Forum Boarium, Rome Close to the Tiber River, the Forum Boarium was the site of Ancient Rome’s cattle market. Together with the nearby Forum Olitorium, the vegetable and herb market, it was the mercantile center of the Republic of Rome. About the Forum Boarium The oldest forum in Rome, dating back to the Roman Republic, the Forum Boarium sat near the Tiber River between three of Rome’s seven ancient hills: the Palatine, Capitoline, and Aventine. The area was a swamp until it was reclaimed by the Etruscan Kings. In the 6th century BC, Servius Tullius, one of the Etruscan Kings also built a port here, the Portus Tiberius. Thanks to the port and a historic trade route that passed through here, the Forum Boarium was a busy commercial area that experienced lots of pedestrian traffic. Temple of Hercules Victor The Forum Boarium is home to two small temples which are among the best preserved religious structures from Rome’s republican era (between 509 and 44BC). The smaller, round building is the Temple of Hercules, built at the end of the 2nd century BC by a greek architect, Hermodorus of Salamis. It was commissioned by a successful merchant, Octavius Herrenus. The temple is best described as a colonnade of 20 Corinthian-style columns arranged in a circle around an inner chamber. Inside was a statue of the god Hercules, as old as the temple itself, created by the renowned Greek sculptor Scopas the Younger. The temple is often incorrectly identified as the Temple of Vesta, after the circular temple at the Roman Forum. The temple of Hercules is remarkable well preserved, especially for what is considered the oldest marble temple in Rome. Temple of Portunus The second temple at the Forum Boarium is the rectangular Temple of Portunus, dedicated to the god Portunus, protector of seafarers and harbors. A first Temple of Portunus was built here as early as in the 6th century BC. The version we see today is the result of a restoration of around 80 BC. The temple was located near the Pons Aemilius, a bridge built in the 2nd century BC. Today only a small portion of this bridge exists as the Ponte Rotto. The temple's porch, or “portico”, and small chamber are situated on a podium and reached via a few stairs. The columns on the Temple of Portunus are Ionian in style. The four in the front are free-standing while those situated around the remainder of the temple are part of the walls. This temple is not fashioned of marble but of travertine and tufa (a calcite rock) with a stucco surface. Preservation At the end of the Roman Empire, both temples were converted to Christian churches which explains why they are still in such great condition. While many of the ancient Roman temples were either demolished or left to decay, these temples - like the Pantheon and the Temple of Romulus at the Roman Forum - survived the times as a church. Mouth of Truth The area of the Forum Boarium is now known as the Piazza della Bocca della Verita, or Square of the Mouth of Truth, which refers to a famous marble disc with the relief of a face.turkeyarena.com The disc is placed in a gallery at the nearby church, the Santa Maria in Cosmedin. According to a medieval legend, the mouth would close if someone put their hand in its mouth and tell a lie, so it was used as some kind of lie detector.