Thursday, January 16, 2014

ROMAN FORUM (third part)

FORO ROMANO (parte terza) 
Stretch of a brick wall not so well built over which there is part of the inscription, maybe celebrating the naval victory obtained by the prefect of the city Valentine Junius in 470 AD against the Vandals
Augustus' remake of the speakers' stage begun by Caesar in the mid-first century BC and inaugurated by Augustus in 29 BC
It replaced the old stage that had worked throughout the Republican era and that was demolished at the time of the works in the area of the Comitium
Large semi-circular brick building in front of the so-called Middle Ages porch the shape of which is known from a coin of Antoninus Pius (138/161). The semi-circular building surrounded a round temple with a statue inside
It has been identified for sure thanks to a piece of curved lintel (now in the Forum Museum) placed in memory of the restoration completed by Antoninus Pius. A cast of this fragment can be seen just beyond the chamber, where the laurel trees are
Open-air shrine with a marble railing of a small circular building
Inside there were two worshiped objects, maybe two statues, the most ancient deity Cloacina and Venus with whom the former was later identified. The chapel was connected with the Cloaca Maxima, which entered the Forum here
According to tradition the centurion Virginius killed his daughter here to save the honor of the decemvir Appius Claudius and the Roman and Sabine armies were purified with branches of myrtle after the war of the rape of the Sabine
Archaic burial tombs from the Iron Age (900/700 BC) discovered in 1902
The burials here stopped in the mid-700 BC, more or less with the birth of the city
It continued to be used for the burial of children up until 500 BC when it was finally abandoned
The graves left are 41, the oldest being cremation graves and circular cockpit, the most recent being rectangular inhumation burial pits. The objects found in the tomb are in the Museum of the Forum
Also known as the Temple of "Dioscuri", the twins Castor and Pollux, guardians of the nobility
Built by the dictator Aulus Albinus Postumius, in memory of the appearance of Castor and Pollux to report the victory over the Latins at the Battle of Lake Regillo in 499 BC
Inaugurated in 484 BC by the Aulus Albinus Postumius' son, because his father had died in the meantime
Restored in 117 BC and in 74 BC
The remains are of the Augustan period, but Tiberius (14/37) had it rebuilt and rededicated in AD 6, last known intervention
Only tufa blocks remain of the original podium
It had eight Corinthian columns in the front and eleven columns along the sides
It was accessible via two side staircases continued by a flight of steps on the front
According to some scholars, the front of the podium was decorated with rostra that together with the imperial rostra and the rostra of Caesar would have formed the Rostra Tria. According to Filippo Coarelli, the rostra that completed the Rostra Tria are to be identified with the remains to the west of the Rostra of Caesar, which made the square of the Forum smaller
Sometimes meetings were held inside the Senate and there was an office for the verification of weights and measures. The front porch may have been used as a platform for speeches
On the long sides, the podium is interrupted by a number of areas identified as areas of bankers. The Christian hagiography identifies these cavities as the lair of the dragon defeated by St. Sylvester (314/337) armed only with a silk thread and a crucifix
A block of marble taken from the temple was used by Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475/1564) for the base of the horse of Marcus Aurelius on the Capitoline Hill
Julius Caesar's body was brought and was cremated here because it was next to the Regia his official residence as Pontifex Maximus. Caesar lived in the nearby Domus Publica
The deification of Caesar in Rome is the first one post-mortem (after death) in Rome, according to the oriental costumes
The temple was built by Augustus (27 BC/14) and dedicated on August 18, 29 AD
It had six columns in front and two on the sides
Inside there was a statue of Caesar with his head crowned with a star (Sidus Iulium) also represented on the pediment of the temple in memory of the comet appeared after Caesar's death, interpreted as a sign of his divinity
The remains now are only the concrete fills in the slots between the missing blocks of tufa
In front of the temple, there are ruins of the ROSTRA AD DIVI IULII 21 platform where there were the rostra of the ships of Antony and Cleopatra taken at Actium
Consecrated in 367 BC by Camillo for the reconciliation between patricians and plebeians
Rebuilt in 121 BC by Lucius Opimius to promote harmony after the murder of the Gracchi
Beautifully restored in the reign of Augustus by Tiberius, who maybe rededicated it in 12 AD
The cella almost two times wider than deep (45 x 24 m - 147 x 78 feet), as the pronaos (consisting of a staircase and six Corinthian columns) that precedes it, was enlarged during the last Tiberian renovation occupying also the area of the Basilica Opimia: it had been built in 121 BC and since then it is no longer mentioned
It remains only the base of tufa, the podium and the threshold of the cell
Such was the wealth of Greek sculptures and paintings that became a kind of museum. It was also used as the archive of state during the Republican era and for meetings of the Senate, particularly in times of civil unrest: here Cicero delivered the fifth Catilinarian and the senate condemned Sejanus to death
Temple dedicated to Antoninus Pius (138/161) and his wife Faustina Major
Erected after her death in 141 and dedicated to her by the Senate, as the inscription on the lintel says. On the death of Antoninus Pius, the temple was also dedicated to the new divus and a line was added above the previous one
Cella with walls of peperino blocks preceded by a hexastyle pronaos with six smooth columns of "cipollino" marble 17 m (56 feet) high
On the columns, it is possible to see the marks made during the medieval attempts to destroy them, but the columns remarkably resisted
On the entablature continuous frieze of garlands, griffins and sacrificial instruments. In the porch there were statues
In the VII/VIII century the temple became the CHURCH OF S. LORENZO IN MIRANDA
Urban V (1362/70) took some of the marble to use it in St. John in Lateran
It was filled in with soil due to frequent floods of the River Tiber and it was rebuilt in 1602 by Orazio Torriani (about 1601/about 1657), who raised it of 6 m (20 feet) using the cella and the first columns of the pronaos
Believed to be the temple dedicated to the son of Maxentius (306/312) Romulus. He was born when Maxentius was just 16 year old and drowned in the Tiber in 309 AD, aged 15
It is more likely that this is the Temple of Jupiter Stator rebuilt here at the beginning of the IV century to make room for the Basilica of Maxentius
The bronze door is original with a lock amazingly still working after seventeen centuries
The temple was transformed by the will of Felix IV (527/530) in the vestibule of the church of Sts. Cosmas and Damian
The vestibule and the church were restored in the years 1626/32 by Orazio Torriani (about 1601/about 1657) (of whom, however, there is only one sketch) and Luigi Arrigucci (1575/after 1643) for Urban VIII Barberini (1632/44 )
The floor was raised to 7 m (23 feet), and so the church was divided in two, the upper and the lower, to prevent the frequent flooding caused by the floods of the Tiber
In 1897 excavations were carried out in the Forum and eliminated the seventeenth-century raised floor in the temple. The church became, therefore, inaccessible from the Via Sacra
The feast in honor of Juppiter Stator, meaning Jupiter who prevents the escape or Jupiter who remains steady in battle was on June 27. It was the day when the dedicatio (dedication) of the temple on the Via Sacra was celebrated
The temple was built for a vow of the consul Marcus Regulus in 294 BC during a battle against the Samnites. A similar vow is said to have been done by Romulus during the battle against the Sabines
The temple of Jupiter Stator was associated with the TEMPLE OF THE PENATES twin deities protectors of families, corresponding to the two rooms with apses at the sides of the temple
Another temple of Jupiter Stator was built near the Circus Flaminius by Quintus Caecilius Metellus Macedonia after his victory of 146 BC
According to a less likely hypothesis, the temple is identified with the Templum Gentis Valeriae (temple of the Valeri family), a shrine of the gens to whom Maxentius belonged
According to tradition it was completed in 498/497 BC
Rebuilt in 42 BC with the spoils of war in Syria by Munatius Plancus
The podium, faced with travertine, maybe belongs to the Munatius Plancus restoration. The eight columns of gray granite in the portico with Ionic capitals of white marble, the pediment and the lintel are made out of recycled material and belong to a restoration after the fire of Carino (283/285) in 283 BC, as it is written on the lintel
The day of the dedication of the temple, December 17th, the Saturnalia, the new year's Eve event, was celebrated with wild freedom
In front of the façade there was a projection with a spacious area very likely to be the AERARIUM, the public treasury of the state. It remains only the threshold of the door that faced the Forum in front of the podium of the temple
Between the Temple of Saturn and the Basilica Julia, at the beginning of Vicus Iugarius, Tiberius (14/37) erected the ARCH OF TIBERIUS whose piers are still visible
The point of departure of all Roman roads
The column, of which only a fragment of the base decorated with palms remains, was covered with bronze and was built in 20 BC by Augustus (27 BC/14) who at the time was holding the position of Curator Viarum (Curator of Roads)
The symbolical purpose of the column was to indicate the distances from Rome to the major cities of the Empire
Dedicated to Vespasian (69/79), deified after his death on June 23, 79
Begun under Vespasian's son Titus (79/81) and completed by the other Vespasian's son Domitian (81/96).
It is mentioned for the first time in 87 by the sources
The dedication is only to Vespasian, but it was also dedicated to Titus. The inscription, in part lost, was copied in the ninth century when it was intact and it refers to a restoration of the Severan period (200/205)
The temple was prostyle hexastyle and Corinthian: the cella was preceded by a portico with six columns in front and three on the sides and there were no other columns. Because of the small space available, the front steps ended in between the columns behind the façade
There is a short stretch of one of the side walls left, leaning against the Tabularium
In the cella there is a podium at the bottom, where there were cult statues of the two emperors
At the beginning of 1800s, the landfill had almost reached the capitals of the three columns, when excavations in 1811 by Giuseppe Valadier (1762/1839) revealed the remains, with the recovery of fragments of the entablature now in the Tabularium
Rebuilt at least six times due to fires caused by the flame which was kept in the Temple
The remains belong to the reconstruction of Julia Domna, wife of Septimius Severus (197/211) after the fire of 191
It was abandoned after the abolition of the pagan cults of 391 with Theodosius (379/395) and the defeat of the last defenders of paganism in Aquileia in 394
The plan of the Temple now is the one after the reconstruction following the fire of 64, which also changed the orientation of the Atrium Vestae aligned with the main axis of the Forum
Inside there was a brazier with an eternal flame to symbolize the goddess, the hearth of the Roman State, of which the Vestal Virgins were responsible and over which they had to be vigilant to make sure that it wouldn't be extinguished
The VESTAL VIRGINS were six of whom one was a dean, the virgo vestalis maxima, taken from patrician families when they were between 6 and 10 year old. They had to remain virgins in the priesthood for 30 years, with death penalty in the event of infringement consisting of being buried alive in the Campus Sceleratus, an underground room in the Servian Agger by the Collina Gate. The man who had had sex with the Vestal Virgin was beaten to death
The Vestal Virgins had immense privileges, however, including first and foremost, absolute respect even formal from anybody and, being women, in such a male chauvinist society as the Roman one, it was something extraordinary
One should consider that in ancient Rome women did not even have the right to a name, and took what it was the name of the father in the feminine version: if the father Antonio had a little girl, the girl's name was Antonia and if there was a sister the first would become Antonia Maior and the second Antonia Minor. If there was a third sister, the first would become Antonia Prima (Antonia first), the second Antonia Secunda (Antonia second), the third Antonia Tertia (Antonia third) and so on
Among the rights of the Vestal Virgins was the release from father's authority, the right to make a will, the right to pardon a condemned man who they had accidentally met, the right to burial within the Pomerium such was their sacredness. They also had the best seats during the shows of gladiators at the Colosseum or races at the Circus Maximus and they were the only persons authorized to travel with a coach in the pedestrian area of the Forum
It is assumed that inside the temple there was a hidden area called PENUS VESTAE, accessible only to the Vestal Virgins. Here there were very old and important objects including the Palladium, a small statue of Minerva that it was said to have been brought back from Troy by Aeneas
Near the southeast corner there is a ROOM WITH AN APSE, maybe a place of worship corresponding to the shrine of Aius Locutius mysterious God identified with Faun
The rooms in the north sector probably belonged to the DOMUS PUBLICA, where Julius Caesar lived from 62 to 44 BC
Two meters (6.5 feet) under the House of the Vestal Virgins the HOUSE OF NUMA POMPILIUS AND ANCUS MARCIUS was found in 2001, a building with six rooms, and not far away, the HOUSE OF TARQUINI which later became home of the Pontifex Maximus
Circular building brick (diameter 4.45 m - 15 feet) superimposed on an underground cavity with a small door that was opened three times a year, August 24, October 5 and November 8
It indicated the center of Rome, the idea of the omphalós of the Greek cities
It seems that the construction would coincide with the Mundus, a sacred place dedicated to Proserpine and Dite, where Romulus would have dug a pit which it was said that "it was in communication with the underworld"
Next, there is a very ancient altar, built not later than the sixth century BC, near the Arch of Septimius Severus identified with certainty with the ALTAR OF SATURN and not with the Volcanal which was under the Lapis Niger. It would have been built by the Pelasgians in honor of Saturn, identified with the Greek god Kronos: the god himself would have founded a settlement on the Capitoline Hill, which would have taken the name of Saturnia
Originally vaulted great hall and a complex with an atrium, hall and three rooms at the far end
It has been identified with the Athenaeum, the school of higher learning founded by Hadrian, although new excavations seem to locate the Athenaeum in Piazza Venezia
The last restorations date back to the V/VI century
In the VI century St. Maria Antiqua was founded in the complex
Church of the VI century
In the year 847 it was buried by a landslide and in the thirteenth century the church S. MARIA LIBERATRICE (St. Mary Liberator) was built over it
It was rebuilt by Onorio Longhi in 1617 and destroyed in 1909 to reveal the original S. Maria Antiqua
It was called "Antiqua" (ancient) after the construction of S. Maria Nova (new), later known as S. Francesca Romana
In the RIGHT NAVE fresco detached from the atrium with "Mary enthroned between saints and angels" with Adrian I (772/795), who commissioned the painting, represented with the square nimbus of the living
1) 553, immediately after the Byzantine conquest when the hall was used by guards, with iconic flatness of Constantinople origin
2) 565/578, "Annunciation" with angel known as Angelo Bello o Angelo Pompeiano (Beautiful Angel or Pompeian Angel) painted when the hall became Palatine Church: there is the hand of an artist with the most refined and Hellenistic keen sense of the light effects
3) 649/653, "Sts. Basil and John", "Solomon" and "Maccabees" with expert use of shadow
"The Pompeian Angel is not an isolated phenomenon. In S. Maria Antiqua itself, a fresco depicting Salome and her children, the Maccabean martyrs, has very similar faces, softly modeled, and figures that move lightly in an airy space. This and other similar paintings on the walls of the church testify as contemporary Byzantine art had invaded Rome and it was rooted, to be quickly absorbed and transposed into a local vernacular" (Richard Krautheimer)
4) 705/707, for John VII (705/707) with direct references to Byzantine art, suggesting the intervention of teachers who had come from Constantinople
"Crucifixion" 741/752 with Christ wearing the colobium (a long tunic) and, on the sides of the cross, the sun and the moon. On the left wall, entering the chapel, "Passion of S. Giulitta and her son Quirico". On the right wall "Theodotus and his wife introduce the faithful to Our Lady"
In the LEFT NAVE there are pagan and Christian sarcophagi, including the one with "Story of Jonah"
In the left wall frescoes in three bands: the upper two with "Stories of the Old Testament" and the bottom one with "Jesus and the saints of the Greek and Latin churches"
Adapted from a hall dating back from the time of Trajan (98/117), known as "of the forty martyrs" because of the eighth-century fresco in the apse which refers to the martyrdom of forty Christians soldiers in Armenia during the persecution of Diocletian (284/305)
The building was probably originally the Curia Acculeia with the tomb and the shrine of Acca Larentia, the legendary nurse of Romulus
Monumental two-story building
It was a warehouse for grain, built by Agrippa not far from the Forum Boarium the nearby neighborhood of merchants

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