The Roman Forum

Adam Shock, Amber Martin, Olivia Hudson (4A)

What is a forum? What activities take place there?

The forum was a collection of the main buildings in Roman cities and the buildings surrounded the forum. It held markets and some that were in larger cities held religious ceremonies and public meetings. It also became the center of politics and held religious statues and busts of gods, goddesses, and emperors. Before the forum was built it was an uninhabited swamp.

What careers could be pursued in the Forum?

Businessman, Financiers, Lawyers, Scholar, Soothsayer, Charlatan, Merchants, and Senator were some common jobs located in the forum.

What was the Forum Boarium?

The oldest forum in Rome sat near the Tiber River between three of Rome’s seven hills: Palatine, Capitoline, and Aventine.

Discuss the functions and give an illustration for the following buildings found in the Forum Romanum.

a. The Basilica Julia was created by Julius Caesar and it was used as a civil court specializing in disputes of inheritance. It was destroyed after it was rebuilt in 16 BC so not much remains today.

b.The Tabularium was a record office and held the official State archives and had eleven large arches. It’s arched windows and looks out over the Forum.

c.The Rostra was the speaker’s platform. It was originally built in the fourth century BC in a nearby location. As part of his modification of the Forum, Caesar had the Rostra built at its present location but just in marble. Rostra means ‘battering rams’ derived from the iron clad battering rams of Volscian war vessels captured at the battle of Antium in 338 BC. It was decorated with those battering rams.

d. It served as the location where the Senate assembled. It was able to seat up to two hundred senators and it burned down four times and was rebuilt the last time in 283 AD by Diocletian. In the seventh century it was made into a church and was kept mostly intact throughout the centuries.

e. The Temple of Vesta dates back to the fourth century BC, dedicated to the protectress of both the family and the State. The Vestal Virgins guarded the eternal flame, symbol of the eternal life in Rome. “The Virgins guarding the flame were chosen by the Pontifex Maximus, the supreme religious authority of the State. The girls, who had to aristocrates, had to for serve thirty years.”

f. Considered the most beautiful building in Rome. It was a place for business and since it was at the front of the Forum it was a place for new shops.

g.“The Regia in Rome was a consecrated temple thought to have been built by the second king of Rome, Numa Pompilius. The Regia was the headquarters of the pontifex maximus. In the Regia were shrines of Mars and Ops Consivae. Only priests and vestal virgins could enter the shrine of Ops Consivae. The Regia burned at least twice, in 148 and 36 BC Nero’s fire may also have burned the rebuilt Regia in AD.

What became of these buildings after the fall of Rome? Which of these buildings were used in a different capacity? Which of these buildings are still standing today?

The main operation drainage system is still in operation today. Many of the buildings are still standing today. They were all converted from the original Roman market when the Forum first was built. The Tabularium held the state archives. The Curia Julia was originally where the senate assembled. And in the 7th century it was turned into a church.



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