Forum Boarium

By the Editors of the Madain Project

The Forum Boarium (Foro Boario), was an ancient Roman marketplace (forum venalium) for the sale of cattle. It was situated on a flat area near the Tiber River, between the Capitoline, Palatine, and Aventine hills. The location was also the site of Rome's original docks, known as Portus Tiberinus, making it a hub of commercial activity.

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The Forum Boarium was the location of the initial gladiator games in Rome. This occurred in 264 BCE as part of a funeral tradition for the elite, called munus, as a tribute to the deceased. Marcus and Decimus Junius Brutus Scaeva organized a gladiatorial fight as a memorial for their father and featured six gladiators.

The Forum Boarium was not only a marketplace and commercial hub, but also a religious center that featured several important temples. The Temple of Hercules Victor, the Temple of Portunus (also known as the Temple of Fortuna Virilis), and the Great Altar of Hercules, which was built in the sixth or fifth century BCE, were all located here in the Forum Boarium.

Notable Structures

circa 150 BCE

Temple of Hercules Victor
The Temple of Hercules Victor (Tempio di Ercole Vincitore), also known as the Temple of Hercules Olivarius (Hercules the Olive Branch Bearer) is a circular temple built in second century BCE, with a peristyle of Corinthian columns arranged in a circular pattern around the cylindrical inner chamber, which sits on a tuff foundation. The building originally had an architrave and roof, but these have been lost. The temple is the oldest surviving marble building in Rome and for long it was known as Temple of Vesta.

circa 80 BCE

Temple of Portunus
The Temple of Portunus (Tempio di Portuno) is a rectangular building constructed between 100-80 BCE, It is composed of a four-columned portico and an inner chamber, or cella, that is reached by a set of steps. The four Ionic columns of the portico stand independently, while the six columns on the long sides and four columns at the rear are integrated into the walls of the cella. The temple is made of tuff and travertine and has a stucco surface. It was for long known as the Temple of Fortuna Virilis.

circa 1710 CE

Fountain of the Tritons
The Fountain of the Tritons (Fontana dei Tritoni) is a fountain in Rome (Italy), Piazza Bocca della Verità, in front of the basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. This fountain should be distinguished from the similarly named nearby Triton Fountain (Fontana del Tritone) by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, in the Piazza Barberini, with only a single Triton.

The Tritons Fountain was constructed in 1715 CE. The travertine structure sits on a circular step made up of 16 small columns and a grate. The main basin is in the shape of an octagon with concave sides, which was the heraldic symbol of the Pope's family, the Albanis. In the center of the fountain, there is a group of rocks and bushes with two Tritons, sculpted by Francesco Moratti, kneeling on their tails and holding up their arms to support a large oyster shell that serves as the upper basin. The coat of arms of the Pope is located between the two Tritons.

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