Forum Romanum, Rome The Forum Romanum was the center of life in imperial Rome, evidenced by the many remains of triumphal arches, temples and basilicas. History Until 509 BC, when Rome became a republic, the city was reigned by an Etruscan dynasty of Tarquin Kings. They built a sewer, the 'Cloaca Maxima', to drain water from the marshlands of the valley between the Palatine, Capitol and Esquiline hills to the Tiber river. Ever since, the area was the center of activity in Rome. It was the site of the first forum. Here, triumphal processions took place, elections were held and the Senate assembled. The Forum Romanum Today Today, the forum known as the Forum Romanum can look like a disorderly collection of ruins to the uninitiated, but with some imagination you can see the Roman empire come back to life at this site. Remains of many buildings from different periods are visible; the forum was littered with temples, basilicas and triumphal arches. Triumphal Arches Three triumphal arches were built on the forum. They were used by emperors to commemorate their victories. The first one, constructed by Augustus, does not exist anymore. The Arch of Titus, built in AD 81 AD commemorates the victory in the Jewish War. It is located at the Via Sacra on the eastern side of the forum. At the other end of the forum, near the capitoline hill is the Arch of Septimius Severus. It was built in AD 203 to commemorate the victory over the Parthians. Curia Julia The Curia was the location where the senate assembled. The rectangular brick building could seat up to 200 senators. The original Curia was built by the third king of Rome (although at another location). It burnt down four times, first in 80 BC but it was rebuilt each time. After a fire in 53 BC Caesar moved the Curia to the Forum Romanum. The current building was constructed in AD 283 by Diocletius. In the 7th century the Curia was turned into a church, but fortunately the building was mostly kept intact. Rostra The Rostra was a speaker's platform, originally built in the 4th century BC at a nearby location. The name Rostra, which means 'battering rams', was derived from the iron-clad battering rams of Volscian war vessels captured at the battle of Actium in 338 BC. The platform was decorated with many of those battering rams. As part of his modifications of the Forum, Caesar built the Rostra at its present location, this time in marble.turkeyarena.com Thanks to Spakespeare's version, the most famous speech at the Rostra was given in 44 BC by Marcus Antonius when he addressed the crowd during Julius Caesar's funeral "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears...". Temple of Saturn The first Temple of Saturn was built during the last years of the kings. It was inaugurated at the beginning of the republic in 497 BC. The current ruins date from 42 BC. The temple was used as the state treasury (Aerarium). It also housed the banners of the legions and the senatorial decrees. In 20 BC a tall column, the Miliarum Aureum, was placed in front of the temple by emperor Augustus. Temple of Vespasian and Titus Construction of this temple was started in the 1st century AD by Titus in honor of his deified father Vespasian. Emperor Domitian, Titus's brother and successor, completed the structure, now dedicated to both Titus and Vespasian. The temple had a hexagonal plan with a large cella (sanctuary) with statues of the two emperors. Temple of Castor and Pollux Only three pillars remain of the Temple of Castor and Pollux. The original temple was built in 484 BC, the current ruins date from its last reconstruction in 6 A.D. The temple was built by the roman dictator Postumius who vowed to build the temple if his army would beat the Tarquin Kings who previously ruled Rome. According to the legend, Castor and Pollux, mythological twin brothers, helped the Roman army to victory and announced the victory at the forum. Temple of Antoninus and Faustina The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina was built in 141 AD by emperor Antoninus Pius to honor his deceased wife Faustina. After his death in 161 AD the temple was rededicated to both Antoninus and Faustina. In the 7th century the temple was converted into the church of San Lorenzo in Miranda. The church was rebuilt in 1601. The deep grooves in the marble columns are attributed to attempts to tear down the columns. The cords burnt into the columns, but fortunately they did not budge.