Friday, January 10, 2014


Imperial Fora
Successive extensions of the republican Roman Forum in the imperial period, with the same functions, although in larger spaces enriched with decorations, for the purpose of public utility and propaganda of the emperors
Temple of Peace
Templum Pacis erroneously known as "Foro della Pace" (Forum of Peace) for the scheme very similar to that of the Imperial Fora of which eventually became an extension
Built for Vespasian (69/79) in the years 71/75 to celebrate the victory over the Jews
It was built in place of the covered market, the Macellum, which had been replaced by the Macellum Magnum on Celium Hill that Nero had built as early as 59
It was formed by a Temple with apse, where the cult statue was located, flanked by several rooms and a huge open square (110 x 135 m - 330 x 443 feet) mainly occupied by flower beds and fountains and surrounded by a four-sided portico
Inside there was the booty from the Temple of Jerusalem, including the famous seven-branched candelabrum, the Menorah, and the silver trumpets, as weel as many works of art as the "Group of Galatians" from Pergamon and other works by sculptors such as Myron of Eleutere (about 500/440 BC) (his famous "Cow"), Phidias, Naukydes, Leochares (the "Ganymede") and Polykleitos of Argos (about 490/425 BC) (the "Pythocles") or painters like Protogenes, Nicomachus and Elena, for the most part raided by Nero in Greece and Asia Minor for his Domus Aurea
It was, according to Pliny, one of the most beautiful monuments in the world
It was destroyed by fire and was rebuilt in 192 by Septimius Severus (193/211)
During this reconstruction two halls were built, probably the Praefectura Urbis headquarters, located in the south side, near the corner of the Basilica of Maxentius, which were used in the years 526/530 for the construction of the church of Sts. Cosmas and Damian
It is possible to see now the whole south-west wall of the first room (34 x 18 m - 111 x 59 feet), characterized by the brick curtain of the Severan rebuilding
Among modern windows it is possible to recognize the holes arranged in regular rows where metal pins used to be. They used to hold up the marble slabs on which the FORMA URBIS was engraved. It was a monumental marble map of Rome in 151 panels (scale 1/246) 18,10 m (60 feet) large and 13 m (43 feet) high, for an area of 253 m² (2,723 square feet). It was built between 203 and 211 at the time of Septimius Severus and about one-tenth of it is preserved in numerous fragments
It is the fundamental document for our knowledge of the topography of ancient Rome. Unfortunately most of the fragments lie forgotten in deposits
It is likely that the wall opposite to that of the Forma Urbis was decorated with a large map in colors of Italy of which fragments of paintings on marble were found

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