Trajan's Market

By the Editors of the Madain Project

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Trajan's Market (Mercati di Traiano) is a large archaeological ruins complex of ancient Roman market place in the city of Rome, Italy. It is located on the Via dei Fori Imperiali, at the opposite end to the Colosseum.


The surviving edifices and constructions, conceived as essential components of Trajan's Forum and situated adjacent to the uncovered side of the Quirinal Hill, offer a tangible representation of day to day life in the ancient Roman metropolis. These ruins also provide a preview of the city's rejuvenation, uncovering fresh riches and knowledge concerning the architecture of ancient Rome in the late first and early second centuries CE.

Trajan's Market is believed to have been constructed around 100–110 CE by Apollodorus of Damascus, an architect closely associated with emperor Trajan. Trajan entrusted him with designing his forum, and the Market was officially opened in 113 CE. Over the course of the Middle Ages, the complex underwent changes, including the addition of more levels which can still be observed today. Defensive components, like the Torre delle Milizie (the "militia tower"), were added to the market complex around 1200 CE. In the sixteenth century CE, a Christian convent was established in the vicinity of market complex, eventually coming under state ownership in 1885 CE and being transformed into the Goffredo Mameli barracks. However, at the start of the twentieth century CE, the barracks were demolished to restore Trajan's Markets to their original state.

Notable Structures

circa 1200 CE

Tower of the Militia
The "militia tower" (torre delle milizie) was most probably constructed during the time of Pope Innocent III (1198–1216 CE) under the Aretino family. One of the main medieval monuments of the city, the Torre delle Milizie is built on a square plan, its base sides measure 10.5 metres (34 feet) × 9.5 metres (31 feet). The original height of the tower is uncertain, but following the earthquake of 1348 CE, the top two floors were demolished, reducing the structure to its present height of approximately 50 metres (160 feet). The 1348 CE earthquake also resulted in the slight tilting of the structure.

circa 112 CE

Via Biberatica
The Via Biberatica (from the Latin bibo, bibere meaning "to drink"; the street was the location for several of the Roman taverns (taberna) and grocers' shops in the area). The road passes through Trajan's Market, curving along the shope of the outer exedra.


circa 112 CE

Construction Details
The market itself is constructed primarily out of brick and concrete.

Museum of the Imperial Fora

circa 2007 CE

Established in 2007, the Museum of the Imperial Fora (Museo dei Fori Imperiali) contains a vast assortment of historical items collected from the archaeological remains of the forums of ancient Rome. The contemporary access points to Trajan's Market can be found at Via Quattro Novembre, and Piazza Madonna di Loreto. Upon entering, visitors are greeted by a commercial space divided on two sides, which was once the location for the distribution of free wheat to the populace of Rome.

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