Trajan & Imperial Forums, Rome
Trajan's Forum is the youngest of the imperial forums and the first you will se when coming from Piazza Venezia / Via del Corso. It mainly consists of the "Basicila Ulpia" (a large building probably used by justice and education authorities), the impressive markets of Trajan and Trajan's temple. There are also some smaller buildings including a triumphal arch leading from/to the forum of Augustus and the well known Trajan's column (please have a look at my or other traveller's tips to learn more about this column). The markets of Trajan, seen in the picture, could be regarded as the first kind of shopping mall as we know it today: It was a complex of around 150 shops where goods from all over the empire were available.
Please note that during the past few years opening times and fees have changed and are changing (mostly due to construction or archeological work access to one or other place is limited), so please contact a local tourist information if you want to visit the markets. Just have in mind that the markets have more limited opening hours than the Forum Romanum, the Colosseum or the Palatinum. If you do not have a lot of time (like I did that day), visit the three mentioned places and have a look onto Trajan's forum from the Via Alessandrina.
The ancient market place and center of civil life in Rome was in this forum. The road known as the sacred way bisects the forum which is full of the ruins of temples, markets and city buildings.
There is no charge for visiting the forums.
The Forum of Augustus was built to celebrate Augustus's victory in 41 BC over Brutus and Cassius, the assassins of Julius Caesar. As a consequence the temple in it's centre was dedicated to Mars the Avenger. The temple, with it's cracked steps and four Corinthian columns, is easily identified (see photo). Originally it had a statue of Mars that looked very like Augustus himself.
Trajan began to build his forum in AD 107 to commemorate his final conquest of Dacia (present day Romania) after successful campaigns in AD 101-2 and 105-6. His new forum was the most ambitious yet, with a vast colonnaded open space centring on an equestrian statue of the emperor, a huge basilica and two big libraries.
Dominating the Forum ruins is Trajan's Column spiralling up 30m (98ft) high. Squalled detailed scenes from the Dacian campaigns, beginning with the Roman's preparing for war and ending with the Dacians being ousted from their homeland, fill the entire length of the column. The reliefs were designed to be seen from viewing platforms located by two libraries.
Legend has it that it’s from this tower that Nero watched the city burn, playing the lyre. In actual fact, this tower was built only in the XIII century, by Pope Gregory IX. It originally had three levels, of which now two remain.
The column at the Trojan Forum was dedicated to Ulpio Trajano, and commemorates his great expeditions and war winnings against the Dacius. It's 40 metres high and a statue of Saint Peter is in the top, since 1587, done by the artist T. Della Porta.
On the column and in a spiral way, the battles are carved in marble with perfect detail. At the base of the column there is a funerary cell, where the emperor's ashes are supposed to be.
Because of Rome's expansion, it seemed to be that just one forum wasn't enough. That is why the Imperial Forums were constructed. The first one was made done by Julius Caesar by the end of the Republic. Thus, the Julius Forum was constructed. After that, many more were constructed: the Augustus Forum, the Vespasian Forum, the Nerva Forum and the Trajean Forum.
One next to each other you can see and feel the huge expansion of Rome, and how it came to be one of the biggest empires of the World.
When visiting the Roman Forums you’ll probably just forget to try to identify whose Forum is which, but the Trajan’s Forum is quite easy to recognize, since it’s located on the side of Trajan’s Column. It was the last to be built (107-112 A.D.), and also the grandest, measuring 300m x 180m. The centre of the Forum was occupied by an equestrian statue of the Emperor, surrounded by two porticoes with columns, and with a large exedra on the back. Now you can see only a little part of the originary Forum, since most of it is buried under Via dei Fori Imperiali.
Sincerely, I’m not sure of what are the origins of this statue; it’s probably a bronze copy of a more famous statue which I don’t remember where it’s located ^_^. In Via dei Fori Imperiali there are also similar statues of Augustus and Nerva.
Via dei Fori Imperiali was built during the Fascist era, connecting the Colosseum to piazza Venezia, and walking along it is a great way to take a panoramic view of the Forums. The panel in the pic is one of four located on a wall, representing the Roman Empire at its maximum height.
This elegant marble column was inaugurated by Trajan in 113 A.D., and celebrates his two successful campaigns in Dacia (Romania) in 101-2 A.D. and 105-6 A.D. The column, base and pedestal are 40m tall – precisely the same height as the spur of the Quirinal hill which was excavated to make room for Trajan’s Forum. Spiralling up the column are minutely detailed scenes from the campaigns, beginning with the Romans preparing for war and ending with the Dacians being ousted from their homeland.
Marcus Ulpius Traianus was the ruler of Rome from 98 untill 117. He gave the Roman Empire its biggest surface. This gave him the name `optimus princeps´, that means very best emperor.
Traianus has built his own forum, the Forum Traianum. It was built between 106 and 113 by his architect Apollodorus of Damascus. Its the last and the biggest of all Fori Imperiali. It has a length of 300 metres and a whith of 185 metres.
The entrance had the shape of a enormous triumph arch. Because the passage trough the arch was very narrow, the Forum was even more impressive when entered. There were a lot of important building at the forum. In the middle there was a huge statue of Traianus sitting on a horse. At the northside there was a big markethall with several floors. It was crossed by a shopping street, the Via Biberatica.
At the northwest there were temples of Divus Traianus (god traianus) and Diva Plotina. Hadrianus ordered the first temple to be built in 121, when Traianus died. This temple doesn´t excist anymore. At the place it used to stand, now stands a church: the Santa Maria di Loreto.
At the back of the forum there was the Basilica Ulpia. Ulpia was the familyname of Traianus. Is used to be 180 metres long and 70 metres wide and was the biggest ever built in the Roman Empire.
The column of Traianus also was an important part of the forum. It stood between two libraries, behind the Basilica and before the Divus Traianus. It´s the only part of the forum that is really well kept.
To prevent the column of being destroyed, in 1162 a law was made that said: He who damages the column will be centensed to death. It was built in 113 to remind the victory in Dacia by Traianus.
The column is covered by a comicbook. Images tell the story of the battle of Dacia. On top there was a statue of Traianus, but that was destroyed. In 1587 pope Sixtus IV ordered to put a statue of Petrus on top of it. The column also is the grave of Traianus. Inside the base there is a room that keeps the ashes of Traianus and his wife.
The Temple of Mar Ultor (Mars the Avenger) dominates the Forum of Augustus. With this Forum Augustus intended to enlarge the area of the Roman Forum and the Forum of Caesar. Dedicated to the Roman god of war, Mars, the building was constructed to commemorate the victory in 42 B.C. at Philippi in Macedonia over Brutus and Cassius, conspirators in the plot to assassinate Julius Caesar. It was completed and inaugurated in 2 B.C.
Mussolini had the Via Imperiale built from Piazza Venezia (where he used to give speaches from the Pallazzo Venezia) to Coliseum. Unfortunately a lot of the old Forum Romanum was torn down in the process.
I think it is quite a beautiful road with trees lining its side but it really shouldn't have been there in the first place...