Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Roman Forum

Hi Everyone!  Ready for another tour of Rome?  This time, we're headed to. . . . . . .

The Roman Forum
The Roman Forum was considered the political and civic heart of the Roman Empire.  I personally liken it to Washington, D.C.  This is the view of the Forum from the Colosseum.  The word Forum means "central meeting area".
 It was at the Roman Forum, at The Rostrum, that Marc Anthony made his famous speech - "Friends, Romans, Countrymen...." after Julius Caesar's assassination. 
 These three columns belonged to the Temple of Castor and Pollux, who were the patron gods of Rome. This temple had been the primary meeting place for the Roman Senate.   
 I overheard one tour guide say that these were storage areas.  The guide commented that even back then, people always needed more storage than they had at hand.

 More storage areas. 
 A labyrinth.  Notice the trees in the background? These are typical of the Roman landscape.
  This is a view of the Forum from the Palatine Hill.
 A view of the Colosseum from the Roman Forum.
 Another camera shy photo, as we're about to enter the Forum.
 Many of the areas were closed to visitors, as renovations and excavations are always under way in one area or another.
The Forum started life as a marsh between the Palatine and Capitoline hills.  Later, it became a rubbish dump!  Then, when it was drained, a marketplace and religious shrines were created.
 These three arches, known as barrel vaults, belong to the side of the Basilica of Maxentius.  It was started in the year 306, by Emperor Maxentius, and finished by his successor, Constantine.
 This was originally the Temple of Antoninus and Faustine, but was changed into the Church of St. Lorenzo during the 17th century.

 The last fresh water underground spring in the Forum, with small Koi.  At one time, these springs were everywhere.  Understandable, when you consider the whole area used to be marshland.
 Petrified coral at the base of the underground spring.

"Hey....wait for me!!! I just need one more picture!!"

 For some odd reason, I initially thought the Roman Forum was basically just a small area.  But as you can see, it was the very heart of City of Rome.
 More renovations.  There were many areas which we couldn't get to on this trip, which Laura had been to when she was here the year previous, while she was on R&R from Afghanistan.
Close-up of the statue from the previous picture, on the top left.  Thank Heaven for zoom lenses!!

Stopping for a rest.  It was very hot, and the humidity was even worse than what we get in Alabama!  Notice on the walls, in the background are mosaics over 2,000 years old!! 

 These structures that have  been laid out in the areas where they would have stood.  Looting has reduced the forum literally to ruins.  At one time, anyone visiting Rome could pick up and take pieces of the Forum home with them as souvenirs.

A sad picture of neglect now, but can you imagine how it must have looked all those years ago?!
Marble steps!
The ruins at twilight.  The partial column on the left is marble.
These are the bases of columns that once stood here.
Close-up of the bases of columns.
 One of the surprising things is that we would be walking along, and then suddenly, there in the dust, would be a piece of history - just sitting there!  Quite an experience!!

 Close-up of the previous picture.

 My Fashionista Granddaughter!!  We bought the hat from a street vendor as we were entering the Forum.

 Another view of the Forum entrance, from the top of the Colosseum.

 Another view from the Colosseum.

 Renovations to shore up and prevent further ruin.  As you can imagine, it is a massive undertaking, considering the age of Rome.
That's it for the Roman Forum.  If you ever get a chance to go to Italy, this is one of the many places you won't want to miss.