Forum of Caesar

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The Forum of Caesar (Forum Iulium or Foro di Cesare), was a public square in ancient Rome, located in the north-eastern part of the city between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills. It was built by Julius Caesar in 46 BCE as part of his program of urban renewal and was dedicated to the memory of his father, also named Gaius Julius Caesar.

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The forum was designed to be the center of Roman political and economic life, and included several important buildings such as the Temple of Venus Genetrix and the Curia Julia (the meeting place of the Roman Senate). It also served as a location for important political and religious events and was decorated with statues and other works of art. The forum was a major center of Roman life for several centuries, but fell into disuse and ruin after the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century CE.


circa 46 BCE

Square, Porticos and the Basilica Argentaria
The square of the Caesar's Forum was built on the architectural model of the Greek porticoes. It presents a temple at the centre of one of its short sides following the Etruscan and Italic fashion. The Forum, with a rectangular plan, was actually surrounded on three sides by porticoes with rooms (shops or offices), whereas the Temple of Venus Genetrix dominated the center of the fourth side. Close to the Temple of Venus Genetrix there was a hilly area which was dug out for the construction of the emperor Trajan's Forum (built circa 112-113 CE). This intervention also involved important works in the Forum of Caesar and the reconstruction of the Temple itself.

circa 46 BCE

Southern Portico and the Piazza of Caesar's Forum
The Forum of Caesar was in fact constructe on an immense rectangular piazza measuring around 100 x 45 meters, and was covered on thress sides (east, west and south) by colonnaded porticos, with two aisles and on the northern end of this plaza, stood the Temple of Venus Genetrix. The ruins of the podium and part of the western colonnade were recreated in 1933 CE.

In the pre-historic era (circa tenth and ninth centuries BCE) this area was originally a burial ground, where some tombs were discovered during excavations made in 1998-2000 CE. During the age of the Roman Republic, this was a rich residential area that was extensively demolished to allow space for the Caesar's Forum.

The current imposing structures of the Forum of Caesar and the Curia Julia (which is directly adjanct to the southern portico) date back to the restoration work carried out in the Forum by the emperor Maxentius and Diocletian, following the fire of 283 CE. The remains of the coloured marble flooring of the southern portico belong to the same period as well. As part of the renovation works, the central row of columns was removed in the southern portico and the space was transformed in to a huge room attached to the Curia Julia.

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