938 behind the Curia Julia. One of the earliest porphyry statues, it dates to the time of Trajan (98-117 AD) or Antoninus Pius (138-161 AD), and is thought to have been part of a monument to Trajan. It originally had a head, arms and feet of another material, now missing. Porphyry is from a Greek word meaning ‘purple’, the royal color. The stone is an igneous composite with large grains of various crystals that was highly prized for monuments and other important works in Roman times (and later).

The statue was greatly respected during the dark ages, due to the works of peace which Trajan performed during his reign.


Plutei of Trajan 7367 M
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The Plutei of Trajan are carved stone parapets or balustrades built by Trajan. It is not known exactly
where Trajan installed them, but they were not part of the Curia Julia (they are just displayed there).
The carvings show the full length of both sides of the Roman Forum at the time they were carved.

The left relief (above) shows the tax records being brought out in the presence of the Emperor
and burned (a total of 900 million sesterces), in a program of debt relief to the citizens of Rome.

The backgrounds shown are (from left): the Ficus Ruminalis and Statue of Marsyas
(hero of the People), arcades of the Basilica Julia, the Temple of Saturn, the Temple
of Vespasian and Titus, an arch (possibly the Tabularium), and one of the Rostra.
A large part of the relief is missing which showed the Temple of Concord.


Plutei of Trajan 7374
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This Plutei shows Trajan in the Forum instituting a charity for orphans called Alimenta.
Trajan is seated on the podium in the center, in front of the arcade of the Basilica Julia
with a personification of Italia (with the child in her arm). In the background (from the
right): the Statue of Marsyas, the Ficus Ruminalis, the Basilica Julia, Vicus Tuscus
(the Etruscan Street or Tuscan Street), the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the Arch
of Augustus, and on the left the Rostrum in front of the Temple of Julius Caesar.

On the rear of both Plutei are depictions of the Roman Feast with sacrificial pigs, sheep and bulls.


Church SS Luca e Martina 3707
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Built in 625 AD and dedicated to St. Martina (martyred during the reign of Emperor Alexander Severus in 228), it was rededicated to both Saints Luca and Martina in 1588 when the Accademia di San Luca (the Guild of sculptors, artists and architects) acquired the church property.


Church SS Luca e Martina 3742
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The facade was completed in Baroque style in 1664. The crypt was designed by Pietro da Cortona after he became the head of the Guild in 1634. When he started work, buried remains were found that were immediately attributed to Saint Martina (as was common at the time), probably in the hope of acquiring funding for a new church. Some funding arrived, but the construction of the facade and dome took 40 years.


Arch of Severus SS Luca e Martina 3712
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The Arch of Septimius Severus is in front of the Church of Santi Luca e Martina. This arch was the prototype for many of the triumphal arches constructed during the Imperial period.


Arch of Severus 3734c
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The Arch of Severus is a three-archway triumphal arch built of Proconnesian white marble in 203 AD to commemorate the victories of Severus and his sons Caracalla and Geta in the Parthian Campaigns (194-95 and 197-99 AD). It stands at the northwest end of the Forum near the base of the Capitoline Hill. The Arch of Severus is shown in detail, with descriptions of reliefs and pedestal sculptures, on the Triumphal Arches page along with the Arch of Constantine and Arch of Titus.


Arch of Severus night 3795 M
1500 x 1290 (440 KB)

Detail of two reclining River Gods and the frieze over the coffered lateral arch,
framing the Arch of Titus and the Palatine Hill as night falls over the Roman Forum.

The Triumphal Arches page has more images of the Arches of Severus, Titus and Constantine.

Return to the top of this page


Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Rome Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

Direct Link to the Gallery with images of the Roman Forum

There are a number of images in this section that are not yet on the Photoshelter site.
If an image you want is not yet uploaded, contact Ron Reznick (info at bottom of page).


There are 18 Galleries in the Photoshelter Rome Collection


Temple of Antoninus and Faustina 3682
795 x 1290 (323 KB)

Temple of Antoninus and Faustina

One of the best-preserved monuments in the Roman Forum, the Temple was built in 141 on the death of Faustina, wife of Emperor Antoninus Pius. 20 years later, when Antoninus Pius died, the deified Emperor was added to the architrave.

The ten monolithic columns (made from a single piece of stone) are capped with Corinthian capitals and are 17 meters tall. The architrave inscription says: “To the divine Antoninus and to the divine Faustina by decree of the Senate”. The bas-reliefs of the frieze under the cornice (shown below) were copied for many buildings in the 16th-19th centuries.

The church of San Lorenzo in Miranda was built inside the temple sometime around the 7th century. The entrance to the church from the portico is no longer used, as there is now a gap of six meters between the door and the portico (the ground level was at the door prior to the excavations of the Roman Forum).

The church was given to the College of Chemists and Herbalists by Pope Martin V in 1429-30. They still use the guildhall which contains a small museum (which holds a medicine receipt signed by Raphael). The church used to extend beyond the boundaries of the Temple, but the side chapels were removed in 1536 to restore the Temple for the Roman visit of Emperor Charles V. The church was later remodeled in 1602, creating a single nave and three side chapels. The church is responsible for the preservation of the Temple, although the marble from the cella was scavenged.

Near the Temple, the excavations uncovered an ancient burial site from the tenth century BC (before the founding of Rome).


Temple of Antoninus and Faustina 7346
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Close detail of the pronaos (portico) and the monolithic
Corinthian columns, shot late on a humid afternoon.


Temple of Antoninus and Faustina 7338
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Shot the same day, this image of the cella shows the
frieze on the architrave (detail shown further below).


Temple of Antoninus and Faustina 7348
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Detail of the arched staircase leading to the pronaos (portico). Note the title block (top left).


Temple of Antoninus and Faustina detail 7338c
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Close detail of the frieze on the architrave over the Corinthian capitals of the pronaos. The frieze
depicts Gryphons (lion’s body, eagle’s head and wings), Garlands, sacrificial vases and candelabras.


Templum Divi Augusti 3703
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There is a major controversy regarding these ruins. It has been identified by scholars as the site of the
Temple of Deified Augustus. When Rome’s first Emperor died in 14 AD, he was accorded divine status.
He was buried in his mausoleum on the Campus Martius, and Tiberius (his successor) built a temple to
house the cult of Divi Augusti. The Temple took many years to complete, and was finally dedicated by
Caligula (Tiberius’ successor). Over the temple, Caligula built his famous bridge connecting the
Palatine and Capitoline Hills. This placed the location on the northwest side of the Palatine
Hill, below the Domus Tiberiana. The problem arises because some scholars think that
the structure was erected by Caligula as a vestibule to the Imperial Palace, but
others say that this is improbable because of the lack of approaches from
the front to the back. There are heated discussions on the subject, but
  reading the evidence, I tend to agree with those who state that
the structure above is the Temple of Deified Augustus.


Templum Divi Augusti 3702
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The structure is a 25 meter deep brick-faced concrete hall with arched niches and very high walls of massive thickness. If the ceiling was vaulted, it was the highest in antiquity (the keystone would have had to be 150 feet over the floor). This would have been an enormous vestibule, and no other site for the Temple of Deified Augustus can be found in the area.


Domus Tiberiana 7355
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The massive retaining walls at the edge of the Palatine Hill which support the foundations of the Domus Tiberiana, the palace of Tiberius and Caligula. The first true palace on the Palatine Hill, only the perimeter has been excavated (the entire central core has yet to be explored). Part of the arched section above was used as a Treasury, then as a warehouse.


Domus Tiberiana Palatine Hill 8208 M
1667 x 732 (373 KB)

A wider view showing the entire northwest area. The Domus Tiberiana is on the hill. In the center of the image
are the three standing columns and partial entablature and attic of the Temple of Castor and Pollux. Directly to
the right of the columns is the enormous structure identified as the Temple of Deified Augustus. The columns of
the Temple of Castor and Pollux are 50 feet tall, plus entablature and attic. The walls of the structure beyond
are therefore at least 60 feet, and more likely 75 feet tall. A very substantial vestibule indeed. Improbable.
Check a map, you will see that it is directly in line between the Domus Tiberiana and the Capitoline Hill.
The only other large structure on that line was the Horrea Agrippiana, a grain storage house built by
Marcus Agrippa (who also built the Pantheon). Agrippa was a friend and general of Octavian, and
was instrumental in Octavian’s confirmation as Augustus and in his victory at the Battle of Philippi.
The remains of the Horrea Agrippiana are just beyond the ruins of the Temple of Divine Augustus.
There is more evidence which, taken as a whole, is very convincing, but this is not the place for it.

Since we have not seen this view yet, the open area at the bottom left is the remains of the Basilica Julia
(with the fragmentary columns), a large public building used for meetings and official business, dedicated
in 46 BC by Julius Caesar. Behind it is the Temple of Vesta and House of the Vestal Virgins. Right are two
Honorary Columns (concrete and brick supports) and the edge of a Rostrum in front of the Temple of Saturn.


Temple of Vesta Castor Pollux 3688
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In amongst the detritus of thousands of years of Roman Temples. Directly in front (center) is
the Temple of Vesta. To the left are the three columns of the Temple of Castor and Pollux. At
the right edge is the Curia Julia and the facade of Santi Luca e Martina, and the Vittoriano is
on the hill above (the white monument with the Quadriga (chariots with four horses abreast).

The Temple of Vesta is one of the oldest structures in Rome. Its circular shape is typical of the
8th-7th century BC houses of the Etruscans and early Romans at the time it was founded, and
the architecture is a reminder that the worship of Vesta used to be based in houses. The site
was most likely an early Etruscan (or early Roman) shrine, which was later expanded into the
temple. Roman tales state that Numa Pompilius, the legendary second king of Rome who
succeeded Romulus, built the first Temple of Vesta along with the Regia (Royal palace)
and the House of the Vestals. He was King of Rome from 715-673 BC. These dates
are within the range that scholars state for the founding of the temple. The temple
predates the Roman Forum by several hundred years. The temple itself was
round, with a hole in the roof to let the smoke from the permanent fire out.

Back when the temple was founded, preservation of fire was of critical
importance. Creation of fire at the time was by the laborious and primitive
method of striking flint to get sparks. A means of preserving fire meant that the
time this cost could be spent elsewhere. The danger of maintaining a permanent fire
was mitigated by the constant presence of the Vestal Virgins, who maintained the flame.
While there was always a fire in the temple, it never caused a problem (the temple burned
several times, but the source of the fire was always elsewhere, for instance, the Great Fire
of Rome in 64 AD burned the Temple of Vesta along with many other structures in Rome).

The sacred flame was finally put out in 394 by Theodosius after he defeated the Western
Emperor Eugenius and his army at the Battle of Frigidus. This united the two Roman
Empires under one rule for the last time in history, and as he was a Christian, all
of the pagan temples were closed and the resistance to Christianity ended.


Temple of Vesta 3687
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The Temple of Vesta seen above is a reconstruction from the 1930s.

The Temple of Vesta is renowned as the place where the Palladium was stored.
The Palladium was the wooden statue of Pallas made by Athena (Roman: Minerva).
After Athena killed Pallas (a Titan, associated with War) in a contest fought for Zeus, she
was remorseful, and created the Palladium statue. It was rumoured to have fallen from heaven
in answer to a prayer of Ilus, the founder of Troy. He was told that as long as the statue was safe
in his city, Troy would never fall in battle. This story was told by Greeks as early as the 7th c. BC.

The story goes on to state that during the Trojan War, Odysseus and Diomedes discovered the
secret of Troy’s weakness, and entered the city by stealth. Helen recognized Odysseus, and told
him where the Palladium was located. Odysseus and Diomedes killed several guards and stole
the Palladium, allowing the Greeks to later get into the city via the Trojan Horse and defeat the
Trojans. Later, the Palladium was brought to the young city of Rome by Aeneas, the exiled
Trojan, where it was kept in the Temple of Vesta for centuries. Pliny the Elder stated
that when the Palladium was rescued in 241 BC by Lucius Caecilius Metellus,
he was blinded by fire (Ovid concurs). When Elagabalus (reigned 218-222)
transferred all sacred relics of Roman religion to the Elagabalium, one
of the artifacts was the Palladium. The final story is that Constantine
took the Palladium with him to Constantinople in 330 AD, then
buried it below the Column of Constantine in his new forum,
legitimizing his rule by undermining the primacy of Rome.


Temple of Castor and Pollux 3698
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Castor and Pollux were the Dioscuri (Gemini) twins. Castor was the son of Leda and Tyndareus,
but Zeus had come to Leda as a swan and Pollux (Polydeuces in Greek) was born of their union.
Pollux was immortal and Castor was mortal. When Castor was killed, Pollux asked Zeus to allow
him to share his immortality with his brother so they could stay together, and they were turned into
the Gemini constellation. Their sister was Helen of Sparta, later abducted by Paris of Troy from
 her husband Menelaus, causing the Trojan War. The twins were horsemen and hunters, who
are often depicted with horses (as in the huge statues atop the Capitoline Hill). They took
part in the Hunt for the Calydonian Boar, a monster sent to ravage the region of Calydon
by Diana (Artemis) because Calydon’s king failed to honor her in his rites to the gods.

Their prowess as horsemen made the Dioscuri very popular with the Equestrian class
(Equites, or knights, the class of Roman aristocrats ranking below the Patricians). Until
400 BC, cavalry were recruited from the Patrician class, and thus the two classes were
originally one. When the requirements for cavalry exceeded that which could be filled
by the Patrician class, new equites were recruited from the wealthy families, which
were then accorded status just below the Patrician class, with several limitations.


Temple of Castor and Pollux 3705
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The Romans adopted the twins from the Greeks as early as the 6th century BC. The construction of the Temple of Castor and Pollux was to fulfill a vow to build them a temple for their assistance at the Battle of Lake Regillus (against the Etruscan Lucius Tarquinus Superbus, the expelled last King of Rome) by the infant Roman Republic in 495 BC. According to the legend, the Dioscuri twins appeared as two horsemen on the battlefield and aided the Republic. After the battle, they appeared in the Forum to water their horses at the spring of Juturna, where the temple was founded. The temple served as a meeting place for the Senate in the Republican period, and was the depository for the Treasury during the Imperial period.


Temple of Castor and Pollux 7353
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The temple was completely rebuilt and enlarged in 117 BC by Lucius Caecilius Metellus Dalmaticus after his victory over the Dalmations (Southern Croatians, not the Disney Dalmatians). The temple was again restored in 73 BC by Gaius Verres. It was destroyed in the 14 BC fire which destroyed much of the Forum, and Tiberius rebuilt it. The temple restored by Tiberius is what you see now, except for the podium, which is from the time of Metellus. The temple was still intact in the 4th century, but by the 15th century only the three columns were standing. It was probably mined along with many other ancient structures for marble and other building materials during the Dark Ages and medieval period, and is now probably part of a church.


House of The Vestals 3690
1500 x 1092 (718 KB)

The Atrium Vestae was the 50 room house where the Vestal Virgins lived. These were the attendants of the sacred flame of Vesta, and they had to maintain their virginity under pain of death (to both the Virgin and their companion). The area was open until the first House was built in the 6th c. BC (remains of a hut from the 8th c. BC have been found). The ruins seen here are part of the restoration by Julia Domna, the wife of Septimus Severus, after the fire of 191 AD.


Thermae Via Sacra 7333
1500 x 1092 (571 KB)

Based upon the information that I can find, this
Thermae (bath complex) was built by Domitian
as a private bath. It is at the end of Via Sacra,
near the Arch of Constantine (you can see the
top of the Colosseum and the columns in front
of the Temple of Venus and Roma at the top of
the image. There is very little written about the
complex, so my information is inadequate.


Temple of Romulus Doors 7336
1500 x 1083 (663 KB)

Originally built as a vestibule to the circular Temple of Peace (built by Vespasian and completed by
Domitian in 75 AD), it was converted in 309 AD by Maxentius to a temple dedicated to his son Romulus
after the Temple of Peace was abandoned along with other parts of the Imperial complex of Vespasian.
At that time, the ornate marble frame, bronze doors, porphyry columns and marble entablature were
installed, and they are still in their original positions. This is the world’s oldest set of bronze doors
that are still in their original position. The doors from the Curia Julia are older by a few years
(from Diocletian’s restoration, c. 285-290), but they were removed in the 17th century and
taken to the Basilica of St. John in Lateran.  This door along with its columns, frame
and entablature were moved to form a new door on the North side in 1632 when
the church floor was raised, but the door was restored to its original position
 at the end of the 19th century. The marble covering the Temple of Romulus
was removed during the Middle Ages (the Temple had been converted
into the vestibule of the SS Damian and Cosmas Church in 527 AD).

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Rome Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.

Direct Link to the Gallery with images of the Roman Forum

There are a number of images in this section that are not yet on the Photoshelter site.
If an image you want is not yet uploaded, contact Ron Reznick (info at bottom of page).


There are 18 Galleries in the Photoshelter Rome Collection


Temple of Venus and Roma 7165
1500 x 1092 (478 KB)

The largest known temple in ancient Rome, the Temple of Venus and Roma is located at the
eastern end of the Forum Romanum, across from the Arch of Titus and taking up the entire area
between the Basilica of Maxentius and the Colosseum. Designed by Hadrian and constructed from
121 to 135 AD, it was finished by Antoninus Pius in 141 AD. The site was previously the atrium of Nero’s
Domus Aurea, where the Colossus of Nero was installed. Hadrian moved the 30 meter tall bronze statue to
a spot in front of the Flavian Amphitheater and rededicated it to Sol Invictus (the Roman sun god). The move
required 24 elephants. Soon after the statue was moved, the amphitheater began to be called the Colosseum.

Apollodorus of Damascus (Trajan’s architect, who also worked for Hadrian after he succeeded Trajan in 117)
made a remark about the statues in the cella, saying that they would surely bruise their heads if they stood.
Hadrian did not appreciate the slight against his architectural skills, and Apollodorus was banished. Not
long afterwards, Hadrian had him executed under trumped up charges. This story was included in the
history written by Cassius Dio, but recently scholars have said that much of the story does not add
up based on other recorded information, and the story is currently discounted as propaganda.
Hadrian was not popular with the Senate at the time, and there was persistent hostility.


Temple of Venus and Roma 7134
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The Temple used to be surrounded by columns three layers deep, but most have been removed
over the centuries. A severe earthquake at the beginning of the 9th century destroyed the temple,
and around 850 Pope Leo IV ordered the building of a new church (Santa Maria Nova) on the ruins
of the temple. This church was rebuilt in 1612 and renamed San Francesca Romana and used the
cella of the Temple of Venus and Roma in its bell tower (seen above). The current columns were
dug up and installed by Benito Mussolini when he reopened Via dei Fori Imperiali. The apse
shown above was not part of the original Temple. It was added during the restoration by
Maxentius after the temple was damaged in the fire of 307. The enormous peristyle
of the temple has completely disappeared (it was 361 feet long and 174 ft. wide).


Temple of Venus and Roma 3861
1600 x 900 (206 KB)

The apse of the temple of Venus and Roma at night.

A little subtle bit of humor by Hadrian: the statues of Venus and Roma were placed back to back in
the cella. Venus is the goddess of Love. Love in Latin is Amor. Amor is Roma spelled backwards.
Placing the statues back to back in the temple reinforced the symmetry of the reversed names.


Temple of Venus Genetrix 3774
795 x 1290 (239 KB)

Dedicated in 46 BC, the Temple of Venus Genetrix in the Forum of Caesar was built after a vow made by Julius Caesar during the Battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC against Pompey. Venus Genetrix was the goddess of motherhood and domesticity. Caesar had originally planned to create a temple to Venus Victrix (Venus Victorious, the armed aspect), but the battle with Pompey made him pospone construction.


Temple of Venus Genetrix 3780
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After the battle, Caesar decided to instead build a temple to Venus Genetrix as the mother of Aeneas, considered to be the ancestor of the family. The temple was one of the few buildings that Julius Caesar was able to complete before his murder. It was rebuilt by Domitian after the fire of 80 AD, and later restored by Trajan. The columns, excavated in the 1930s and erected on the site, are from the restoration by Trajan.


Temple of Venus Genetrix 8204
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The temple contained statues of Venus and Caesar, a gilded bronze statue of Cleopatra, two paintings by Timomachus of Byzantium (Medea and Ajax), collections of engraved gems, and a pearl-decorated breastplate from Britain. In the background is Santi Luca e Martina and the Arch of Severus.


Temple of Saturn 3714
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The Temple of Saturn stands on the site of the earlier Altar of Saturn, associated with the tradition of the god founding the settlement on the Capitoline Hill. The temple was built in the later years of the reign of King Tarquinus Superbus and was completed around 500 BC. It was completely rebuilt in 42 BC, and was rebuilt again after the fire of 283 AD.


Temple of Saturn 7389
1500 x 1075 (542 KB)

The podium, eight columns, entablature with inscription, and the partial pediment are all that remain of the
third version of the temple. The inscription: (Senatus Populusque Romanus incendio consumptum restituit)
means: “The Senate and People of Rome restored what the fire consumed” (This refers to the fire of 283).

To the left of the Temple of Saturn are the remains of the Basilica Julia. The standing column at the far left
is part of the initial building. The arch that can be seen left of the Temple podium is part of the original wall,
restored during the Imperial reconstruction of the Basilica. The arches are also in the night images below.

The wooden statue of Saturn in the interior was filled with oil, which was released on December 17th, at
the Saturnalia (the ancient Roman festival held in honor of Cronus (Saturn), the youngest of the Titans and
the father of Jupiter, the primary Roman god. Part of the reason why Christmas was set at December 25th
was to absorb the pagan festival of Saturnalia and the celebration of the mid-winter solstice. The idea was
to blend in with pagan traditions to make the transition smooth (pagan Romans were already reluctant).


Temple of Saturn 3783
1500 x 1092 (367 KB)

The Temple of Saturn and remains of the Basilica Julia (left) as night falls over the Roman Forum.


Temple of Saturn 3830 M
1500 x 1290 (579 KB)

This image was taken a little later (darker) but with a longer shutter speed for a different look.


Temples of Saturn and Vespasian 3792
1500 x 1119 (421 KB)

The Temple of Saturn and the Temple of Vespasian and Titus. Below, the two are shown
in daylight. The Temple of Vespasian and Titus (usually called the Temple of Vespasian)
was begun by Titus in 79 AD after Vespasian’s death (and his succession as Emperor).
It was completed in 87 by Titus brother Domitian and was dedicated to Vespasian in the
 original dedication in 87, but after a restoration which was completed under Caracalla,
the temple was rededicated to Vespasian and Titus. The temple was badly damaged
by Pope Boniface and Pope Nicholas V when they remodeled the Forum at the end
of the 13th century and in the mid-1400s. Both angles of the temple were destroyed
 and the front was built into a medieval fortress. We are lucky that anything remains.


Temples of Saturn and Vespasian 7387
1500 x 1092 (442 KB)

All that is left of the Temple of Vespasian is the podium, the facing of peperino (a volcanic
tuff with inclusions) on the side that can be seen in this image, a few fragments of the cella wall,
 the three Corinthian columns, a bit of the entablature and an even smaller piece of the pediment.


Temple of Apollo Sosianus 8165
795 x 1290 (249 KB)

The three columns of the Temple of Apollo Sosianus next to the Theater of Marcellus in the Campus Martius. The name derives from Gaius Sosius, the general who, after the death of Julius Caesar, allied himself with Marc Antony. He was the governor of Syria and took Jerusalem in 37 BC, after which he placed Herod on the throne of Judea. After the outbreak of civil war between Octavian and Marc Antony, he commanded the fleet of Marc Antony at the decisive Battle of Actium. After Sosius lost to Marcus Agrippa at the Battle of Actium (which caused Antony to commit suicide after he heard false news of the death of Cleopatra, who later committed suicide), Sosius fled, but he was caught and brought back to Rome. Octavian forgave him, and Sosius then completed the Temple of Apollo and dedicated it to Octavian in gratitude.


Temple of Apollo Sosianus 8169
795 x 1290 (252 KB)

The temple was previously known as the Apollinar. An altar to Apollo had existed on the site since the 5th c. BC, and the first temple building was erected in 431 BC, dedicated to Apollo Medicus (doctor). That temple was restored in 353 BC, and in 179 BC Lepidus had a portico built to the Tiber. Sosius’ reconstruction was the final rebuild. The temple contained a cedar cult statue of Apollo from Selucia, another of Apollo Citharoedus (with a Cithara, a musical instrument), a famous group of sculptures of the Niobids (children of Niobe), several statues by Philiscus of Rhodes, and paintings by Aristides of Thebes, probably all loot brought from Greece by Sosius. After the Fall of Rome, the temple ruins were occupied by homes until they were torn down between 1926-32, unearthing the remains of the temple, which was re-erected.


Temple of Apollo Sosianus detail 8165c
(detail crop — no linked image)

The laurel depicted in the frieze was a direct reference to Octavian (Augustus),
and was included along with the dedication of the temple in gratitude for his clemency
in forgiving Sosius for his alliance with Marc Antony against Octavian in the Battle of Actium.


Theater of Marcellus 8160
1500 x 1092 (595 KB)

The Theater of Marcellus, in the Campus Martius next to the Temple of Apollo Sosianus.
The Campus Martius is just on the other side of the Capitoline Hill from the Forum Romanum.

The Theater of Marcellus is an ancient open-air theater built at the end of the Republican period.
It was named after Marcus Marcellus, the nephew of Augustus, who died five years before it was
completed. Space for the theater was cleared by Julius Caesar, but he was murdered about the
time the foundations were laid. The first use of the theater was in 17 BC, and it was inaugurated in
12 BC. The theater could hold 11-15,000 spectators. It was built mainly of volcanic tuff and concrete
and faced with stones in the opus reticulatum pattern (diamond-shaped), then sheathed in white
travertine. The entire top tier of seating and the columns were removed in the Middle Ages to
construct a fortress used by the Fabii (an ancient and prominent Roman patrician family),
then at the end of the 11th c., by Pier Leoni (the Jewish Crassus, the most powerful
man in Rome at his time) and his heirs. In the 13th c. it was used as a fortress
by the Savelli (a rich aristocratic family between the 13th and 17th c.), and
in the 16th century the Orsini built a residence designed by Peruzzi on
top of the theater, which still exists as apartments (seen above).


Theater of Marcellus 8171
795 x 1290 (595 KB)

The outer arcade (ambulatory) has a concrete vaulted ceiling. A ramp leads up the ambulatory to the upper floors. The outer partitions (seen on the right in the image above) were used as shops, probably from the time the theater opened.


Theater of Marcellus 8168
795 x 1290 (486 KB)

The eastern outer facade, faced with travertine. Between the arches were Doric columns with no base (some parts of which are missing). The columns used Tuscan capitals (which exhibit a smooth expansion and no ornamentation).


Theater of Marcellus 8158
1500 x 1092 (547 KB)

The northern facade. Beyond the far right edge, the travertine ends where blocks were
removed in 370 for use in a reconstruction of the Ponte Cestio nearby on the Tiber River.
The denuded section (opposite the Temple of Apollo Sosianus) was refaced with stone.

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