Europe Forums

Post New Topic

Recent Activity

  • Announcements:
  • Come explore the new Fodor’s Forum
    by ibobi Fodor's Editor | Posted on Dec 4, 17 at 08:03 PM
  • New Fodor’s forum -- coming soon!
    by ibobi Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 29, 17 at 08:01 PM
View all Europe activity »
  1. 1 AOL 1~800~681:7208 password reset Contact AOL Techh care
  2. 2 Is a quick stopover in Bern worth it with 3 kids?
  3. 3 Best area to stay near Split for easy beach access.
  4. 4 beware of robbed in Milan
  5. 5 Help me get excited about a week in Portugal
  6. 6 Which Area in London?
  7. 7 where to buy baby gifts in paris?
  8. 8 Barcelona - Rome Viking Ocean Cruise
  9. 9 Sorrento to Montepulciano- where to rent car?
  10. 10 Trip Report London 'Tube-less', Fine dining, Fun excursions plus a GTG
  11. 11 What did your teenagers love the most of their Italy trip?
  12. 12 Planning a Trip from DC to Anywhere in Europe (Budget Friendly)
  13. 13 Help me pick a destination --- Please!
  14. 14 Four Nights in Nice--What should we do?
  15. 15 Current plan for March trip
  16. 16 First time in Spain
  17. 17 Connecting trains in Chambery
  18. 18 Barcelona to Malaga
  19. 19 Best area to stay in Amsterdam for a first time visitor
  20. 20 Looking for Paris Rental Apt.
  21. 21 Copying a post on Swiss gondolas.
  22. 22 Christmas in!
  23. 23 Help needed for Bergamo to Venice journey
  24. 24 Dublin for St. Patricks Day
  25. 25 Recommendations Budget hotel Paris
View next 25 » Back to the top

Rome: ParadiseLost's Roman Forum Walking Tour (Part 2)

Jump to last reply

I'm afraid the original or Part 1 is getting so long that it might someday just stop accepting additions.
So just in case I'm going to post this Part 2 URL to the original which is here OR
So please just let this sink to the bottom where I can retrive it someday if need be. Regards, Walter

  • Report Abuse

    6 yrs and you're STILL NOT FINISHED!!! :-)
    I will try AGAIN to finish this once and for all:-).


    Ok now, look behind (east) the Hole and you will see a small equestrian pedestal base with some short column fragments lying on the rightside (south) of the raised base.
    ��This isn't your view of it, you would be standing over on the middle right edge of the photo; OR
    �It's *possible* that this is the base for the bronze equestrian statue of 'Constantine the Great' (Equus Constantini).

    In 312AD Constantine kicked Emperor Maxentius butt and became Emperor of the Western Roman Empire and the 1st (semi-)Christian Emperor.

    And in 324 became the Emperor of both the Western and Eastern Empires. He also built the 1st St. Peter's Basilica.

    In 334AD Anicius Paulinus (Consul Ordinarius & Praefectus Urbi) dedicated an equestian statue of Constantine in the middle of the Forum Sq.

    Whether this is that statue's pedestal base is not known for certain but it did have a very honorable location which was directly centered on axis with the 'Late Imperial Rostra' which occupied the eastern end of the Forum Sq.

    �That Rostra was mostly mistakenly destroyed during the early excavations thinking that it was a Medieval bldg.
    The pedestal is of very shoddy workmanship even for Constantine's time (remember Rome is in decline and the real power now lies in the west... Constantinople).

    The concrete and brick core sits directly on the Forum pavement with 3 reused blocks of travertine forming the top.
    And on top of the travertine blocks cut fragments of marble columns were placed (I assume those lying on the ground next to the base, reused Numidian Yellow columns).

    �Times are tough, I wonder if the bronze equestian statue was really cast just for Constantine or a reused older statue just renamed?

    Before you leave this area which is the only section where you can actually stand in the fenced-off Forum Sq. just try to imagine.
    �In the ~1200yrs from the draining of the marsh and turning this into dry land to the last monument dedicated in 608AD what went on here and who walked upon this football field size area.

    �Become part of the crowds cheering Rome's latest victory or trembling at the news of a defeat.
    �The riots, civil wars, invasions, politican murders and the military triumphs that happened here.
    �Kings, dictators, Emperors, historcal figures, etc addressing the cheering, jeering or fearful crowds gathered here and where many historical persons had their funerals.
    �And a million untold stories of those who walked over this same Square be they royality, slave, citizen, rich, poor, lover, villian, saint, etc.

    �'The Butterfly Effect' of what happened or didn't happen here severely impacted how our modern World turned-out.

    March 15, 44BC late morning; Julius Caesar's litter passes thru the Forum Sq. in his hand is a note that was just given to him that warns him that he will be assassinated at the Senate meeting. He never read the note.
    If he had read it while passing thru the Forum, the World's history as we know it would have been drastically changed right-up to the present day.
    And you would not be reading this because I never existed and neither do you:-(.

  • Report Abuse


    So leave this little nook in the Forum Sq. and turn left on the Via Sacra and walk to the brick remains (a small bldg) just after the last of the 7 Honorary Column Bases [SE corner of the Forum Sq.].

    It actually looks like a slightly larger version of an 8th Column Base which early excavators thought it was.

    But it is the remains of the southern-end of a Rostra that occupied this end of the Forum Sq.

    Except for this end it was mistakenly dismantled/destroyed in 1887 by Pietro Rosa during his Forum excavations, he thought it was a later Medieval bldg...oops!

    It was a long concrete and brick-faced structure and the section that survives today has an inner staircase that would lead to the top of this Rostra (it's likely that another staircase was at the opposite end).

    The brick facing likely had a white stucco finish to give the appearance of marble.

    Today a rectangular patch of grass is grown to show the outline of this structure and it is also surrounded (on the ground) by some of the molded marble plinths that adorned this Rostra.

    Who built it is not positively known but narrowed down to the Early 4C by either Diocletian, Maxentius or Constantine.

    Some 19C/early20C archaeologists believed it was the 'Rostra ad Divi Julii' (Rostra of Divine Julius [Caesar]) built by Augustus.

    And they claimed that later it was completely rebuilt in ~Early-4thC in an attempt to explain why the brickstamps show that 4C time period.

    But this is totally wrong because it was based on an ancient sources that say *a* Rostra was *in front* of the 'Temple of Divus Julius' (Divine Julius Caesar).

    This is true but the Rostra and the Caesar Temple are the same structure.
    A large rectangular podium/base 3.5m high was built to elevate the Temple.

    The Temple is set-back on this elevated podium so the area in front that faces the Forum Sq. is wlde open, creating an elevated Rostra. Rostra[], Steps|||, Temple[T]...[]|||[T].

    Bottomline: Why would Augustus build 3 Rostra in a row esp since this one would block-out the 2nd one at the Temple?
    Plus zero physical evidence (brickstamps, etc) linking this structure to Augustus' reign ~300yrs earlier.

    One reason we don't know much about it is because it was built in the declining era of the Western Roman Empire (Rome) and the real power is in the Eastern Roman Empire (Constantinople).

    The most logical choice is that this is the 'Rostra Diocletian'.

    In 283AD a major fire destroys much of the Forum 1 yr before he becomes the Eastern Emperor.

    In 303 he rebuilds the Curia, Basilica Julia, etc and puts 5 columns on the old Rostra and very likely builds this new Rostra with matching 5 columns.

    Now on the rightside of this remaining Rostra structure there is a rectangular marble statue base (~2m long) with an inscription.
    On top of this base are holes where statues of the 3 Rulers were attached.

    Also on top of this base is a smaller square marble cube with a nice design on it.
    I doubt they are connected it was most likely just placed there by the early excavators of the Forum to display it but it is likely that it was part of this Rostra.

    The inscription reads;

    This translation is modern rearrangement of the inscription and easier to understand;

    DEDICATION BY LUCIUS VALERIUS SEPTIMIUS BASSUS WHO IS THE 'PRAEFECTUS URBI' (Prefect of Rome; like a Mayor 379-383AD) [These next 2 are step-brothers]
    TO FLAVIUS GRATIANUS (Emperor & co-Emperor of the West/Rome 367-383 & 375-383; troops deserted him, later assassinated by inner circle officer)
    (co-Emperor West 375-392; palace suicide but most likely murdered by his General)
    AND THEODOSIUS I (co-Emperor and the last sole Emperor of the East & West in the last 5 months of his life 379-395, proclaimed Catholic as the one true Christian religion and in 391 banned Paganism and shut down their temples.

    Turn around and look at the Shrine of Vesta, on his orders the sacred fire that has burned for ~1000yrs is allowed to burn-out and the Vestal Virgins are 'kicked to the curb'.

    Info + photo half way down this page:
    Close-up photo:

  • Report Abuse


    Ok now, we are next going to check-out the street between the Temple of Castor and the Basilica Julia.

    Its name 'Vicus Tuscus' means 'Street of the Etruscans'.

    We'll go with the legend 1st: The soldiers of the Etruscan Chief Caelius Vibennus who was an ally of Romulus settled in this area.

    They were on the Caelian Hill (named after Chief Caelius) but the suspicious Romans didn't want them to have the high ground (a hill) and wanted them closer to keep an eye on them.

    Another possibility was, it was inhabited by Etruscan refugees.

    But more likely it was just named after Etruscan workmen who were building the Temple of Jupiter (C6-BC) on the Capitoline Hill and that was where they lived.

    The street leads to the Circus Maximus and was used for parades esp during the Ludi Romani (Roman Games), when statues were carried down from the Capitoline Hill to the Circus.

    During the Republic it was lined with wealthy houses and shops (bookshops are mentioned) and in later years by commercial storage bldgs (Horrea).

    It had a bad rep for having young thieves hanging nearby looking for their next victim.
    Plautus wrote in ~194BC "Behind the Temple of Castor are those whom you would do ill to trust to quickly.
    In the Vicus Tucsus are those worthies who sell themselves, either to those who turn themselves or give others a chance to turn" (male prostitutes?).

    Somewhere at the beginning of this street stood a very ancient and famous bronze statue of Vortumnus (God of seasons, change and plant growth, he is also a shapeshifter:).
    It's famous because the legend claims it was made by the mythical sculptor Veturius Mamurius who made 11 copies of the shield that fell from Heaven for the 2nd King of Rome.
    The statue is long gone but the inscribed pedestal was found in 1549 but is now lost.

    Now start down the street, check-out the fragment remains on the side of the Temple/Castor and the steps of the Basilica Julia for games.

    Halfway down the side of the Basilica Julia you will see a modern door.
    It's a maintenance access to the Cloaca Maxima below, if it's quiet you can hear the water running thru the ancient sewer.

    Somewhere behind this Basilica in the unexcavated area just outside the Forum where the modern bldgs and streets rise up, there was a Greek Slave market (Greek slaves are highly prized as domestic, educational, business, etc servants) also a barber shop is mentioned in that location.

    The Temple of Augustus (exact location unknown) was built by Tiberius and possibly his mother Livia (Augustus' wife) in honour of Augustus. Tiberius might not have finished it, or might not have dedicated it, in which case it was finished and/or dedicated by Caligula.

    The large structure behind the Temple of Castor was wrongly ID'ed as this Temple in the late 19thC, so the plaque you see there is wrong.
    And it is also wrongly placed on the otherside of the Temple of Castor because a groundlevel concrete base that supported a bldg was found there.

    Odds are it was located alittle farther down the Vicus Tuscus (rightside) and fronting the Vicus but now any remains are buried beneath the modern city level.
    The hint for that location is that Caligula's rooftop bridge crossed-over from the Palatine Hill *to* the Temple of Augustus according to ancient historians.

    After you pass the side of the Basilica Julia and the trees you will likely see the queue for the bathroom/W.C.

    In front of this WC are two brick pier ruins.
    There was a side street that connected the Vicus Tuscus to the Vicus Jugarius (the parallel street on the otherside of the Basilica Julia that I mentioned earlier).

    These 2 brick piers were once clad in marble and formed an arch across the beginning of this street, giving this short street a nice monumental entrance.

    Look closely esp at the left pier and you can see the small bronze(?) nails that held the marble slabs in place also small bits of marble remains.

    �~2005 I took a private tour at the group rate (the others didn't make it) with Tom R. co-founder of the American Institute of Roman Culture which had just completed an excavation of this area (Trench D) he is also the founder of Scala Reale which is now Context Rome.

    I'm relying on memory and do not wish to misquote Tom so I'm not going to use his last name so it doesn't come-up in a Google search or those 'spider' thingies:).

    On top of the left pier a baby or small child's tomb was found, I believe it was Medieval.
    I assume it was like the tombs cut into the brick front of the Curia Julia and then bricked-over?

    The right pier had an original doorway built into it, the bottom half is still below groundlevel.

    They think that this arch was going to block access to one of the older shops that lined this street so the shop was accomodated with a doorway.

    This street was called the Vicus Unguentarius or the 'Street of the Perfume Sellers'. (So keep that in mind as you pass between the arch's 2 brick piers and into the odorous WC :).
    The Romans loved a good scent and these were high-end shops.

    Later in time (medieval era?) this arch was likely turned into a dwelling and/or a shop with a new floor put in.
    On each pier you can see holes for wooden beams that made the interior of the arch into 2 floors. Possibly that child's tomb was built in his parent's dwelling?

    Ok now, leave the WC and walk 45deg to the right and over to that fence.
    That is still the Vicus Tuscus leading to the Circus Maximus.

    On the Palatine Hill side of that street is the 'HORREA AGRIPPIANA' built at the end of the 1stC-BC by Augustus' son-in-law and closest friend Marcus Agrippa (an altar was discovered there with an inscription recording the erection of the 'Statue of the Genius Horreorum Agrippianorum').

    It was a large grain warehouse built around 3 courtyards each with 3 storys of rooms.
    So you're looking at the 1st courtyard and where the church (San Teodoro) is, is the 2nd courtyard and the 3rd courtyard is beyond that.

    High on the walls are holes, horizonal & diagonal cuttings these were later adaptations of this bldg some as recent as the 1800's.

    Ok now, look at that *very large structure* on your left, that you are standing in front of.

    In guidebooks it's usually called 'Domitian's Hall' or 'Hall in Opus Latericium' (26m buttressed walls in brick-faced concrete), it is also signposted *wrongly* as the 'Temple of Augustus' which it was believed to be in a 19thC excavation.

    Let's start from before this Hall was built. On top of the Palatine Hill in front of you was the 'Tiberius' Palace complex' (btw the word palace comes from Palatine) and after Tiberius' death (AD14-37) Caligula (AD 37-41) moved in.

    And he built the 1st extension outward from the Palace area called the 'Domus Gai'.

    On top of this extension he had a garden, think of it like a patio to his palace complex.

    After Caligula was murdered the guards entered the palace complex and killed his wife and infant daughter.
    His uncle Claudius (Emperor 41-54AD) in fear of his life hid in *a* garden 1st but then went into the palace area and hid behind a curtain (like a comedy act his feet stuck-out and he was discovered:).
    I wonder *if* that was the garden?

    Emperor�Domitian (AD 81-96) built over the Domus Gai and it's his larger extension that we see today.
    (If you have an interest in these huge extension-platforms visit the opposite corner of the Palatine Hill and be awed by the 'Severan Arcades' which must be seen at their base)

    But he was assassinated before it was completed if it ever was? It might have been roofed over (wooden).
    Also the front facade (arcades or columns) has either been lost or was never built.

    The interior was meant to be lined with marble framing the tall niches in the walls but it never was finished.

    But then again it might have had a vaulted roof and the walls were lined in marble. As you can see the sources differ and differ again:).

    This Hall has been wrongly ID'ed (wrong location) as Hadrain's Athenaeum (117-138AD).

    Or *it* was called an Athenaeum (library) when Domitian built it because this was the site of a Cult of Minerva and she was the patron goddess of scholarship and this Hall was the 'Sanctuary of Minerva'.

    Here military diplomas with the names of soldiers who retired with honors were displayed.

    Or it might have been a vestibule entrance to the palace above but never finished.

    And latter under Hadrain this unfinished shell of a bldg was converted into a Horreum (small warehouse) with storerooms and offices along the walls and a paved courtyard in the middle, making it in essence part of the Horrea Agrippiana.

    The 5 short walls in front of the Hall are the remains of shops which lined the Vicus Tuscus.

    And behind the far wall was another smaller room with a portico.
    In the 6th-C the Church of Santa Maria Antiqua was built there and still remains. Inside are rare 7C-8C Christian wall paintings.

    As you leave this area be sure to look between the Temple of Castor and this Hall, you will see the 'Oratory of the Forty Martyrs' in the back that we will get to later.

    Also imagine Caligula blocking this street and building a staircase down to the Temple of Castor as a shortcut from the Palatine so he could converse with the Gods Castor and Pollux.

  • Report Abuse

    This is great Walter, I can't wait for you to finish these. I have everything you've done so far and I put it in a Word doc to use on my trip there tomorrow. Can't wait to read it and experience it all first hand.

  • Report Abuse

    Just wondering if anyone has heard from Walter recently? This is such a fabulous thread, and he is such an incredible source for history and archaeology info. I've been on and off Fodors for a few years (two kids under 2!) and haven't kept in touch with Fodorites like I used to.

  • Report Abuse

    He's no longer registered on Fodor's which makes it hard to search for his threads now. He didn't post for a long time as I think he had computer issues, but was on the forum sometime within the last year or so. Perhaps he's on Thorntree.

  • Report Abuse

    1st off 'Don't Ask':-). But I am going to finish this walk and with permission:-).


    Ok, you've left the Vicus Tuscus now walk back over to the #17.8 LATE IMPERIAL ROSTRA.

    Now with the Roman Forum Square at your back & looking East that is the 'Temple of Divi Juli (Divine Julius)' and it marks the spot where Julius Caesar (JC) was cremated by the Mob on 44BC.

    It seems this area was once just a continuation of the Roman Forum Square, so an open space with very likely statues and such and possibly an outdoor Tribunal for trials.
    This would just be a small elevated platform where the Judge(s) would be seated.

    On March 18, 44BC 3 days after the assassination during JC's outdoor funeral Marc Antony gives his famous eulogy speech that Fires-up the massive Mob from the Rostra at the opposite end of the Forum.

    The Mob storms the Rostra and takes possession of JC's funeral bier (a very elaborate decorated litter) and decides to build a funeral pyre and honorably cremate JC in the Roman Forum in front of the Regia which is a building where his office is as Pontifex Maximus (Head Priest).

    The Mob loots nearby buildings for wooden chairs, desks, etc and piles them up and puts JC's bier on top and cremates it.

    A short time later an Altar and 20ft Column of Numidian Yellow inscribed with PARENTI PATRIAE (To The Founder Of The Nation) is erected on the cremation spot.
    But this is soon destroyed by the anti-Caesar Faction.

    In 42BC Mark Antony, Octavian (Augustus) and Lepidus all co-Rulers of the Empire decreed a Temple shall be built on that location.
    The Temple is finally built and dedicated in 29BC, 2yrs after Octavian became Emperor Augustus the sole ruler of the Empire.

    You are now standing on a short street that connected the Via Sacra which runs on each side of the Roman Forum Sq.�Emperor Augustus put in this street || when he built this Temple. [Forum]||[T]

    The Romans like to have a marked-off area in front of temples as a sacred boundary when possible and it could just be say a pavement, fence or a stone curb (like the one if front of you).

    The people had access to this area but the everyday foot traffic would use the street when passing-by.

    Notice alongside this street in the middle of this boundary there is a ~3m rectangular statue base. It is the base for some unknown equestian statue, it could be original to this site but it could also have been erected decades->centuries later.

    Ok, step into this boundary area and have a seat:).
    This long wall-like structure in front of you has a semi-circular recess in the center under a tin roof where the remains of the concrete core of a round Altar is located, the majority belief is that it marks the location of Julius Caesar's cremation bonfire.

    Now it is a fact that this is THE location of that funeral pyre. Is was definitely at that end of the Roman Forum Square and *deliberately* built in front of the Regia (bldg behind this structure).

    Was that Altar later erected with this structure exactly where that funeral pyre was? There's a very good chance it was based on the limited space and the need to keep the flames away from the Regia.

    The wall structure is a modern (~100yrs) reconstruction as are most of the 2 steps and the molding on the 2nd step.
    The steps and molding along the base are modern cement reconstructions (on the left) but there are original pieces of molding and steps incorporated into the reconstruction and very easy to spot (center and right).

    The rough tufa wall section in front of the recess is original as is the round concrete altar base behind the wall and most/all of the stone blocks that make-up the semi-circular recess are also.

    There are original decorative marble remains displayed on top of the wall and alongside both sides of the Temple (on the leftside - fragment remains of the temple's coffered ceiling).

    Ok lets try to picture this original structure.
    1st they made a large (27m+) concrete rectangular aboveground base/foundation with rooms in it }++] (3.5m rostra front, 5.5m elevated temple area rear).

    The rooms make voids in the concrete core so alot less concrete and used as office and storage rooms which is common in elevated temples.

    On the left and right side of this concrete "base" they built a columned portico, Romans love porticos they are a shelter from the rain and sun and make a building more beautiful looking. And in this case more floor space atop the structure which is the business part of this building with a Temple and Rosta.

    So at the front on this elevated structure we have the groundlevel Altar} and above that the 'Rostra ad Divi Juli' and behind that the steps to the elevated Temple. ROSTRA`}:: STEPS`||| TEMPLE`X }::|||X]

    So using your imagination (and perhaps 'google images' beforehand as there are many drawings of this intact Temple structure) picture this.

    The round concrete Altar in the recess would definitely have been beautifully marble faced with decorative designs and/or inscriptions. And coin images show that fire was burning within it with the flames raising above it.
    I assume this was done for ceremonies and/or sacrifices and not an eternal flame type thing as it is an outside altar.

    Now for some reason this wide open recess was later blocked-off by a wall of stone blocks (a good portion of it remains today)? ��And it seems more likely compared to the other options that Emperor Augustus ordered this done sometime between the temple's completion (29BC) and his death (14AD).

    Dio Cassius wrote of this;
    "...And they enacted that no one who took refuge in his shrine to secure immunity should be driven or dragged away from there--a distinction which had never been granted even to any one of the gods, save to such as ever worshipped in the days of Romulus.Yet after men began to congregate in that region even this place had inviolability in name only, without the reality; for it was so fenced about that no one could any longer enter it at all."

    This seems to be what he is talking about and many historians agree. Greek and Roman "Rights of Asylum" could be temples, shrines, altars, etc.
    But this was more in theory than in practice.

    If it was the actual temple just lock the doors like any other temple.
    If it was the Rostra part there seems to have been 2 narrow staircases in the portico sections, just put in a locked gate.

    Anyway for some reason during Pagan times this beautiful historical Altar was walled-off.
    "...after men began to congregate in that region..."???
    Men "congregate" all over the Roman Forum hanging-out playing 'board games' etched into the steps and pavements and just lounging around that's a well-known fact.
    There are even a couple of 'Hole Games' :::: on the steps to the right of the recess that these male lay-abouts played.

    So Why did that small recess have to be blocked-off because of them? Well you could walk completely around that Altar in the recess and when behind it be somewhat hidden from view.
    Were they using this reverved spot as a bathroom, as the male saying goes "The World is our Urinal":-)?
    Or perhaps for sex after dark with straight or Gay prostitutes?

    After Augustus beat Antony and Cleopatra's fleet at the 'Battle of Actium' in 31BC he took the captured ship's bronze prows or rostra and mounted them on the wall on each side of the recess.
    You must have seen this sea battle in the movies:), it's where Cleopatra's ship flees the battle and Marc Antony leaves his men behind and goes after her. Ahhh...Love and the fact that she had the treasury on her ships:).

    Now it seems likely that on each side of these visible remains where the porticos are missing is where the staircases were to access this elevated structure =[````U````]=

    And the Rostra would have some kind fencing along the front and around the recess which is shown in coin images. [X][X][X]
    And this would be where the speaker would stand to address the crowds.
    The most famous one from here was in 14AD when Emperor Tiberius gave Emperor Augustus' funeral eulogy.

    And behind this were steps to an elevated Temple with a colossal statue of Julius Caesar with a comet/star on his head.
    And when the temple's doors were open you could see statue from the Forum Sq.

    And inside the temple Augustus placed treasures from his war spoils and some priceless paintings of the day.
    Well Augustus was Caesar's adopted son, Caesar give him the Roman Empire so a temple and some war spoils was the least he could do:).

    And the comet on Caesar's head plus there is also one on the temple's pediment, talk about Luck!

    Octavian (later Emperor Augustus) is an 18yr old kid and Marc Antony is a war veteran with an army and is not pleased that Caesar make Octavian his heir and adopted Son.
    The Senate possibly plans to just use him against Antony because Octavian has the loyality of Caesar's troops and then later dump him perhaps by assassination.
    And Antony also wants him out of the way so he can take over the Empire.

    Octavian was in Greece when Caesar was killed (March) and doesn't arrive in Rome until May as he's been doing some PR work with his inherited troops.

    Octavian decides to hold Games in Julius Caesar's Honor during the month named after him July.
    And during these Games (July 20-30) a Comet appears in the daylight sky before sunset.

    Well obviously the Gods are pleased as they sent a Comet in Caesar's Honor and he Must really be Divine! And Octavian starts calling himself 'Divi Filius' (Divine Son). Caesar's Divine, he adopted Octavian and the Comet is the A-OK from the Gods.

    Now in front of this structure Pliny claims that there was a large equestrian statue of Julius Caesar and official documents were posted on its base.
    And the *translated* original (100+yrs) excavation reports mentions that a large (equestrian size) "concrete" base was found in front of this recess dating to the time of Augustus' construction of this structure.

    Now as you can see and might likely be sitting on:-) very large stone (marble?) blocks of which it seems some might be missing directly in front of this recess?
    These huge stone blocks didn't just fall out of the sky and they took alot of work to make and place there plus the cost. But I have never heard/read of them ever being mentioned which is very odd.
    They are in the *exact* location in an area with very limited space where logically a large equestrian statue would only be placed?

    I have to believe that this is the "concrete" base that the early excavators mentioned and it was either an original minor mistake in their notes when archaeologists were excavating the entire Roman Forum or a later mistranslation mistake when the massive excavation report translated? Either way just imagine that there was a large equestrian statue of JC facing the Roman Forum in front of this structure.

    They don't know what happened to the temple after the Christians took over, it was possibly converted into something or other but in the 16thC like most of the ancient buildings it was looted for new Papal buildings materials (stone blocks, steps, columns, etc) and the marble was burned in the Limekilns.

  • Report Abuse


    Ok, now on the right (south) of the Temple of Julius Caesar is the massive 'Temple of Castor and Pollux' with the 3 tall (14.8m) Corinthian columns with an intact architrave on top, these date to the 6AD restoration and an iconic photo of the Forum.
    During the Renaissance the street running by here was called the 'Via Trium Columnarum' (Street of 3 Columns).

    This temple was dedicated to a Greek mythical twins from the Greek cult 'Dioscuri' (sons of Zeus).

    Greek version; Their Mom is the mortal Queen of Sparta and Dad is the God Zeus (Roman God Jupiter).
    Zeus takes the form of a swan and seduces the Queen and she has these twin boys (Castor and Pollux), later she has their sister 'Helen of Troy'.
    Pollux takes after Dad and is immortal and a great boxer.
    Castor takes after Mom and is mortal and a great horseman.
    Both are great mythical warrior/soldiers and centuries later adopted by the Romans.

    This cult was introduced to Rome very early (a plaque from the 2nd half of the 6thC-BC written in Archaic Latin has been found) and accepted, it's normally against Roman law for a foreign cult temple to be in this Forum area.

    Roman version: Castor (mortal) and his twin brother Pollux (immortal) were demi-gods and semi-mythical cavalry heros whose father was Jupiter (Greek Zeus).

    These 2 magically appeared on white horses at the height of the Battle of Lake Regillus (15 July ~496/9 BC) resulting in a Roman victory and final defeat of the Latins.
    And then right afterwards these 2 magically appeared at the LACUS JUTURNAE (Spring of Juturna) on the east side of this temple where they were watering their horses and telling of the Roman Victory ~13 miles away.
    And the Roman Dictator, Aulus Postumius Albinus, vowed to build a temple in their honour.

    The temple was finished by his son in 484 BC. It was completely reconstructed and enlarged in 117�BC by L.�Cecilius Metellus Dalmaticus after his victory over the Dalmatians.
    And later restored in 73�BC where Cicero claimed that during the urban Praetorship of Verres; 'He found a way to amass a large amount of money by putting out contract work that was actually useless' (like the columns aren't straight).
    Stealing money thru government contracts, I'm shocked:).

    A major Fire in 14BC destroyed the temple and Tiberius (then heir to Augustus) rebuilt it and in 6AD it was dedicated.
    This Tiberius rebuilding is what you see today except the for massive foundation which is from the 117BC reconstruction.

    The temple front was also used for a orator's platform like a Rostra from ~150BC, it would be like the Rostra of Julius Caesar with the Temple behind that with narrow side stairs on each side but these likely faced backwards.
    This would be so the crowds or mob couldn't easily storm the speaker's platform if they got riled-up.

    Mid-1C-BC�Clodius and his men during a riot in the Forum fortified themselves in the temple and broke-up these steps to make access difficult.

    Julius Caesar when co-Consul spoke from this platform advocating his 'Agrarian Law' and again when the recall of Cicero from exile was proposed.
    Many other political struggles were also argued from this platform.

    The temple was sometimes used as a meeting place (Curia) for the Senate.

    In the early 3C AD front steps were added like a regular temple usually has so it went from this [XX:] to this [XX:]|||.
    These steps cut into a good section of the Via/Street in front as we will see next at the Arch of Augustus.
    The marble steps are gone (except some around the left corner) but the concrete sloping core of this staircase remains.

    Which brings us to a small mystery site centered directly across the street from the temple. It's just a small slightly elevated rectanglar area with 4 steps and short column pieces/fragments, just a very odd and out of place location with no record of its existance or purpose.
    Whether the standing ~2m column and the other shorter pieces were part of this structure or during the 19C excavations where just placed there is unknown.
    I'd go with the later as its was done all over the Forum because afterall the place is a Ruin with bits and pieces scattered all over the site and would be in the way like on a Via.
    Plus there is also large marble decorative fragment that would be to large for such a small structure's roof?

    At 1st it was thought to be a Tribunal (an elevated platform for a Judge to sit during outside trials) that was in the area but it was later dismissed by archaeologists.

    No one knows exactly what this was but they believe it was somehow connected to this temple.
    Perhaps some kind of open-air shrine, altar or monument?

    Suetonius-Caligula; "...he built out a part of the Palace as far as the Forum, and making the temple of Castor and Pollux its vestibule, he often took his place between the divine brethren, and exhibited himself there to be worshipped by those who presented themselves."

    Alot of what we hear about the Crazy Emperor Caligula were false rumors but an excavation in 2003 behind this temple pretty much confirmed that he actually did build this so he could just walk down from his Palatine Hill Palace into the Temple.

    This temple had a large cult following esp Castor with the Roman Knights and the military in general and also travelers.
    Every July 15 they had a military parade in honor of the Twins.

    Emperor Augustus liked to bring back the old legends, heros and myths of early Rome.
    And he did this with Castor and Pollux and even give them another holiday (Jan 27) as a feast day.

    And now the Augustus Jinx:).

    1st he tried to tie-in Castor & Pollux with his teenage heir grandsons and they both died.
    Later he tries this with his step-son Tiberius and his brother Drusus as his heirs.
    Drusus while on campaign falls off his horse and dies.

    As you saw while on the Vicus Tuscus this concrete base/foundation has rooms in it , 25 in all.
    Most were connected with the temple including an office for 'Weights and Measures' that they overseen plus offices for money-changers/bankers.
    And at some point in time (ancient or possibly Medieval) there was a Dentist's office in one of the rooms, teeth were found in the drain. �

    Decrees and Treaties cut on bronze plates were occasionally fixed to the walls of the temple.

    In the 16thC Michelangelo used a fallen marble column for the pedestal base of the equestian statue of Marcus Aurelius (Capitoline Hill Museum) and another was used in the Church of S. Maria del Popolo for the statue of Jonah (designed by Raphael and executed Lorenzetti).

    They also did that Greek thing (Entasis) where a subtle optical correction where a slight upward curve of the columned sides doesn't make the sides look like they are sagging in the middle (like the Athens Parthenon).

    Inside the temple were 2 large statues of Castor and Pollux and a bunch of other statues and a few paintings.

    One painting was of a very famous 1C-BC Roman courtesan named Flora.
    Plutarch; "And yet Flora is said to have flowered into such beauty, and to have been so famous for it, that when Caecilius Metellus was decorating the temple of Castor and Pollux with paintings and statues, he gave her portrait also a place among his dedications."

    Julius Caesar was quite the 'Lady's Man' I wonder if their paths ever crossed:-) as she was having a passionate affair with JC's ally and future enemy Pompey?
    An affair that ended in Love Lost for her and possibly him also over a friendship?

    Plutarch; "Flora the courtesan, when she was now quite old, always took delight in telling about her former intimacy with Pompey, saying that she never left his embraces without bearing the marks of his teeth. Furthermore, Flora would tell how Geminius, one of Pompey's companions, fell in love with her and annoyed her greatly by his attentions; and when she declared that she could not consent to his wishes because of Pompey, Geminius laid the matter before Pompey. Pompey, accordingly, turned her over to Geminius, but never afterwards had any thing at all to do with her himself, although he was thought to be enamoured of her; and she
    herself did not take this treatment as a mere courtesan would, but was sick for a long time with grief and longing."

    I once read that one day Pompey was walking by this Temple when someone likely a political enemy atop there purposely dropped a large Roman dagger onto the marble floor, a unique sound that would be easily recognizanced and taken as a threat?

  • Report Abuse


    Ok now, from in front of the Temple of Castor/Pollux turn left (east) and walk-over to corner of the temple (note the worn step in the Via).

    See where the Via Sacra goes between 2 (modern) short brick bases with marble fragments on top (remains of this arch) and the Via bows-up between them like a speed-bump.

    This is all that remains of the center passageway of the 3 arched 'Arch of Augustus' (Arcus Augusti) or 'Actium Arch' which was the 1st triple arch in Rome.
    Also it wasn't square structure like the other triple arches (Severius & Constantine) |`|T|`| the side arches were lower n|T|n.
    (Note the 2 metal plates in front of the left brick base, a modern excavation of 2 of the Pozzi Rituali found in this area) �� ������

    The arch was built at the same time (29BC) as the 'Temple of Julius Caesar' and butted against the temple's portico.

    This arch replaced one that Augustus had just built here to celebrate the defeat of Sextus Pompey in 36BC at the sea 'Battle of Naulochus' during the Civil Wars when he (Augustus) was allied with Marc Antony and Lepidus.

    This newer arch was part of a propaganda campaign to remove the record of the unpopular Civil War and replace it with one of the war against the evil 'Queen of Egypt' (Cleopatra) and the traitor Marc Antony.
    So in 31BC Augustus whips Cleopatra and Marc Antony's fleet at Actium and 2yrs later built this arch to commemorate his victory.

    The wider central passageway would allow wheeled traffic (Triumphs and commercial) to be able to pass thru and the passageways on each side would be for pedestrian traffic only.

    Note the right (south) passageway exited almost right into the Temple of Castor's later (3C) staircase addition.
    Also there was a short sidestreet Via that ran alongside the Temple.

    On top of this arch was a quadriga (chariot drawn by 4 horses) statue, probably shiny bronze and statues on each of the lower side arches.

    On the interior of the arch was the Fasti (marble tablets listing the consuls and generals who had been awarded Triumphal processions). The remains of the Fasti are now displayed in the Museo dei Conservatori (Capitoline Hill Museum in the small room that displays the bronze She-wolf suckling the infants Romulus and Remus).

    The central archway was vaulted and the side passages had flat ceilings and a roof ^T^
    The center archway was decorated with reliefs as a fragment of 'Victoria' was discovered here.
    In 1546 an ~8ft large inscription was found here recording Augustus' 29BC dedication.

    On the otherside of the right brick pier there are six blocks of grooved travertine which seems to belong to a circular structure.
    This has been wrongly ID'ed as "The" Puteal Scribonianum or Puteal Libonis.

    Romans believe that lightning strikes come from the gods therefore sacred. And it seems that there was a famous ground strike in the Forum that they enclosed (named above) with a round stone curb with an decorated marble structure because it resembled a well or 'Puteus' it was called a 'Puteal'.

    But this is far too large for a Puteal also that groove is very commonly seen as an exposed rainwater drainage channel at the base row of stones for an outside wall =u.
    Plus it invades into the central passageway's Via and the side passageway.
    Just an odd place to build something in front of a beautiful Arch if it was done in ancient times?
    So they have no idea what this was or why and when these blocks were placed there?

    Now between Julius Caesar and his adopted son & heir they have basically surrounded the Roman Forum with their stuff:-) which is great PR for Augustus as planned.
    The Rosta, Curia Julia, Portico of Gaius and Lucius, the Parthian Arch which connects the Portico to the Temple of Julius Caesar with Augustus' Arch on the otherside and finally the Basilica Julia.


    Ok now still standing next to the Arch of Augustus let's view some hard to see sites in that fenced-off area on the right (south).

    Look thru that arched door opening in a wall to the right of that small modern looking bldg.
    You can't see much but it's the 'CHURCH OF SANTA MARIA ANTIQUA'.

    It was built in the 5thC in a space that was once a monumental approach up to the Palatine Hill Palace.

    In 847 an earthquake undermined the structures above it and it was partically buried in the rubble and abandoned.

    In 1084 the Normans sacked Rome and set a fire that collapsed more structures which completely buried it.

    In 1902 this church was excavated. It has a few frescos dating to the 7th & 8thC which have recently been restored and also 7th & 8thC Church Council decisions were recorded on walls.
    In Medieval times it was believed that this abandoned Church was haunted.
    It's been planned to be open to the public (reservation only) already but as of now it's still not.

    Now that modern looking bldg I mentioned earlier, it's to protect this site.
    'ORATORY OF THE FORTY MARTYRS' which was part of that church.

    In 303AD during Diocletian's Christian Persecution 40 Christian soldiers were forced into an icy lake or pool in Sebaste, Armenia where they froze to death.

    And this ~8thC Oratory was dedicated to them although it was originally Pagan built between 117-138AD for something else.
    Inside are 8th and 9thC frescos showing their torture and martyrdom.

    Notice the side of that bldg, there is a marble structure like a doorway (2 columns supporting a peaked roof) that is the reconstructed 'AEDICULA OF JUTURNA'.

    This Aedicula (shrine) is dedicated to Juturna who was a nymph and goddess of springs and fountains.
    This shrine dates to the 2thC AD which replaced an earlier same shrine.
    Within the shrine there was a marble statue of Juturna and inscribed on the architrave "Here was the true cult site of the Nymph".
    In front of the shrine is an altar and a well-head (plaster casts of the originals).
    The altar has 2 figures on it 'Turnus and Juturna' and the well-head's rim is inscribed with the name of the man who dedicated it, 'M. Barbatius Pollo' who was the 'Curule Aedile' at the end of the 1stC-BC.

    Now look between you and this shrine, see a lone column and a square basin area made by stone blocks.

    That is the 'SPRING OF JUTURNA' (Lacus Juturnae) and tied-in to the Temple of Castor and Pollux as it was here that Castor and Pollux magically appeared and were seen watering their horses after that 496BC battle.

    This was a real spring BTW and was used well before the founding of Rome right up until 1st aqueduct was built in 312BC and later when Rome Fell and the aqueducts were destroyed it was again used into early Medieval Times (8thC-AD waterjugs were found here).

    The fountain's basin is alittle over 5m x 5m and 2m deep.
    In the center of the basin was a square marble platform (1.8M high, 3M long, 2M wide) [``=``] with statues of Castor and Pollux.
    The oldest part of the fountain dates to ~164BC.
    In front of the fountain stood a round marble well (Augustus era) and an altar (~200AD).

    Also the Twins made another magical appearance at the fountain in 168BC after another Roman military victory:-).

    And if you look at the ruins to the right of this site you can see the remains of a ramp going up.
    This ramp connected the Roman Forum with the Via Nova which is an elevated street on the lower slope of the Palatine Hill which ran behind the House of the Vestal Virgins.

  • Report Abuse

    #22. REGIA

    Now walk-up the Via a few yards until that small white partial temple is on your right and a groundlevel structure is on your left.

    That temple was the round Temple of Vesta where the Vestal Virgins kept a fire burning 24/7/365 and to the rear of that the *original* House of the Vestals
    And the structure on the left is the REGIA a religious building [``]~O``````].

    In front of you a short distance away are a cluster of trees.
    Within those trees was the front door_ of a rectangular Domus (House) facing you. [`_`]

    So lets pick the date March 15, 44BC because a few years later Augustus opens-up this area to the public (not the bldgs) and puts in the Via (street) you are now standing on.

    But in 44 all these structures are within a walled complex but the Temple of Vesta is visible to the outside World only not accessible to the general public. |--O----|

    In the Domus lives the Pontifex Maximus (like a Pope) in charge of the Vestals (in 44BC that is Julius Caesar) and the Regia is his religious office (like a Vatican).

    REGIA: 'Regia Domus' means Royal Palace.�

    At the lowest excavated level they have found a cluster of round 8th or 9thC-BC huts.
    Now remember this section was bordering a diseased marsh (pre-Roman Forum Sq.) but this whole area was used as a cemetery.
    I believe(?) these huts were ceremonial (Shrines?) and not human dwellings *IF* they pre-date the draining of the marsh?
    No one would live here but they could come during the daylight hours when the Malaria bearing mosquitoes weren't out.

    But if the huts post-date the draining of the marsh?
    *Tradition* claims that the 2nd King of Rome (Numa Pompilius 715-673BC) built his Royal Palace here and excavations under this site show there was an Estruscan-style residence from *around* that time.
    Are these huts it meaning the 1st residence? And is the Estruscan-style residence a later building?

    A cup/bowl fragment excavated from this site was dated to 600'sBC and had the word REX (KING) etched on it (Now in the 'Baths of Diocletian' museum).

    The Palace was much larger than this Regia area we see today and remains have been found as far-up as the Temple of Romulus. � Bottomline; No one lived here until the Roman Forum marsh was drained via an open ditch.

    Tradition claims that Vestal Virgins were the King's daughters and he was in charge of them, if so Kings would have to have daughters so I guess the job was finally contracted-out:-).

    In 509BC the Romans kick-out the last King and become a Republic and a Pontifex Maximus (PM) moves into the Palace and takes-over the Vestal Virgins' religious cult and duties.

    In the 500's the Regia is modified a few times and eventually gets the same floor plan we see today, likely by now it is a seperate religious structure that was once part of the earlier King's Palace but now seperate from the Pontifex's House Palace part that he took over (~509BC).

    It was possibly burned during the 390BC Gaul invasion and also rebuilt again after the fires in 210BC, 148BC, 36BC.
    After this 36BC rebuilding which is what we see today they used solid marble floors & walls and other solid rock blocks and it later withstood Nero's 64AD Fire and another in the 180'sAD.

    Ok now walk over to the Regia, those fragments at your feet belong to the Regia.

    If you look to your far left at that corner of the Regia you will see a small room with an inscription sitting on top (this room has pavement of black and white marble beneath the dirt & grass also).
    This inscription was found built into a mediaeval wall in this room. ORES�PONTIFICVM�ET�FLAMINVM
    That half of this inscription was found in�1546 but the whole thing read;
    in] honorem domus Augustae kalat[ores pontificium et flaminum].
    Basically something like the 'Honorable Office for the Heralds & Attendants of the College of Pontiffs/Priests'.

    It's believed that lower officials (heralds, attendants, servants) of the Priests had their offices here at this end of the Regia?
    It's also believed that this office space extented out farther to a Via that marked the end of the Roman Forum Sq. and that this office space was removed to build the Temple of Julius Caesar.

    A Via has been discovered beneath the JC Temple [```||```] roughly at the same bearing as the Arch of Augustus.
    And Forum paving stones were found beneath the front half of the JC Temple so the temple was built at the very end of an older longer Forum Sq., over a short street and into the space of these offices.
    This also puts the Altar marking JC's cremation site at a very practical place now for this event?
    Ok back to the area in front of you, this is an odd shaped rectangular structure with the leftside long and the rightside shorter.
    The rightside had a porch and the front entrance which opened into courtyard but the section right in front of you had 2 rooms seperated by a hallway room which opened into the courtyard and was the access to these rooms [``o``]||[``].�

    The room on the right was the 'Sanctuary of Ops Consiva'. Ops was the Goddess of the harvest and wife of Saturn, Consiva means 'she who sows'.
    It was considered so holy that no one was allowed to enter it except the Pontifex Maximus and the Vestal Virgins.

    When this complex was enclosed there was very possibly a doorway into that hallway on this side to allow the Vestals access without going thru the front entrance?

    But the really historical and cool room is the rectangular room on the left it belongs to Mars in which the sacred spears of the God and the shields (ancilia) of the Salii were preserved.
    It has a circular grassy mound on it (beneath this mound is a stone circle-2.53m/diameter) this was the altar or hearth that held those Sacred Spears [``o``].

    This room was the �Shrine of Mars� (Sacrarium Martis) in which was housed the Hastae (sacred spears/lancers consecrated to Mars) and the Ancilia (shields in a figure-8 like shape).

    The God Jupiter (father of Mars who in turn was the father of Romulus and Remus) sent down from heaven a Shield as a gift to Numa Pompilius (2nd King).
    Numa was so afraid that the Shield would be stolen, he had 11 perfect copies made.
    This way no one would know which one was the actual divine Shield.

    It�s believed that the Shields hung on the walls in this Shrine and the Spears were either hung or somehow fastened to that circular altar/hearth within the Temple.
    Before going to war the General leading the army went into the temple and rattled/shook the spears, while saying "Mars Vigila" (Mars Awaken).
    The God Mars would then lead the army to victory.

    BUT if the spears ever vibrated/shook/rattled/moved on their own it was a Bad Omen of something terrible about to happen to Rome.

    I�ve read that possibly that the spears were so *delicately balanced* that a very minor earthquake or rumble could vibrate them, like a primitive seismograph. ��OR perhaps even a very loud clap of thunder could get them to vibrate:).

    History records;
    On the evening of March 14, 44BC and a violent thunderstorm rages.
    Tomorrow is the 'Ides of March' and Julius Caesar's last day of life.
    Julius Caesar enters the 'Shrine of Mars' and I'm guessing but it's very possible his friend and General Marcus Aemilius Lepidus who is 'Master of the Horse' (Commander of the Cavalry) is with him.

    Two reasons:
    Lepidus is leaving for war in Parthia tomorrow (3 days ahead of Julius Caesar) and would likely want to do the 'Mars Awaken-rattle the Spears' ceremony before he leaves?

    And Lepidus and Caesar history records dine together that night.

    But while Julius Caesar is in this Shrine the 'Sacred Spears' start to vibrate on their own!

    The ancient omen that something bad is about to befall Rome!!!
    Tomorrow Julius Caesar is murdered followed by years of Civil War.

    Is this just an ancient historical Legend?
    Or could the sonic boom from a nearby lightning strike during this violent thunderstorm have actually caused those spears to vibrate on their own... and the Legend is true?

  • Report Abuse


    Before we go into the Temple and House of the Vestals just alittle info on them.

    Vestal Virgins are part of the idea of Rome itself like a family group.

    If they lose their viginity it's considered incest and something very bad will befall Rome and it's a death sentence for the Vestal and the man involved.

    Also if they ever let the 'sacred fire' go out that is also a bad omen for Rome.

    In Man's early history a hut in the center of a village is used to keep a fire always burning and tended to by old women.
    At the end of the day�just stop by the Hut and get a lighted twig to light the fire at your hut.
    Why waste time with everyone starting their own fires by the wood friction method or wasting wood by keeping multiple unneeded fires burning during the day.

    Later it just becomes a Greek religious tradition to always having a sacred fire burning in every city to the Goddess Hestia and the later Romans adopt this custom and the Latin word for Hestia is Vesta.
    The Greeks used old women but the Romans used Virgin Priestesses to tend the sacred fire.

    If a Vestal lets the Fire go out on her watch she is whipped by the Pontifex Maximus.
    A Vestal is pure and cannot be seen naked nor be injured where blood is drawn.
    So she is stripped naked and covered by a sheet and likely whipped by a rod that would bruise but not cut into the flesh.

    If she loses her virginity or is accused of it she is bound and gagged and put into a covered litter.
    She is then paraded thru the streets to just outside a City Gate where there is an underground tomb.
    She is given an oil lamp, bread, milk, water, a bed and then entombed.
    Man cannot kill a Sacred Vestal and he doesn't, that's why she is given bread and liquids after that's gone it's out of Man's hands now.

    This is my take on the Vestal Virgins.
    You often hear about the "Six" Vestal Virgins but there were more that lived there (minimum of 18 at least plus retirees).
    I assume those "Six" were the senior ones in the last 10yrs of their 30yr commitment and the ones that went to official functions.
    They would be the 6 senior leaders of the Vestals in the highest honorable positions they could attain with the eldest as the Head Vestal.

    Girls were between 6-10yrs old when chosen and their family got a dowry for them.

    The 1st 10yrs they were students learning their duties, rituals, obligations along with reading, writing, etc.

    The 2nd 10yrs they performed the actual duties like keeping the Sacred Fire burning 24/7/365.

    The 3rd 10yrs they were the teachers of the young girls in training.

    After 30yrs they were free to leave (rich) and even marry if they wanted (they were a highly prized older trophy wife) but the majority stayed, it was a good life for a single woman except the "Virgin" part was still required:-).

    20 6-10yr old girls were selected but only 6 were chosen.
    The Pontifex Maximus would pick them out with the words "I seize you, beloved".
    Originally they had to be of noble birth but later in the Empire it was open to the lower ranks of Free Roman citizens.
    Both parents had to be living and scandal-free in their public and private life.
    And the young girls had to be physically perfect; eyesight, hearing, speech and not even a slight physical defect on their bodies.

    The chosen girls were then brought to the 'Atrium Vestae' (the area to the left of the Temple when you will enter this site).
    Their hair was cut-off (later grown back) and used as a votive offering to a tree called the Lotus Capillata that in the 1C Pliny claimed was 500yrs old.

    Then the girls are clothed in white and sworn-in as Vestals.
    And these new novices all take on the name Amata (The Beloved) for the time being.

    Being a Vestal is being a very very powerful woman that is outside the Common Laws for women.
    A father has life and death over his children thru-out their entire life (Patria Potestas), that ends when a girl becomes a Vestal.

    A woman can't make-out a Will but a Vestal can and if she retires she can pretty much do business like a man.

    Vestals can be driven around in a horse drawn carriage which is a *very rare privilege* within the city.
    And everyone must get out of their way even if only walking and they have a Lictor leading them.

    Messing in any way with a Vestal even if it's a vulgar male 'cat call' (Yo Sweetie) would get you killed.

    Only Vestals can and are buried within the City Walls something that hasn't been allowed since the days of the ancient Kings.
    Their cemetery has never been discovered and only 1 Vestal funerary plaque has ever been found but that was just reused in a Renaissance building.

    If a Vestal by chance happened to cross paths with a person on their way to their execution, she could pardon that person on the spot.

    They have a box with reserved seats everywhere theatre, Colosseum, Circus, etc. Funny thing is they can watch Gladiators killing each other, people getting torn apart by wild beasts, executions, etc as long as there is no male nudity:-).

    They are at civil, religious and political ceremonies as part of their duties.
    Wills of emperors and nobility, state secrets and documents are given to the for safe keeping.

    If called as a witness at a trial their testimony is not questioned and carries Alot of weight.

    They also get involved in political conflicts, like when the Dictator Sulla wanted to kill the young Julius Caesar they intervened and he was pardoned.

    Chariots are not driven in Rome like in the movies but only in a military Triumphal Parade for the Emperor or a victorious General.
    One General kept getting voted down for his Parade, so he went out and got a Chariot and put his Vestal daughter next to him and drove the parade route right into the Forum and up to the Capitoline Hill.
    No one would dare stop him or say a word about it:-).

    They must always live a pure and somber lifestyle with no vanity or overt happiness even in private (spied on by other Vestals and the female slaves serving them).

    I've read that a total 22 Vestals were condemned to death that we know about. 18 were entombed, 2 committed suicide and 2 unknown.

    Of the 2 unknowns, it's *claimed* that 1 was raped by Nero and that Emperor Heliogabalus married the other and later dumped her.

    Of those condemned that we know about it was actually more of a political motive because something bad just happened to Rome and they needed a scape-goat to blame something on or an Emperor wanted to take some heat off himself for something or other.

    In 216BC at Cannae Hannibal defeated the Roman Army, 2 Vestals entombed.

    ~100yrs later another Army defeat, 2 Vestals entombed.

    Emperor Domitian (81-96AD) likely for the historical fame convinces Celer a Roman Knight to claim he had sex with the Head Vestal and she is entombed.
    Bad news for the Knight is it's a capital crime for the man also and Celer as prescribed by Law is flogged to death in the Comitium and while he was being whipped screaming "What have I done? - I have done nothing.".

    Emperor Caracalla (211-217AD) Has 4 Vestals condemned to death.
    3 are entombed and the other committed suicide by jumping off the Vestal House's roof beforehand.

    "The Vestal convicted of incest is buried alive in the neighborhood of the Porta Collina, under the Agger of Servius Tullius.

    Here is a crypt, small in size, with an opening in the vault, through which the ladder is lowered; it is furnished with a bed, an oil lamp, and a few scanty provisions, such as bread, water, milk, and oil.
    These provisions (in fact, a refinement of cruelty) are prepared because it would appear a sacrilege to condemn to starvation women formerly consecrated to the gods.

    The unfortunate culprit is brought here in a covered hearse, to which she is tied with leather straps, so that it is impossible that her sighs and lamentations should be heard by the attendant mourners.
    The crowd opens silently for the passage of the hearse; not a word is pronounced, not a murmur is heard.
    Tears stream from the eyes of every spectator. It is impossible to imagine a more horrible sight; the while city is shaken with terror and sorrow.

    The hearse being brought to the edge of the opening, the executioner cuts the bands, and the high-priest mutters an inaudible prayer, and lifts up his arms towards the gods, before bidding the culprit good-bye.
    He follows and assists her to the top of the ladder, and turns back at the fatal instant of her disappearance.
    As soon as she reaches the bottom, the ladder is removed, opening is sealed, and a large mass of earth is heaped upon the stone that seals it, until the top of the embankment is reached, and every trace of the execution made to disappear."

  • Report Abuse


    Ok with your back to the Regia you are standing on the street called Vicus Vestae.

    Now look at the partial white marble TEMPLE OF VESTA.
    That is a *total* major 1930's reconstruction that used a few original fragments but its mostly modern replacements.
    Look closely and you can see the different shades of white that are the original pieces.
    It is round because that is how the original Iron Age Roman huts were built and that is what it represents.

    Tradition claims that the 2nd King of Rome (715BC+) built the 1st Temple to this cult here-abouts and installed the 1st Vestals to keep the 'Sacred Fire' burning 24/7/365.
    And it continued to burn (except for accidental flame-outs or major destructive Fires that burned the Temple down) until 394AD when the Christians closed this cult down (theoretically 1100yrs).

    The original Hut/Temple was made of waddle and daub (interwoven reeds daubed with clay) and a thached reed roof and was still like that even in 241BC to sometime later when it finally became a stone structure.

    The remains we see today date from Augustus (foundation) and later rebuildings (a major one after Nero's 64AD Fire).

    The 'Sacred Fire' was focus of worship and no statues of the Goddess Vesta were in there.
    But inside there was a (wall?) niche called the 'Penus Vestae' where sacred objects were kept but screened-off from view.

    The most important object in that niche was the Palladium (a small wooden statue of Athene/Minerva) which legend claims was rescued by Aeneas from the burning city of Troy.
    And it was never to be seen by anyone except the Vestals but once when it was rescued from a major fire (~190AD) it was accidently seen by others.

    Now in front of you 2000yrs ago is a Virgin Fortress:-) with a high wall and locked door which no man can enter except the Pontifex Maximus.
    And actually a man couldn't even approach near the Temple at night so it's possible even this Street was off-limits after dark?

    Walk over into that area imagining a door that opened into a small Atrium with the Temple on the right and the House of the Vestals in the rear.
    Walk over to the Temple ruins and picture the reconstructed standing remains enclosing this entire structure in a 46ft circle.

    In the reconstructed Temple section the area between the columns that surrounded the temple are marble stone blocks but actually there was a metal grill between the columns (short column fragment on left has holes where metal grill was attached).

    Large curved marble blocks (9ft) with a decorated frieze were placed on top of the columns and this supported the bronze (Pliny) conical ^ roof.
    There was an opening in the roof to allow the smoke to escape and was likely covered with a decorative bronze cap above it to keep out the rain, some wind and allow some light to enter.

    The entrance faced east (so you are looking at the entrance) had wooden doors and a few marble steps leading up to it from ground level.

    It must have also been very beautiful inside but sparse as the only thing inside was the central hearth for the Sacred Fire.

    As you can visualize this was a very beautiful Temple and the most important Temple in the Forum if not in all of Rome itself.

    Also imagine a young woman in her 20's dressed in white with braided and banded hair (a style only worn by women on their wedding day) silently tending the Sacred Fire as the sounds of the outside World drifts thru the metal grates of the Temple, Like a bird in a gilded cage she is very safe and well taken care of but not free.

    Now back to reality and take-away the partial temple reconstruction and the brick base its built on and what you see is what was actually excavated over 100yrs ago.

    The concrete foundation dates to Augustus and the marble fragments used in the reconstruction to Emperor Septimius Severus' wife's rebuilding in 191AD.

    In the center of the foundation there was a deep pit ~8x8x16ft which was beneath the floor of the temple, this is where the ashes from the Sacred Fire were stored.
    Once a year these sacred ashes were removed in a ceremony, paraded thru the Forum up to the Clivus Capitolinus where there was a special gate (Porta Stercoraria) halfway up the Clivus Capitolinus that was only opened on June 15 to allow these ashes to be carried down to the Tiber River to be thrown-in.

    In 394AD the Christians kick the Vestals to the curb and the Sacred Flame is extinguished Forever.

  • Report Abuse


    Ok still standing in this small entrance Atrium the turn and face Palatine Hill.

    See the Shrine (aedicula) its inscription dates to the time of Hadrain (117-138AD) and reads "This monument was built with public money by the will of the Senate and the people of Rome". There is a pedestal for a statue within it but no one knows for certain what statue occupied it.

    Some think it was a statue of Vesta others think it was a 'Compitum' which was a sanctuary placed at crossroads which the Romans considered exposed to the influence of underworld Gods and in need of protection and the 'Vicus Vestae' intersects the 'Via Sacra' in front of this House.

    Ok now go thru the entrance to the left of the Shrine and into the Large courtyard
    (Atrium) of the House of the Vestal Virgins.

    Originally it's likely the House was just at this end but the left half XX[H] had some Vestal structures and it�s believed the Vestals� Sacred Grove was also located here?

    The 1st X's lower part possibly had some property of the Domus Publica the Pontifex Maximus' House?
    Anyway when Augustus give that Domus to the Vestals they could really expand their House's property (sometime after 12BC).

    After Nero's 64AD Fire this whole complex got its present layout but what you see today from the House's reconstruction in 191AD after the 'Fire of Commodus'.

    Notice the 3 large pools in the courtyard [`][```]space[`] there was a 4th pool in that �space� but it was covered over ~300AD+/- with a low brick structure (a circle within an octagon) which was made into a flower-bed possibly to represent the Vestal�s �Sacred Grove�.

    This Courtyard was surrounded by a 2-story Colonade (one on top of the other) and you can still see many of the column�s bases.

    The House was at least 2 stories or higher and possibly 4-5 stories on the southside.

    On the short end to the right (west) under the modern roof was the Vestal�s dining room.

    On the long side in front of you (south) on the ground floor was a bath, kitchen, bakery, ovens and a grindstone mill.
    And also a rear stepped entrance/exit whose door opened onto the higher Via Nova that ran alongside the House (opened in 2011 for the public to use).

    And on the 2nd floor abve the Vestal's bedrooms and bathrooms which were heated with hot-air flues (tubes) in the floor and walls.

    What is also cool about this section was that during the excavations 2 large coin hordes were found long after the Vestals were disbanded.
    In 472AD when Ricimer conquered and looted Rome some gov't official living here hid 397 gold coins in a corridor drain.
    Also later a Medieval house was built atop these ruins and under the brick floor of one of the rooms was found 835 coins were found in a vase along with a silver pin with the inscription 'Domno Marino papa' this would have been an official in the court of Pope Marinus�II (942-946).
    830 of those coins were Anglo-Saxon and were very likely offerings called 'Peter's Pence' sent to the Church.
    Well whatever happened neither person ever returned to retrieve their treasure.

    If you look down the far end of the courtyard you will see a Vestal statue facing you, it's a statue of Flavia Publicia (247-257AD).
    The base inscription reads: "Whose conspicuous morality and great knowledge of all holy rites had been constantly of benefit to the State".
    This statue was dedicated by two Centuriones Deputati (official couriers) whose careers were helped by some sort of favor this Vestal did for them.

    And to the right of this statue is a large room with 4 steps.
    The front was always open to the courtyard and it once had a barrel-vaulted roof.
    The room was something special likely for ceremonies and/or a shrine and it possibly held a statue of the 2nd King of Rome who founded Rome's Vestal cult.
    Rich Roman homes always had an Atrium (courtyard) with the entrance at one end and a Tablinum (an impressive/fancy room with the owner's cool stuff) at the other end.

    Also on each side of this large room are 3 small rooms possibly where the 6 VIP Vestals (those in their last 10yrs) kept their religious stuff for ceremonies?

    Ok now on the left (north) long side is a row of statue bases with the remains of some Vestal statues on them.

    They were all found broken and mixed-up in a pile at the west end of the courtyard in 1883. just waiting to be thrown into a mediaeval lime-kiln.
    So they are a bit mixed up as to who is who.

    They date from 201-384AD and they are all the statues of the Head Priestess of the Vestals and they are all inscribed 'Virgo Vestalis Maxima'.
    They are also inscribed with their names and accomplishments.

    Except one has been erased! (8th one down with the head still attached)
    It's highly believed to be that of the Head Vestal Claudia who became a Christian and left the Pagan Vestals to became a Nun (this pedestal has the date June 9, 365AD and still the 'C' of her name on it).
    This statue also shows marks on her gown for a medallion necklace.
    Remember no vanity so this is an exception but it's believed to be a rare award/gift given to his Head Vestal by the Emperor
    And this *might* be the necklace I mention later.

    Ok now look to the area behind this statue, see the modern roof.
    It's covering a small man-made water pool called an Impluvium == that was in the center of the Domus Publica's Atrium (courtyard) [```==```] which was center of the house with the rooms of the house surrounding it.

    So roughly where you are standing were rooms with other rooms on the otherside of that roof and a large fancy room on the right end the Tablinum.

    The front entrance was on the left in that group of trees, so thru the front door into a short hallway with likely a service-type room on each side and then into the Atrium.

    But when Augustus give the Vestals the House of the Pontifex Maximus they eventually built something over it at least 2 stories or higher. And those are the remains you see.
    We don't know what it was but how about a wild guess?
    The Vestals had horses and carriages so perhaps it was a fancy barn for them?
    Before they filled-in the excavation of the below groundlevel Domus Publica a few years ago a wide ramp (like a short driveway) was visible that opened on to the Via Sacra from this section at the correct level?

    It's 394AD, the Christians have closed all the Pagan Temples and cults and the Vestals are the last ones left.

    Then it is decreed that the Vestal's House is to be taken over as imperial offices, its Temple closed and their religion is officially banned.

    Did these last Vestals stand around their Sacred Fire which has burned for 11 centuries and wept as the flame slowly died out and the last whisp of its smoke rose to the Heavens?

    And then leave and enter a city that they have been sheltered from since they were little children into an alien World with a single God?

    The House and Temple always off-limits is now open for the Christians to visit and gawk at.

    Princess Serena whose father was the General Stilicon remember I mentioned that an inscription across from the Curia had his name erased.
    He was executed in 408AD because he was the wrong kind of Christian, he was also the General who fought Alaric and the Visigoths in the past and beat them.

    Now 1-2yrs later in 409AD Alaric has beseiged Rome and on August 24, 410AD they enter somehow thru an opened City Gate and loot and burn Rome for 3 days.

    [But years earlier]
    The Historian Zosimus tells us that the young Princess Serena in or after 394AD with her own hands took a beautiful necklace off one of the Vestal Statues here and placed it around her own neck.
    And an old woman who was once a Vestal Virgin who just by chance was there saw this.
    She cursed the Princess for her irreverent profane act and predicted that someday she would have to atone for her Sins.
    The Princess paid the old Pagan woman no mind and who knows she possibly even retold this funny story to friends while wearing this same necklace over the years.

    Now years later in 409-410AD Rome is surrounded and besieged by Alaric and his Visigoths.
    Now for some reason the Senate and even the Emperor's sister believe Princess Serena is secretly allied with these Barbarians surrounding Rome.
    But she isn't and is innocent of this rumor.

    But she is found guilty and sentenced to death. Being a noblewoman her execution would be as it has been for centuries for people of her rank.
    I wonder if she remembered those words from that old Vestal Virgin years before as the executioner slipped his cord necklace around her neck.
    Her sentence, death by strangulation!

  • Report Abuse


    DOMUS PUBLICA: The official (Public) Home (Domus) of the Pontifex Maximus (Head Priest) overseeing the Vestals among other duties (509BC-12BC).

    Excavations have shown originally it was just a cluster of primitive huts (pre or post-715BC), later a larger rectangular hall stucture but still of primitive building materials (interlaced wood branches, reeds, waddle & daub, etc) and later in ~525BC it was a long rectangular structure with soft tufa stone walls.

    It was the King's Palace until 509BC when the Romans overthrew the last King and became a Republic and the Pontifex Maximus was installed there overseeing religious duties of the Vestal cult.

    The vast majority of the ruins (brick & concrete) you are seeing are post-12BC when the expanded House of the Vestals built over this House multiple times over the many years.

    But there is one site of major historical interest here, some scant remains of the Pontifex Maximus' House dated to when Julius Caesar as Pontifex Maximus lived here in the last years and the very last night and day of his life.


    Ok I want you leave the large Vestal Atrium courtyard and step back into the smaller atrium with the Temple of Vesta.

    All the while looking to the right thru the trees towards that modern roof section I mentioned earlier that covered the Domus Publica's Impluvium (the water pool that was in the center of the domus' atrium which is also the center of the house).

    Leave the Vestal atrium and turn right walk a few feet to those trees again this whole time looking into those brick ruins.

    Among those brick ruins 1 thing stands out which isn't brick and that is a groundlevel whiteish/gray travertine stone stylobate (looks like 2 long low steps).

    When you can best line-up that stylobate { with the modern roofed structure [`R`] behind it --->{```[`R`] Stop there.

    The Stylobate in this case is a short base ground level of travertine stone blocks with 2 travertine stone blocks on top of it.
    1 block had a half-column base chisled into the side facing you.

    In front of this at a slightly lower level are some travertine stone blocks with groove cut into them, this is a channel or gutter for rainwater.
    Which means structure was exposed to the outside elements.

    This structure was the base stones of an outside wall of a building and not just any all wall but a very impressive wall because on those half-column bases there would have been decorative half-columns [``||``||``||``].���

    This wall without a doubt based on the Domus Publica's 19C excavations is a wall that had the Domus' front door entrance (likely with a pediment above it).

    Looking straight ahead we know the modern covers the Impluvium (small beautiful water pool) in the Domus' Atrium and that the fancy impressive Tablinum Room would be at the opposite end of the Atrium.

    So an impressive wall and with the front door { into a short corridor --- with a service room on each side, into the beautiful Atrium [``=``] with the Impluvium = in the center, and then the impressive [T]ablinum {---[``=``][T]

    With bedrooms, a dining room, etc off both long sides of the Atrium and likely a 2nd story at the least.

    This Stylobate dates to the time of the Julius Caesar as does the rest of this excavated House of the Pontifex Maximus.


    THIS half-columned wall with the Stylobate base is where the House's Front Door was with likely a pediment [^] over the door o----o----o[^]o----o----o on the �Ides of March� 44BC.

    It�s late-morning March 15, 44BC as Julius Caesar walks out this door for the last time in his life.
    A few hours later 3 slaves sent by his wife will return with his body on a litter and re-enter here.
    His body was later waked in this Domus, likely in the Tablinum.
    And then on March 18 his body is carried thru that door on a beautiful funeral bier and over to the Rostra where Marc Antony has a few words to say.
    Think of the others who have also walked thru that door to visit Julius Caesar...Marc Antony, Brutus and a young boy visiting his great-uncle who will one day inherit his Empire as JC's adopted son and hier.

    IMO the archaeological evidence is overwhelming and rock solid for this as the main entrance door location into the Domus Publica.


    It's the evening before the 'Ides of March' Julius Caesar (JC) and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus (Caesar's General mentioned at the Regia) have just finished dinner along with others and *Decimus Brutus* (a different Brutus but a major player in these events).

    JC is catching-up on some work (reading and signing things) while everyone else is engaged in after dinner conversation.
    The topic of "What is the best death?" comes-up and JC quickly answers "A sudden one".
    He will get his wish tomorrow.

    That night JC and his wife go to sleep but it will not be restful!
    In the middle of the night the doors and windows in their bedroom in blown open by a violent wind.
    JC has a dream that he is flying above the clouds holding the hand of the God Jupiter.
    His wife has a nightmare, she dreams that the pinnacle (placed there by the Senate) atop their house falls and smashes on the ground and she weeps over the body of her murdered husband in her arms.

    The morning of March 15, 44BC the 'Ides Of March'.
    JC woke-up ill and his wife tells him of her dream and she begs him not to go to the Senate meeting that day.
    JC is worried by her pleads as she is not a overly superstitious person.

    Later the Priests report to him here that they have made several (animal) sacrifices and found them to be inauspicious (unfavorable) so already with ill health, bad omens (storm), his and Calpurnia's dreams and now unfavorable sacrifices!

    JC hesitates for quite a while and finally decides to send Marc Antony to the Curia Pompey (~1.4km away) to dismiss the Senate.

    But one man speaks-up who is there at the House 'Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus' aka *Decimus Brutus* or Brutus Albinus again not the famous Brutus but he is his distant relative of his.
    He is a confidant, trusted military ally and a close friend of JC.
    And is actually in JC's will as a 2nd heir (more as an overseer of his decrees and not an actual money/property inheritor).
    He is also a major player as one of ~sixty assassination conspirators.

    His life and the others, all depend on JC going to that Senate meeting.
    If not, it's probably for certain that by sunset JC will have gotten wind of their plot.
    The "cat is out of the bag" and the rumors have already started and they will not get a 2nd chance.

    *Decimus Brutus* tells JC that *HE* called this Senate meeting and it would be insulting to the Senators not to show.
    He scoffs and mocks the Priests and their Sacrifices.

    And he then tells JC; "Caesar shall we tell the Senate you will only meet them when your wife has better dreams?", "What will your enemies say?"
    "The Senate wants to give you the title of Rex (King to be used *only* outside of Italy and only to forfill a Sybil prophesy, JC is "Dictator For Life" [Dictator Perpetuus] but the title *King* to the Romans is like the title *Dictator* to us) and will vote unanimously for you".

    Decimus Brutus takes JC's hand and leads him towards the door.
    "At least, if you think this day is unfortunate, the decent thing to do is to go to the Senate meeting yourself and adjourn it in person".
    JC agrees and walks out the door.

    He will leave for the Senate meeting with only a small entourage, including friends and conspirators but no bodyguards. (He had already disbanded his Spanish bodyguards, his friends urged him to bring them back into service but JC refused.)
    Even if JC had heard rumors or thought of a possible conspiracy this would be typical of him.

    In battle when the tides were turning against him, he would send away his horse and his bodguards and fight alongside his men.
    His bravery would rally his troops on to victory. Once the enemy's reinforcements arrived and he was now vastly outnumbered and surrounded.
    Any other commander probably would have dug-in or attempted a break-out.
    Instead JC split his troops and attacked both fronts and Won.

    Some make the claim this was just JC's way of commiting suicide due too illness and failing health and die a hero. I doubt it though.

    The Via Sacra is *mobbed* with people outside his home that morning, most are just onlookers, others to try and give him a petition for something they want or desire.

    But two people in the crowd have an urgent message for JC but only one will get thru.

    A servant sent by his master or mistress tries to get to JC as he leaves his house but cannot get thru the mob that surrounds him.
    He goes to JC's house and begs Calpurnia to secure him until JC returns because he has something of great importance to tell him.

    And the other is a teacher of Greek logic named Artemidorus knows the famous Brutus and his friends but he also knows their secret. He is in the crowd that day with a written message warning JC of the assassination conspiracy.
    He notices that JC is handing all the petitions he receives to a servant to read later. Artemidorus pushes thru the crowd and hands JC his message.
    And tells him "Read this Caesar, alone, and quickly, for it contains a matter great importance which concerns You!!!".

    JC tries to read it several times but he keeps getting distracted by people wishing to speak to him along the way.
    It will still be in his hand and unread when he enters the Senate building.

    JC is 56yrs old when he leaves his house and has less than an hour remaining in his life.

    In ~3-4hrs he will be returning home along this same route in a litter carried by 3 slaves sent by Calpurnia to retrieve his body and bring it home.
    One bloodied hand hangs from the litter as it crosses the Forum, in the other hand he still clutches that unread warning note!
    Suetonius records that the Physician Antistius performed Caesar's autopsy here and that note was still in his hand! (BTW this is history's 1st recorded autopsy).

    3 days later his body in an elaborate Funeral Bier leaves this House and is carried over to the Rostra and the rest is history.


    [SOURCES] Over 100yrs ago 2 books were published about the Roman Forum excavations and this site in late 1800's.
    If links go dead try Google for the complete text of these books now long out of Copyright.
    (1) 'Recent Excavations in the Roman Forum' 1898-1905: A Handbook By E. Burton-Brown
    THE FORUM' 1898-1904 BY AN EYE-WITNESS CLAIR BADDELEY They tell of the traverine half-columns and the rain water channel of the Domus' wall facade.
    And beyond that the atrium with a deep Impluvium. And beyond that the Tablinum with a mosaic floor and an aspe in the back. And on the right a room with a delicate mosiac floor and a beautiful fresco wall. And of the earliest foundations to its last rebuilding (1stC-BC). 1st: Walls built of large blocks, 2 Roman feet thick of soft Tufa the earliest building material used in Rome this probably belongs to the Regal (Kings) Period. These were rapidly crumbling away during the 19C excavations.
    2nd: Blocks of hard Tufa 18-22in thick and 3'6"-4ft long perhaps from
    the rebuilding of 390BC or 210BC.
    3rd: Concrete walls faced with bricks, columns of Travertine (loose or
    in place) and fine mosic pavings, this is 1stC-BC. Also now lost due to of exposure since the 1880's was the painted stucco inside and outside the house.
    All the materials were once covered (tufa, travertine, brick facings), columns were crimson, rain-water channels were blue, inner walls with simple leaf ornaments, wreaths and flowers in panels with circles or garlands in the center.
    And iron nails were also found in the brick facing to anchor the stucco.


    This isn't well written:-) but it's a *Very Accurate* narrative of Julius Caesar's assassination.
    Over the years additions and corrections have been made esp about the Domus Publica's front door entrance & bath/impluvium) and worth slogging thru :-). (OR)

    For the section on the Domus Publica with some photo links scroll down to;

  • Report Abuse


    Ok, now walk over to the otherside (north) of the Regia |``**```| and stand in front of that large temple with the columned porch still intact.

    But as you walk over check out the eastside of the Regia where the front entrance= was [``**```]=.

    This entrance had a porch (likely very elaborate) that was probably added after the 36BC rebuilding when the rebuilt Regia was somewhat fire-proofed.

    See the 2 upright structures of brick and marble, on the right one the marble is cracked/split which was caused by fire and very likely either Nero's 64AD or Commodus' Fire in 180'sAD.

    Now walk over to the Temple but check-out the side (north) of the Regia.
    See the 2 long marble and travertine Steps, they are from the 7-8thC-AD when someone build a Medieval house in the Regia.

    See the brick pier with a column that column is believed to have been a later repair in that pier which was part of a quadrifrontal arch (4 passages) that was built in 121BC (Fabian Arch) that spanned the Via Sacra?
    Cicero once in jest remarked about a man known for his height; "He bumps his head against the Fabian Arch".
    If not that Arch it was another one built here as below ground support bases have been found.

    Also notice some elevated street paving stones, you are standing on a Via that dates to Augustus (~1AD+/-) those paving stones show where the streetlevel had risen to by the 2C-AD.

    Look at the temple and see the elevated (~6m/20ft above) green bronze door, that was how high the groundlevel had risen when the Forum was excavated in the later half of the 1800's.

    Remember Emperor Caracalla and his killing spree of 20,000 of anyone even remotely aquainted with his brother Geta that he murdered.
    Well a man named Valerius Patruinus who was the Co-Prefect of the Praetorian Guard and was a colleague of a couple of guys (Papinian and Laetus) who favored Geta, so a friend of a friend so to speak.
    Bad choice of friends for him, Caracalla's hit-squad soldiers caught up with him (probably didn't even know it was coming) and murdered him right in front of this Temple.

    Also today we myself included throw around the name Via Sacra (Sacred Way) for most street sections in the Roman Forum.
    But the Via Sacra was actually only the one street that went from the Regia to the entrance to the Palatine Hill (by the Arch of Titus). Originally just a dirt path from the Palatine where the 1st Romans lived to the Regia/Palace/Vestal Temple area.



    This was originally just the 'Temple of Faustina' that Emperor Antoninus Pius built (141AD) for his late beloved wife. She died just 2yrs into his 23yr reign.
    After his death the Senate renamed it the 'Temple of Antoninus and Faustina'.

    Emperor Antoninus was a really nice guy so if it wasn't for this temple surviving we would have sadly never heard much about him.
    Nice guys finish last historically, I mean we all know about Caligula and Nero because they were meanies:).

    Any Emperor who rules the World can get all the beautiful girls (or young men) he wants too and any Roman man can have sex outside of marriage as it's considered normal male behavour and only a woman can commit adultery.

    But Emperor Antoninus is very faithful who Loves and adores his wife.
    He once wrote in a letter to someone about his wife "I would rather live with her on Gyara [an island of exile] than without her in the Palace".

    Antoninus placed a large seated statue of his wife within her Temple and when he died they placed a statue of him right beside her.

    They remained together for over 2 centuries until the Christians dragged their Pagan statues out of the Temple.
    They were smashed and thrown off of the Temple's porch and lay broken on the ground below.
    Time eventually covered over the broken statues and they lay buried there for ~1500yrs.

    They were discovered during the excavations and are now displayed on the Temple's porch, the most intact one that you see is the seated Faustina with the fragments of Antoninus laying around her.
    So together again as they were in Life.
    Love stories are very rare in the Roman Forum but this was one of them:-).


    Now look at the architrave on top of the columns.
    The original inscription was to Faustina alone and it read
    "To Deified Faustinae, by decree of the Senate".
    When Antoninus died and was deified 20yrs later the Frieze above Faustina's inscription was chiselled off and this was added

    ('To the Divine Antoninus and to the Divine Faustina by decree of the Senate').

    The side Frieze is pretty well preserved and was beautifully sculpted so check it out.

    Only the bottom 3 steps are original with gameboards etched into them, the steps above that are a modern brick reconstruction.

    The altar is original but its marble facing was long ago looted and this would be were the religious animal sacifices were carried out.

    Legend claims this temple is where St Lawrence had been sentenced to death in 258AD.
    He was martyred over a fire on a gridiron and even told the executioner (or the Emperor present) that he was done on that side and needed to be flipped-over.

    In the 7th or 8thC the 1st church was build within the temple (San Lorenzo in Miranda) and in 1602 the Baroque facade was built.

    Ok now, my pet peeve:).
    In guidebooks, audioguides and tour guides they often claim that the deep grooves at the top of the columns were made by Renaissance workers *trying* to pull down the columns.

    Wrong! Those boys had no problems in taking columns from all over Rome to be reused esp in churchs, if they wanted them they would be gone now.

    And a rope isn't going to cut deep grooves into a hard marble column just by pulling on it!

    But if a rope is tied to the column to support something heavy and after years of the wind and weather gently moving it, it will wear in a groove and as the rope is replaced over the years it's placed in the same grooved notch.

    You can see this in London's Westminster Abbey where ropes were tied to the interior columns to support staging for seating IIRC.
    The weight and movement of people over the years caused the rope's slight movement to cut into these columns.

    So in 1429 or 1430, Pope Martin V gave the church to the Collegio degli Speziali (College of Chemists and Herbalists or the 'Guild of Apothacaries' {druggists}), at the time officially known as the Universitas Aromatorium.

    And they built a heavy wooden roof tied to the columns surrounding the temple's porch.

    Also this is my take, if you look at the sides of the columns you will see an up/down line of small holes, I've seen this before and I'm very certain these were for supporting wooden walls placed between the columns.

    So with a roof and walls this porch is now a seperate enclosed bldg from the church.

    And the roof/column theory is the only one that makes any logical sense.
    The column toppling theory was just a *guess* by one early archaeologist which caught on as fact and became an urban legend.

    Also on the columns are inscriptions and drawings (graffiti), some are early Christian from the 4thC but I've had no luck seeing them even with binoculars.

  • Report Abuse

    thank you so much Rostra, for posting what is clearly a labour of love.

    On my next trip to Rome [and I'm determined there will be one] I will print this off and take it with me. The Forum is NOT going to get the better of me next time.

    [and I'm dying of curiosity but I'm not going to ask].

  • Report Abuse

    If Paradise Lost was banned, I'm sure it was one of those "spam" glitches that have been happening lately. Never knew Walter to do something bannable (new word).

    Whatever, great post, "Rostra."

  • Report Abuse

    #28. VIA SACRA & SITES

    [CORRECTION; In the earlier Vestal area sections I got the dates wrong and used 180'sAD for the 'Fire of Commodus' it was actually in 191AD.
    Also for Septimus Severius wife's rebuilding of the Temple of Vesta/House I used 191AD it should be 193+AD as that is when her husband became Emperor.]

    Ok, still standing in front of the Temple of Antoninus/Faustina turn right (east) and look-up the Via Sacra.

    Now imagine that missing Arch that was connected to the Regia just behind you and look-up 45deg right to the single Arch of Titus.
    That is where the Via Sacra always began and ended originally at the Regia/Vestal complex in ancient times when it was a dirt footpath.

    Then when the 1st Roman Forum was made it ended where the Via entered it, so where that missing Arch was.

    You are standing on the ~1AD Via Sacra with centuries of other Via's below you and the now missing Via's that were built over this 1AD Augustus Era Via Sacra.
    The archaeologist's plan was to always get to this level so other later levels were removed like those few elevated 2C-AD paving stones when that Via was at that level above this one.

    Now notice the Via goes straight but halfway up the slope where you see the trees it curves to the right and over to the Arch area.

    This is the Via Sacra's route from ancient times until Nero's 64AD Fire, after that it ran straight up past the curved section and then did a 90deg right turn to the Arch area.
    And that remained its route until well after the Fall of Rome and very likely into Medieval Times until finally the whole area was buried and lost.

    The Via was lined with high-end Shops like Jewelry and Goldsmiths and homes of the Rich.

    And often in rich Roman homes like these on groundfloor they would have small shops in the front facade facing the street, with a seperate entrance into the house's groundfloor behind the shops [``H```[s]= and the house�s 2nd floor or more built-over the whole complex.

    Generally in Rome and esp on a busy Via in the Roman Forum you want your House to be a groundfloor fortress against any civil unrest like riots.

    The center of the house would have an beautiful atrium (outside courtyard) and windows and balconies on the 2nd and higher floors.
    So having shops in front didn't really effect the house and also provided money.

    In the National Museum I have seen a funerary plaque for M. Caedicius Eros a Freedman who died at the end of the 1C-BC who had a Goldsmith Shop on the Via Sacra.
    Not bad, he went from Slave to Freedman and died owning a high-end Goldsmith shop.

    After the Nero's 64 Fire and his massive building of the Domus Aurea (Golden House Palace) he made the Via Sacra straight and right-up to his Domus Aurea's Beautiful Vestibule, then with a sharp 90deg right turn towards the Arch Area.

    He turned the entire length of the Via Sacra into an elaborate elevated walkway with sidesteps and a columned portico with a roof (summer sun and rain).

    All the rich Houses were burned in the Fire and not replaced instead both sides of the Via are lined with high-end shops along this straight section which is wider now esp the upper part.

    A century earlier Julius Caesar for protection from the summer Sun stretched awnings over the Via for the people. Also awnings over the Roman Forum and the Vicus Tuscus.

    Also the ancient Romans called this the 'Sacra Via' (Sacred Way) and not the 'Via Sacra'.
    And as mentioned earlier they originally lived on the Palatine Hill and this dirt path (Way) took them to the (Sacred) Temple of Vesta, Regia and King's Palace.


    Ok now walk over to the rightside (east) of the Temple eastside where there are the remains of a very fine marble slabs of paving, this is a section of the outer boundary of the Temple.
    As mentioned earlier, Temples often had a marked area surrounding them but in this case the side possibly with a curb marking-off their religious property.

    This elevated patch of paving (with 3 steps) later became part of a small bath complex in the 4-5thC-AD.
    That rubble on top is the remains of a rectangular small bath that they also cut into the pavement and then lined with thin marble veneer.

    And if you look to the right you can see the concrete/rubble remains of the rest of this Bath complex.


    Now in right in front of you and also to the right are odd shaped well maintained patches of grass grown there and shaped like that on purpose.

    This is called the Sepulcretum or necropolis or cemetery in the guidebooks.

    These grass spots mark the where the archaeologists found 'Early Iron Age' (10C-7C BC) graves.

    When the Roman Forum area was a diseased marsh this whole area was used as a cemetery.
    They were either complete body burials (inhumation) or a cremation in an urn.

    All were buried with cool grave goods and the metal Urns were detailed (doors, roof, etc) of a round hut depicting actually what they lived in. The Urns were then placed in a large vase with the grave goods, sealed and buried.

    Adult burials stopped in the mid-8thC BC which coincides with the founding of Rome in 753BC.
    Children were still buried there until the next century (7th) when it was abandoned all together.

    What's interesting is in one of these later children's tombs (Tomb G) there were found either imported or imitation Greek objects a Greek lekythos (oil vase/flask) with figures of running dogs. This showed either direct or indirect trade with the Greek colonies in Italy.

    All this stuff and other stuff is in the small Roman Forum Museum (Antiquarium Forense) and worth a look if it's open.


    Now walk (east) a few yards to the end of this section and then just before the round intact temple is an exposed below-ground structure.

    It is 3 complete rooms with doorways, a short narrow corridor and across from the 3 complete rooms are 3 more rooms with only the floors and partial walls remaining (no ceiling).

    The short corridor leads to another door either another room or a corridor.
    But it seems to have a narrow vertical doorjam that the others don't have?
    If so it's likely for a corridor door that opened inward which could be Locked?

    These are basement cell-like bedrooms of a rich Roman house (70-40BC) that once stood there.

    Rich people don't sleep in basement cell bedrooms they sleep on the groundfloor or 2nd floor bedrooms facing their beautiful Atrium.

    Their slaves sleep in locked quarters in the basement in small cells with a stone bed to prevent their escape or vengence on their owners in the night.
    Roman Law is if 1 slave kills his master or mistress every single slave in the house is executed often publicly in the Colosseum or Circus (torn apart by wild beasts is a likely fate).

    Another nearby home from this era when excavated had 50 of these slave cells which ancient writers tell us is around the number needed to run a Noble Roman household.
    So this is likely just a small section for 6 within the larger slave quarters of this house.

    Now look into these rooms and imagine the poor souls who lived in them their entire lifes as a slave.
    They were only considered property to be worked hard with little food and sexually enjoyed if the master so desired.
    And if they displeased their master or mistress they could be beaten, whipped, branded, killed (crucified) or sold into a worst fate (mines, brothels, farms were also brutal, etc). �


    Ok now, turn around and look at that intact small 2 short-story high brick building just across the Via from you.

    It has a modern metal door and on the roof a modern skylight ^ so in modern times it has and likely still is being used for something (storage?).
    Possibly even by the early archaeologists?

    I believe the 3 stone steps were placed there in modern times to give access from the lower excavated groundlevel into this building.
    I believe this because the level below the doorjam is the concrete foundation and from the doorjam up it is faced with Roman bricks.
    So this structure was built when the Via Sacra was higher than the present day Augustus level.
    This door level would be roughly where Nero's higher Via Sacra was and he put many shops along this section.

    So this structure has to be post-64AD or later.
    I have searched for years in archaeological books, the internet and even read the *very detailed* archaeologist's excavation report of the Via Sacra when ~100yrs ago it was dug down well below the present day level, where they list *every* single minor little thing they found and even its height above sea level:-).
    But no one ever mentions this intact in-your-face structure ever, ever!!!
    Even detailed guidebooks mention things like those scant remains of the 4/5C Bath across the street but not This???
    And it is definitely from the Roman era built with a concrete foundation and Roman bricks?

    This is my guess and I think it's very possible that I might be correct?

    This was 1 of the many shops built side by side that were the same structure [``][``][``][``][``] seperated by walls (think small strip-mall) that Nero built here facing the Via Sacra (which is a fact).

    It was possibly taken over has a house or shop in Medieval Times and kept-up but the other shops were not and were stripped of any useful building materials and fell into ruins?

    Even as the groundlevel slowly rose it could still be used by just keeping the front door clear with steps down to it with the sides shored-up with a little wall?
    Like the outside bulkhead entrance into a modern suburan home's basement?
    Over time it is completely buried intact until the excavations?

    The remains of these other ruined 1C-AD ugly brick and concrete shops are built over centuries of the Domus Publica's layers (rooms, walls, floors, drains, etc).
    (The Domus Publica's roofed-over Impluvium is *right* behind this structure.)

    So Royal Palace to Pontifex Maximus' house vs. some common brick and concrete ruins of 1C-AD shops in the way?
    Easy choice to make, destroy them (even if they were intact) and continue the excavations down to the really MAJOR historical levels.
    And if 1 shop was intact leave it alone too show that 1C-AD level and a structure from it?

    I know its ugly looking but it could have been marble-faced but most likely it was faced in white stucco and then lines were etched into the stucco making the facade look like it was build of white marble blocks (very common practice and alot cheaper).
    Figure a nice door with an elaborate frame, a shop sign, trim brightly painted, etc.
    And it also has a narrow sloped roof-tile awning across the middle of the facade just above the door.

    Well that's my guess that it once was a Roman high-end Shop possibly a Goldsmith or Jeweler or something similar for the tastes of the Rich.


    Ok walk-up the Via Sacra until just past the intact Round Temple (we'll get to that next).

    I want you to look towards the House of the Vestals beyond this and line yourself up that far eastern end [``````````] of the Vestals House.
    So Vestals House, Domus Publica and the Via Sacra that you are standing on.

    Now look back over to the modern roof over the Domus Publica�s Impluvium directly behind the mystery 2-story brick building we just left.

    Now we have already seen the Domus� front entrance in the trees earlier and this section directly in front of you is the rear of the Domus.

    So picture the roofed-over Impluvium which is a small pool in the center of the larger Atrium [```=```] with rooms off to each long side of it and at this end the atrium opens into the Tablinum (Fancy Impressive Room where the owner has all his cool stuff to show-off and where he would meet with friends, businessmen, VIPs, etc) so this
    (The Tablinum's rear wall is Apse } shaped ``T} and the floor mosaic.)

    So with everything lined-up straight from the roofed-over small Impluvium (pool) ---->--=-->-- surrounded by a larger Atrium [```=```] with rooms on each long side you can give this site its width as you know where the center axis is.

    Now picture this Tablinum Room directly in front of you and what you see (nothing really) is just the excavated floor-level of this room in 44BC.

    The Room where very, very likely Julius Caesar's body was publicly waked as it's the only logical place for that honor in a person's Domus (the showroom of the house).

    Also on the short walk to here you saw two pedestal bases in the Domus area.
    They were both dug-up in this general area and the excavators placed them there just to display them. They likely had nothing to do with the Domus Publica or the Vestals as another one like the inscribed one on the left was found by the Arch of Titus and it's possible there were more though-out the city.

    The left one is inscribed (need binoculars) in 3 lines LARIBVS AVG SACRVM but it's best for us to rearrange the words to this SACRVM LARIBVS AVG so it reads SACRED (to the) LARES (of) AUGUSTUS.

    Every Roman home or apartment has a small shrine to the LARES (household gods) that protect their family and home.
    It could just be on a shelf with a small statutette shrine that you offer a piece of bread too if poor.

    But in this case it's possible that this was for a blessing to the Emperor and the Empire's Lares to protect the Emperor (family) and the Empire (home)?

    My guess is that this/these were just public monuments perhaps tucked in an open public small shrine niche or just displayed alongside streets. Like you sometimes see Catholic Saints or the Virgin Mary displayed in a building's niche or statues in Italy along the streets.

    It's dated to the 1C-AD so it could be for *THE* Augustus but most of the later Emperors also took that name in their very long names along with Caesar so I don't know if it's just a general term to cover whatever Emperor is in power at the time?
    Plus it's only the abbreviation AVG for Augustus and not more specific?

    This looks like a statue base but it is an Altar (cippus) and the other one on the right has a nicely engraved fancy water pitcher (long slender neck with wide spout and a nice handle).
    This type of pitcher was used for pouring libations (water, wine or oil) at sacrifices.
    So these 2 were very likely a pair wherever they were displayed.

    Also along the farside of the Domus (where you were standing in the large courtyard of the Vestals looking at the line of Vestal statues and bases earlier) this was discovered in the excavations "parts of the columns of a long court with a colonnade, like the peristyle of a Greek house...".
    So the Domus did invade the later Vestal's Atrium (courtyard) with a large Peristyle which here would have likely been 'long rows of columns surrounding an outdoor courtyard' which was a beautiful garden likely with statues, fountains, pools, flowers, trees, etc.

    Below is a short version of what the archaeologists found over 100yrs ago when 1st excavated, sadly the weather has washed away all the paint, stucco and wall paintings. (Out of Copyright)

    "...we reach the travertine half-columns of the facade, and a channel for the rain-water from the roof (Stylobate I mentioned).
    Within is the Atrium, with a curiously deep Impluvium, which in this historic house reminds us of the fact that in very early times the tank of the atrium was sometimes dug deep to serve as a reservoir for rainwater.
    Beyond there is the usual Tablinum (Fancy Impressive Room), with its apse and a mosaic floor.
    Parts of its walls are still of the tufa blocks of an early time, and parts have been restored in concrete in the first century B.C. Both tufa and concrete were covered with stucco, and painted with designs on a background of bright "Pompeian " red.
    A side room on the right has a most delicate mosaic floor, and a wall painting of trees and birds against a background of blue sky, one of those realistic simulated woodland views that the Romans loved, and of which the best instances are in Livia's villa on the Via Flaminia, and in the Garden-House of Maecenas in Via Merulana.
    Behind again are parts of the columns of a long court with a colonnade, like the peristyle of a Greek house, which was often imitated in Rome, and was common at Pompei.
    This Domus Publica is a striking example, first of the extreme smallness of rooms required when the whole life is spent out of doors..."

  • Report Abuse


    Ok now, look across the Via at the intact round building with bronze doors.

    This Temple and the Pantheon are the only 2 intact Pagan Temples in Rome both saved because the Christians took them over and this one was used as a Vestibule into the Christian Church behind it.

    But what this Pagan Temple was built for and called in ancient times is still a mystery.

    It is either one of four different possible temple scenarios or we just really don't know.

    We'll start with what they have called it for centuries the 'Temple of Romulus'.

    Pagan Emperor Maxentius (an usurper Emperor 306-312AD and just Max from now on) was defeated by Constantine (he saw the cross or some Christian symbol in the sky, defeated Max and became the 1st Christian Emperor in 312).

    Emperor Maxentius' son (Romulus) died in 309 at age 4 and was deified as a God.

    It was believed by Mediaeval sources that this Temple was built by Max in memory of his son and other recently deceased members of his family.

    This was mainly based on 2 different 310AD coins Max put out in memory of his son which shows a round bldg somewhat like this Temple but his son's very large mausoleum out on the Via Appia Antica (near the Catacombs) is also round.

    So it's a questionable comparison today by many historians/archaeologists who often call it "The So-Called 'Temple of Romulus".

    (1) Many historians & archaeologists believe that it is actually a 'Temple of Jupiter Stator' built by Max at the place it has always been for centuries or just possibly reinstated at its original location.
    Max and the Pagans are losing ground to the Christians (estimates of ~25% of the Empire is Christian and rising) so he is reviving alot of the old original Pagan Gods & Temples.
    Plus he named his son after Romulus.

    In this case (if so); Remember Romulus in 753BC gets knocked-out in battle and his troops then retreat heading towards the Palatine, he quickly revives and calls to the God Jupiter for help and then suddenly his troop's are immobilized and can't move on the Via Sacra.
    And then the spell is lifted and they return to the battlefield at the Roman Forum marsh.
    And later Romulus builds an outdoor Altar to Jupiter at the place where he called-out to the God to "Stay" (Stator) his troops.

    (2) It's the 'Temple of the Penates'.
    Roman household Gods who protected the family and worshipped privately in the home but they were also worshipped with Vesta and Lares in public on behalf of the whole community.
    This Temple hasn't been heard about since Augustus' time and possibly was destroyed in the 64AD Fire and not rebuilt.
    And this was possibly one of the Pagan Cults Max brought back?

    (3) It actually was an original short-lived 'Temple of Romulus' built 2yrs before Constantine beat Max and when Constantine became Emperor the Temple was renamed something else.

    (4) Max built this Temple on the site of the 'Temple of Jupiter Stator' but renamed it 'The Temple of Romulus' after his son.
    2yrs later Constantine renamed it back to the 'Temple of Jupiter Stator' and removed anything related to Romulus or Max.

    I go with #1 or #4. It was always the Jupiter Stator Temple except for perhaps 2yrs (310-312AD).
    Because the modern 2 scholars at the *Very Top* of the food chain for this type of identification believe It Is.

    Adriano La Regina, Head of Rome's Archaeology Department for 24yrs and many other major things (Professor, author, etc) in this area.

    And Major League Italian archaeologist Filippo Coarelli (Professor, author, etc).

    [Hopefully I've gotten this accurate for both of them] Because based on its Via Sacra location, the City's ancient small administrative regions, ancient authors' writing of nearby monuments in that "region", etc this is the most logical place for this Jupiter Stator Temple.
    Plus I assume having no records what the Temple was originally Named in 310 helps this case also as it can't be definitely ID'ed as something else?
    Although History has always wanted to place this Stator Temple near the Arch of Titus I believe only based on something Plutarch wrote? (ancient authors are known for getting things wrong sometimes).

    Plus that Arch location is in the wrong "administrative region" and also not the right location in regards to the other known nearby building locations other ancient authors mention.


    The whole temple structure is constructed of brick faced concrete and the Temple's round dome is concrete.
    The building was faced in marble slabs (likely looted).

    Everything fancy that you see (door and frame, columns, bases, capitals, etc) was looted from older buildings.

    Rome is the Western Roman Empire and its fallen on very hard time$ and ~160yrs later it's the 'Fall of Rome'.

    Constantinople is the Eastern Roman Empire and they're doing just fine and they don't Fall for another ~1100yrs.

    1st note the height of the doorway, that was the groundlevel in 310AD when this Temple was built.

    The bronze doors and marble frame are from ~200AD and the door's keyed lock still works even today.

    Surrounding the door frame;
    The top cornice is 3 blocks, 2 from an Augustian-era bldg and the middle one was made-up for this bldg.
    There are holes on top of this cornice so there was a pediment ^ attached above it either here or at its original location.
    The next cornice has 4 block the middle 2 are from the 1C & 2C and the end ones are made-up.
    The Architrave has a plant scroll decoration that was meant to be seen vertically not horizonally 1C-AD.
    The 2 red columns are of slightly different lengths and their Corinthian capitals are ~90AD.

    The round temple has a Hall on each side which opened-out to the Via Sacra.

    The left Hall is mostly gone but the right Hall one is somewhat intact with 2 green columns.
    One column has a Corinthian capital ~90AD with a cornice block on top ~200AD with 2 made-up sections between them.

    Originally the 2 Halls were squared-off with the round temple [`]O[`] but Constantine added a curved wall on each side of the Temple door (more visually appealing) with a large niche in each that was later walled-up.

    In the 16thC part of an inscription (now lost) on the facade was recorded for 'Constantine the Great' (Max's name would have been removed if it was ever on there at all). �

    In the Temple's exposed foundation there are a couple of small drains with triangular cover and a section outlined by terracotta slabs that mark a Medieval burial area.

    The Temple is sometimes open (only started a yr or so ago) but you can also view it from a window inside the Church behind it (Santi Cosma e Damiano).

    Inside the Temple were doors to the side Halls and a wide door in the back opened into a large rectangular audience Hall (now that church) which then lead into the very much larger 'Temple of Peace' (Built by Emperor Vespasian 70AD but by the 4C it's called the Forum of Peace likely because it became a food market), that Hall was also part of this Temple/Forum.

    So now this 310AD Temple is also monumental entrance into the large audience Hall.

    And 2 centuries later the Temple of Romulus is saved from destruction because that audience Hall is turned into a Church (527AD) and the Temple becomes the vestibule of that Church.

  • Report Abuse


    Ok, still standing in front of Temple Romulus turn right.
    Lets get our bearing here; We have the Palatine Hill on the right and on the left a short distance away on the otherside of the modern street (Via d. Fori Imperiali) was the Esquiline Hill.

    Now look over (45deg right) to the Arch of Titus, now from that Palatine Hill's slope over to the Esquiline Hill was a "Somewhat high and steep ridge" that connected them /\-----/\ this is why we are going to be walking slightly uphill on the Via Sacra.

    This whole "Ridge" is called the Velia and the on the Esquiline Hill's section /\-- there was a rich up-scale neighborhood called the 'Carinae' (the 'Keels') where Pompey had a *very expensive beautiful* Home.
    After Julius Caesar and Marc Antony defeated Pompey in a Civil War Marc Antony moved-in and took over the House.
    Later the future Emperor Tiberius under Augustus (his stepfather) reign made this is Home.

    Now on the rightside of the Temple Romulus you can see a sidestreet off the Via Sacra, the only ancient mention of it calls it "The Street to the Carinae" so maybe it was called Via Carinae(?).

    The street was was lined with shops and later in 306AD when the Basilica Maxentius/Constantine was being built a tunnel had to be built into the foundations to keep the street open.

    Now on the rightside of this street facing the Via Sacra is a 'FIVE ARCHED MEDIEVAL BRICK ARCADE'. Note how high it is, that was the Medieval groundlevel when it was built and nothing is known about it.

    So we have the Temple Romulus []O[] a sidestreet |`| and an arcade in a row []O[]|`|^^^^^.

    And just across the Via from the Arcade is an ugly brick-faced concrete half-circle, a hemicycle )) structure.

    which I'll just call the "Shrine".

    Bacchus is the Roman version of the Greek God Dionysus.

    A partial inscription on a fragment that was part of the architrave was found here saying this Shrine was restored by Emperor Antoninus (138-164AD).

    A coin also minted in his time shows the image of this Shrine, the hemicycle enclosed a small round temple (SACELLUM) with a statue inside no doubt of Bacchus.

    ~100yrs earlier this Bacchus Cult was revived and brought back into fashion by Julius Caesar and Marc Antony was a major member of the Cult.

    Also a reproduction (cast) of that partially inscribed architrave fragment is ~30m up the Via Sacra's original section that curves right and just lying in a grassy area with bushes on the right.
    I assume it was placed there to mark the spot where the archaeologists found it as the most logical place to place it would have been in front of the Shrine?


    The Greek God Dionysus' Cult in which both men and women were allowed into has a major emphasis on Wine and Intoxication.

    The Cult came over to Southern Italy with the Greeks that colonized the area (like Paestum).

    The Etruscans picked-up this Cult and then later through them it made its way into Rome in the Late-3rd and 2nd centuries BC where the Romans then merged this Dionysus Cult with their own Roman Fertility God Liber Cult.

    And now Dionysus is called Bacchus and becomes a new 'Women's Only Cult' and just a another but slightly stranger Roman Cult where Women celebrate with wildly Drinking, Dancing and Feasting 3 days a year during the Day.
    And it's accepted with no problems in Pagan Rome.

    In 188BC the Cult is only a few decades old when suddenly the Priestess Paculla Annia claims that the God Bacchus told her to make a few changes.

    (1) Allow Men to join.

    (2) Instead of only 3 DAYTIME Drinking, Dancing and Feasting Celebrations a YEAR, its now 5 days a MONTH and only to be held at NIGHT.

    (3) Anyone can join regardless of social Class (Aristocrats, Plebeians/Commoners, Poor, Slaves).

    (4) New members MUST be 20yrs old or younger.

    (5) Sexual promiscuity is mandatory for all of the Younger new members.

    Well this New Wilder 'Sex, Drugs and Rock n' Roll' Orgy Cult version had a short ~2yr run until 186BC when the Roman Senate got wind of what was going on!!!

    And this is what they especially don't Like.

    (1) The very small minority Rich Aristocratic Class that makes-up the Roman Senate, Government and the Financial structure does not like or tolerate any type group gathering among the vast huge majority of the Lower Classes or Slaves.

    The Aristocratic Class has a great fear with good reasons of the 'Roman Mob', one very small discontented organized Group could grow into a very large organized Group that wants all their Stuff.
    That is why the Government gives the People "Bread and Circuses" so 'Food and Entertainment' (Colosseum, Circus Maximus Chariot races, etc).

    Even ~150yrs later it was a big deal for Augustus just to allow Fire Departments with Slave/Freedman Fireman to form into small groups.

    And this Cult has now gone Rouge, with the lower Classes and others meeting in secret, private secluded Group gatherings.

    (2) Pagan Religions, Temples and Religious Celebrations all are under the Roman Senate's authority.
    Although this Cult has been perfectly Legal over the decades it has crossed the line now.

    And Romans having and socially accepting wild Orgies is a myth with the possible exceptions of a few wild mad Emperors.
    Sexual excesses *esp* Orgies in Republican Era Rome would be looked upon as a *major* unacceptable moral weakness in a Roman Man (Like a Social Drinker vs the Town Drunk).

    And you can only imagine what they would think about a Free Roman Citizen Woman participating in Orgies!

    (3) This Cult had Women in Leadership Positions over its Male members, this goes against Roman Social and Family Values.
    Women are 2nd Class Citizens always under the control of their Fathers and/or Husbands and not in political, business or religious power over Men.

    (4) The Cult's membership is open to everyone even the Poor and Slaves. This is outside the Norms for their Society.

    So in 186BC the Senate in an emergency session bans this Cult for those reasons and a 'Witch Hunt' begins.

    The 2 Consuls are given exceptional powers to round-up all of this Cult's members (7,000 in Italy according to Livy) and Italy's borders are sealed-off to prevent their escape.

    The Consuls address the People from the old Comitium Rostra and are told of these dangerous Cult members among them and a reward is offered to any informers for their Names.

    Livy 29BC (~160yrs later)

    "The punishment inflicted on those who were convicted, varied according to the degree of their guilt; some were thrown into prison, others were put to death.
    The women were surrendered to their parents or husbands, that they might receive their punishment in private."

    In Italy either all 7,000 members went to Trial or the Trials were possibly limited to the Cult's Priests, Priestessess, leading advocates, VIPs, etc and also possibly others denounced by a political or personal enemy?

    And many commit suicide beforehand which would be perfectly acceptable and honorable by Roman Standards.

    As for the Women are turned-over to their husbands or fathers for punishment.
    IMO even if the woman was only just "accused" and not even Tried or arrested she would have good chance of becoming a victim of an 'Honor Killing'.
    Though-out Italy Cult altars, shrines and statues are ordered destroyed unless they are ancient from earlier times (I assume they mean those originally from the Greek and Etruscan Periods?).

    You can still "Officially" practice the Old Cult except now you must apply for a Permit that must be approved by the Senate, if approved the celebration can have no more than 5 persons with no Leaders present.

    But it's *claimed* that the Cult went underground and continued on in secret for many years?

    ~50BC Julius Caesar revives the Cult but as a much tamer and normal Roman Cult-type fashion.
    His buddy Mark Anthony (drunk and sex addict) happily joins-up and the Cult becomes popular.

    The Pagan Cult was finally banned by the Christians ~390AD.


    Livy 29BC (~160yrs later) wrote about this Cult but most scholars believe it's exaggerated somewhat esp the murders, assassinations, poisonings, forgeries, raping the unwillng members, etc.
    And the main reasons the Cult was banned was because of the reasons I listed earlier.

    "The initiated did not only indulge in feasting and drinking at their meetings, but when their minds were heated with wine, they indulged in the coarsest excesses and the most unnatural vices.
    Young girls and youths were seduced, and all modesty was set aside; every kind of vice found here its full satisfaction.
    But crimes did not remain confined to these meetings; for false witnesses, forgeries, false wills, and denunciations proceeded from this focus of crime. Poison and assassination were carried on under the cover of the society; and the voices of those who had been fraudulently drawn into these orgies, and would cry out against the shameless practices, were drowned by the shouts of the Bacchantes, and the deafening sounds of drums and cymbals.
    The time of initiation lasted ten days, during which a person was obliged to abstain from all sexual intercourse; on the tenth he took a solemn meal, underwent a purification by water, and was led into the sanctuary (Bacchanal).
    At first only women were initiated, and the orgies were celebrated every year during three days.
    Matrons alternately performed the functions of priests.
    But Pacula Annia, a Campanian matron, pretending to act under the direct influence of Bacchus, changed the whole method of celebration; she admitted men to the initiation, and transferred the solemnisation which had hitherto taken place during the daytime to the night.
    Instead of three days in the year, she ordered that the Bacchanalia should be held during five days in every month.
    It was from the time that these orgies were carried on after this new plan that, according to the statement of an eye-witness, licentiousness and crimes of every description were committed.
    Men as well as women indulged in the most unnatural appetites, and those who attempted to stop or to oppose such odious proceedings fell as victims. Their principle of the society to hold every ordinance of god and nature in contempt.
    Men, as if seized by fits of madness, and under great convulsions, gave oracles; and the matrons, dressed as Bacchae, with disheveled hair and burning torches in their hands, ran down to the Tiber and plunged their torches into the water; the torches, however, containing sulphur and chalk, were not extinguished.
    Men who refused to take part in the crimes of these orgies, were frequently thrown into dark caverns and despatched, while the perpetrators declared that they had been carried off by the gods.
    Among the number of the members of these mysteries, were, at the time when they were suppressed, persons of all classes; and during the last two years, nobody had been initiated who was above the age of twenty years, as this age was thought most fit for seduction and sensual pleasure."

  • Report Abuse

    The Greek God Dionysus' Cult in which both men and women were allowed into has a major emphasis on Wine and Intoxication.>>

    please, can i join?

    Seriously, Rostra, you are the only person who has ever really made all this stuff make sense to me, even when I am just reading it on my sofa. surely there is a book here?

  • Report Abuse

    Thanks annhig for the nice compliment:-). I'm glad it helped you out in understanding the Roman Forum better.

    It's my favorite spot on Earth, I've been oddly spirituality draw to it since my 1st visit in '96 and I don't believe in that stuff:-).

    I've spent 3.5 months in Rome in 9 trips and many full days just hanging around the Forum and very, very often ended my days there before returning back to my hotel, all this when it was Free of course:-).

    And I wanted to know what every single stone in the Forum was:-).

    And I Loved researching it in the books by the ancient authors mainly for the stories connected to the ruins which to me makes the Roman Forum come Alive (Like the Rostra is just an ugly ruin but when Suetonius tells you that Emperor Augustus' wild daughter Julia had a late night Orgy there, you look at it a bit differently:-) ).

  • Report Abuse


    [1st lets get a 'Lay-Out of the Land' as it relates to Nero's post-64AD Fire massive building projects in this area and will also be useful later on]

    Ok, still standing in front of the SACELLUM OF BACCHUS turn left and look up the Via Sacra.

    In front of you the Via forks with a straight path and another path that forks-off to the right |/.

    The right path is the original Via Sacra path up to the Palatine Hill/Titus Arch area pre-64AD it would have rich houses and shops along it.

    The straight path was put in by Nero after the 64 Fire and it's now THE Via Sacra in a *Grand Monument* form.

    The Via T's at the top (where the Church is, hidden by the trees but you can see its Belltower) and then 90deg/Right to the Arch area.

    Pre-64 Fire this whole area from the Vestal's House to the Arch area, and in front of you, and from the street next to the Temple Romulus up was all private rich aristocratic homes, some Shrine & monuments and Shops along the original Via Sacra.
    That whole area burned down and Nero just took it over for his massive grand building plans.

    The now straight Via Sacra is 30m wide!!! from here up and a now an broad elevated walkway (1-2m high) with 3 seperate streets.

    On each side of this 30m Via are 1-2 steps to a broad sidewalk (crepido) and then 3-4 steps up to a *Grand* colonnaded and roofed-over walkway _--|T|--_ It's BEAUTIFUL now the WOW!!! of all the past and future Via Sacra's.

    Now on the rightside of this Nero Via Sacra from the Vestal's House over to the Arch Titus area and from this Via Sacra over to the Via Nova that runs behind the Vestal's House Nero builds a Huge structure fronted by a Porticoed Arcade via[:[X] And then does the exact same on the leftside of the Via [X]:]via[:[X]

    Now because the Via slopes down these [:[X] structures are made-up of stepped-down wide platforms ___----`````` so you can just step down from the elevated sloped Via and walk into the front arcade[: and into the building behind[:[X].

    What Nero did with them (high-end shops?) or intended to do with them is unknown they possibly even weren�t yet completely finished? Because 4yrs after the Fire Nero gets the Boot.

    Vespasian becomes Emperor 1.5yrs later after a Civil War where 3 others became the Emperor for a very short time.

    Vespasian makes the right bldg a seafood market (Horrea Vespasiani) with likely other functions and his later-Emperor Son (Domitian) made the one on the left a State owned Spice Warehouse (Horrea Piperataria).



    Ok behind the Medieval Arcade is the SW corner of this Basilica, the long southside of the Basilica runs 100m along the Left side of the straight Via Sacra path just beyond the trees.

    As you walk-up the path look into the trees on the Left for some ruins ~half-way (50m) up, a staircase and some displayed column fragments.
    These are from a 2nd entrance into the Basilica that we will later get to.

    You are walking dead-center of where Nero's 30m wide elevated Via Sacra once was so imagine the [X]:]via[:[X] Arcades and Bldgs 15m to each side of you.

    At the top of the path is a Church, just inside of it was where Nero's Via Sacra actually T'ed off left & right.

    So walk to the left of the Church to the Street/path takes you to the front of the Basilica. This street was columned for the Basilica.


    Begun in 306AD by Emperor Maxentius but the final finishing touches are completed by Emperor Constantine in 313AD after he had defeated Maxentius in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312AD.
    It was the last Pagan Roman Basilica built in Rome and the structure resembled the huge Roman Baths (Thermae) more than it did earlier Roman Basilicas.

    Actually we really don't know what Maxentius called his new Basilica but there is a theory.

    In the later Christian 'Liber Pontificalis' the Basilica is refered to as a Temple "Templum Urbis Romae" something like the 'Temple (for the) City (of) Rome'.
    So the Christians rename the Basilica building a "Temple".

    And "Romae" (Rome) is very possibly a Christian name change for the Maxentius' Basilica he possibly dedicated to 'Roma' who is the City's Pagan Protecting Goddess?

    Following along with the theory, the large Temple of Roma and Venus is right in front of this Basilica with the "Goddess Roma" half of the Temple facing this way with a large seated statue of the Goddess.
    It burned in the 307 Fire and Maxentius is still rebuilding it when in 306 he started building his Basilica.

    And the most logical place for the Basilica's elaborate front entrance would have been on the long (south) side facing the Via Sacra? But he builds the entrance facing this 'Roma Goddess Temple' (east)?

    As I said earlier Max is trying to preserve, premote and restore the Pagan ways against the growing Christianity.
    So it's very possible he named it the 'Basilica Urbis Roma' the 'City's Basilica (dedicated to Goddess) Roma'.

    In Medieval Times it was called the "Temple of Romulus" likely because of some decorative feature still visible in the Basilica related to the 'Romus & Remus & Wolf' legend.

    In the 625-638 Pope Honorius loots the roof's gilded bronze tiles to re-roof St. Peter's.

    In 847 an Earthquake caused the south Aisle and the Nave's roof to collapse likely caused by 2 centuries of the stripped roof being exposed to the elements and weaken.


    Ok you are now facing the eastern end of the Basilica and standing the original columned street.

    The Basilica is built upon a rectangular concrete foundation (96m x 65m) that also leveled-off the area and it was 35+m high at its center.

    NOTE; on the Right the street continues into an narrow open hallway (fenced-off) that runs alongside the Basilica's wall (on the hallway's right wall on the outside is a modern roof protecting a wall painting, date unknown).

    Then according to my excavation diagram it 90deg left and the Hallway runs along ~60% of the Basilica's outside Wall, then ~10% is missing but at ~80% my diagram shows stairs facing north.
    My guess is that the stairs go down to the "Via Carinae" I mentioned earlier next to the "Temple of Romulus" and this outer structure "Hallway" (likely once roofed-over) is a entrance/exit pedestrian path to the front entrance of the Basilica?

    Now back to the street you are standing on; From this street there were steps leading up to a columned Vestibule 8m deep which ran the entire width [```B```]v]|||.

    The vestibule had 5 entrances into the Basilica, 3 for the Center Nave and 1 each for the Aisles on each side of the Nave.�
    Enter into the Basilica from the center of the Vestibule and stop.

    Now journey back into Ancient Times...

    It's Oct, 28 312AD and you are a Pagan and you have just come back from cheering on Emperor Maxentius and his troops that were marching out of Rome to kick Constantine's butt.
    The Basilica is pretty much completed but the new Emperor Constantine will finish-up the final touches the following year with a few changes of his own.

    You have just entered the Basilica's Central Nave (Hall) and the 1st thing you notice centered in the opposite far end (west) wall is a 20m diameter { aspe {```B```] (an outwards semi-circular projection centered in a straight wall in this case).�

    And in this aspe is a Colossal ~15m seated statue of Maxentius.
    This type of statue was called a Acrolith where the head, hands and feet were finely sculptured marble but the rest of the statue is a wooden frame that forms the hidden body shape because the statue is dressed in clothes (big money saver).
    The head will soon be changed to that of Constantine.
    In 1486 statue remains were uncovered in this aspe and today the very large head, hand and foot are displayed in the courtyard of the Capitoline Hill (Conservatori) Museum.

    Now look to the right what see is 3 huge interconnected rooms (vaults) |_|_|_| 20.5m wide and 24m high that makes-up the entire north section of the Basilica and is called an AISLE.

    Now in your mind put the same exact |_||_|_| AISLE on the opposite leftside (south) of the Basilica, that south side is entirely missing (destroyed in the 847 earthquake).

    Now walk-over to the middle of that missing leftside Aisle so you are now standing where the missing middle vault/room once was and look to the opposite intact side.

    They call these 3 (side rooms) Vaults that form an Aisle which are wide open to the large Central Nave (Hall).

    On each side of these rooms there were 4 fluted columns (15.5m) running the length of the Aisle that supported the Nave's 3 seperate sections of a concrete vaulted roof 35m high. (now totally gone but there is a hunk of it in the center of the Nave).

    You can see some of the marble remains of the column's Corinthian Capitals high-up of the 1st 3 esp the 1st one in the far right corner.

    One of the missing columns was placed in the Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore in 1614 with a statue of the Virgin Mary on top.
    The ancient Romans looted obelisks from Eqypt and the Christians later re-looted them to be reused elsewhere (like St. Peter's Sq.) but they have run-out of obelisks so now they are using columns instead:-).

    The Floor in the Nave and 6 rooms was a pattern of squares with circles and diamond-shapes made-up of multi-colored marble rather like the Pantheon's floor.
    The Nave's walls were faced with a marble veneer and the rooms with a gilded stucco finish.

    Now Constantine comes along in 312-3AD and changes the middle rooms/vaults in each of the 2 Aisles.

    All 6 vaults have a square rear wall with 6 large windows in 2 rows of 3 for Sunlight.
    But in the middle room on the intact north side he knocks-down the square wall and replaces it with a semi-circular Apse ) wall with no windows.

    In the back of this Apse is a large niche with a base where Constantine puts a standing statue of himself.
    Guessing here; At the top of this niche are 2 supporting brackets perhaps for a narrow ornamental roof over the statue?
    And above that a rectangular niche perhaps for a marble inscription to Constantine?

    On each side of that large niche are 8 smaller niches (2 rows of 4) perhaps (historian's guess) something for his relatives and/or powerful VIP officials? And a few other niches higher up.

    Along the base of the 8 lower niches are projecting support brackets for a line of marble seats that had a few steps leading up to the seats.
    And the Aspe has 6-sided hexagonal coffers in the ceiling.

    And now this room also has large wooden doors or marble screens installed. Government and commerical business was done in the Basilica and the 'Prefect of the City' (highest imperial official below the Emperor) had his office in the Basilica and it's believed it was possibly there.

    Or this Apse room was used for a Tribunal (A specific Court. Perhaps in this case being based in the Basilica it was for Government/Public and/or Commerical business disputes?).

    The doors could be closed while conducting official business if need be (like US Mayors say "My door is always open to the Public"... except when I've got some 'Wheeling & Dealing' to do.
    Or if in the other case for closed Tribunal sessions).

    And in the (imaginary) middle room of the south side you are standing in.
    The rear wall is removed and 3 double doorways are put in its place.
    The doorways open-out to a porch whose roof is held-up by 4 (porphyry) Columns and a monumental staircase leads down to the Via Sacra.

    So the Basilica now has a 2nd beautiful entrance and the effect here is when you enter the 1st thing you see is the standing statue of Constantine in the opposite room/vault.

    Also look over the wall to view the ruins again of the porch area, staircase and column fragments that you 1st viewed from the Via Sacra.

    Now walk-over to the left (west) end of the building where the Apse with the Colossal seated Statue + was located {+```B```]v]|||.
    And look over the wall to the ground below, that is the sidestreet I mentioned twice earlier on the side of the Temple of Romulus� that leads to the Rich Carinae neighborhood.

    This street�s passageway that cut-thru the Basilica�s foundations are to the right (unseen) but it is an arch-shaped 4m wide and 15m long passage.

    In the Middle Ages this passageway was called the �Arco di Latrone�. "Latrone" means �men who have nothing to lose� so a dangerous place and I assume a very good place to get mugged or to hire the local bad guys:-).

    In the wall of the building across this street which is now the basement level of the Church of Cosma and Damiano which was once the ancient street�s groundlevel for the �Audience Hall� in the Temple/Forum of Peace you can see a partial white marble or travertine doorway (~2mx3m) that was walled up.

    I assume this was just a street side-door into the Audience Hall in 71-5AD and that it wasn't practical for anything (a church sidedoor?) when the 1st church was built there in 527 or if not possibly walled-up for the wall's structural support for later heavier churches built on top over the older church?

    Ok now, walk back to the entrance but past the northside's intact Aisle Vaults for a closer more detailed look inside.

    And now back at the entrance where you 1st entered -stop- and try and picture this Basilica with its beautiful multi-colored marble floor, walls in bright white marble veneer, the 6 vaults in painted stucco, a deep coffered ceiling in hexagonal and octagonal shapes likely painted with designs or gilted in them, the massive 35m roof held-up by 8 large fluted beautiful columns, statues and decorations all around, sunlight streaming in thru large windows in the vaulted roof's sides and thru the windows of the 6 Vaults.
    It's now the most beautiful building in the Roman Forum.
    Built by the last Pagan Emperor from a long secessive line of Pagan Emperors, Senate Consuls, Dictators and Kings going back over a 1000 Years but it will be completed by the 1st Christian Emperor.

    So still a Pagan you leave here in Oct, 28 312AD with your business complete you wonder how Emperor Maxentius made-out with his battle with Constantine outside the Walls of Rome.

    "Ahh... What could possibly be the big deal no matter who wins or loses 'Nothing Ever Changes', Rome's been though 3 dozen Emperors and Emperor 'wantabees' in the last 100yrs and very, very few died of natural causes."

    What you don't realize on that day as you leave is that it's the beginning of Pagan Rome's 'Swan Song' and in 82yrs the Christians will close-down Rome's last Pagan Temple (Vestal) and Paganism is officially Outlawed.

    Ok, Just a location tidbit and nothing to see. Somewhere beneath the Basilica's Left (North) side because it would not have been destroyed by Domition's warehouse market ~80's AD there was a aristocratic House.
    ~90yrs later in the 170'sAD it's recorded that the famous Greek Physician Galen lived there.
    His old house was still there in 306AD but it is destroyed to construct this Basilica.

    CLAUDIUS GALEN (AD 129 - AD 216)�
    Was the most famous doctor in the Roman Empire, today if we hear about him in documentries or articles it's as the 'headline grabbing' "Doctor of the Gladiators".
    Which he was but it was his 1st job after "graduating" where he was the Chief Physician to the gladiator school in Pergamum.
    Not doubt there he learned ALOT about the inner body, I guess slashing swords would give him alot of chances:-).
    He set his sights on ROME and with his skills, knowledge, self-pushed PR and ancient networking he became well known in the City.
    He hauled butt outta Rome during a Plague outbreak (168-9) but on his return he later became the Personal Physician of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Emperor Commodus and Septimius Severius.
    He was a great believer in experimental investigation like animal dissection to help doctors to improve their skills.
    He learned alot and discovered alot and was considered "The Man" in Medicine until the Renaissance when it was discovered he also got alot wrong but still was "The Man".

    Some of his Big Time discoveries were;
    Urine is formed in the kidneys and not in the bladder as always thought.
    He ID'ed 7 of the 12 cranial nerves.
    Discovered that the heart has valves.
    TB is contagious and caught from others.
    You can get Rabies from dog bites.
    And a biggie, Arteries don't really carry the air you breathe as always thought, they carry your blood:-)
    But the main thing credited to him even today is that he invented the technique of taking a person's pulse to help in the Doctor's diagnosis of a patient.

  • Report Abuse

    #32. ARCH OF TITUS

    Ok as you leave the Basilica of Maxentius you see the side of the Church that you had to go around the front of and I told you that Nero's Via Sacra T'ed 90deg right to the Arch of Titus and you are on the leftside of the T now.

    The rear section of the Church (S. Francesca Romana) is incorporated into a larger building which was the church's cloister that now houses the Roman Forum Museum.

    This combined structure occupies ~25% of the front left (NW) corner ^ of the long rectangular platform of Emperor Hadrain's (~135AD) 'Temple of Venus and Roma' [^```].

    This is where Nero built (~64+AD) his very Large Vestibule for his HUGE �Domus Aurea� (Golden House complex) with a porticoed walkway from his Palatine Hill [P]alace to this [V]estibule where it continued straight-on (north) along the top of the Velia ====[V]====[P] to the otherside of the modern Via d. F. Imperiali where it 90deg right (east) past the later Colosseum.

    This is ~1mile and the complex still contined on basically to form a huge rectangular with the Colosseum area as a *huge* artifical lake+ like and Atrium for his �Golden House�. [`+`p`] ������

    I am going to skip this site for now for 2 reasons, 1 it isn't considered part of the Roman Forum and 2 I'd like to stay with the continuing Via Sacra route.
    Although Nero did make the Via Sacra straight and then T at the Vestibule's steps.

    But you are only going to be a stone's throw away from it so backtracking is not a big deal and I will put the Temple Venus/Roma at the end.


    Ok now again walk-around the front of the Church [t] to the otherside and Stop.
    You x are now where Nero's Via Sacra has 90deg turned and heads south just to the right of the |```| Arch ==[t]x__|```|__
    And somewhere below groundlevel the Via Sacra dirt path joined-up (Arch area) with another dirt path that lead up to the top of the (P)alatine Hill where Rome�s 1st inhabitants lived. ==[t]x__|```|___(P)

    I guess it�s a safe bet to imagine there were at least 2 other paths that converged here on this Velia Ridge, 1 going east (Colosseum side), 1 going north along the top of the Ridge to the Esquiline Hill and the other the Via Sacra going down ~45deg to the Roman Forum marsh area. +---(P).

    Now we are back-on Nero�s post-64 porticoed and roofed Via Sacra section which ran from his Vestibule to the Arch area where the porticoed/roofed Via then continued up the Palatine Hill right to his Palace on the top.

    At the Arch area the street named �Via Sacra� changes to another ancient named �Via (?)� street but we don�t know what it was called.
    In modern Times it was named the �Clivus Palatinus�, �Clivus� was what ancient Romans called streets that went up a hill (�ascending street� to the Palatine).


    Ok now, see the long row of a ~half-dozen of steps that run from the Church to the Arch, walk-over to them and notice just past them is a small 1-story vestibule-like building tucked into a corner of the much larger/taller clostier building, that is the entrance to the Roman Forum Museum.

    Now walk along the steps over to the Arch and look for etched gameboards on them (mostly at the beginning and end of the steps).

    And when you get to the end of the steps face the Roman Forum and just in front of you, you will see the original pre-64AD Via Sacra, remember the one that branched-off earlier next to the 'Sacellum of Bacchus' |/.


    ARCH OF TITUS (Arcus Titi)

    This a single passage 'Triumphal Arch'
    dedicated to Emperor Titus after his death in 81AD.

    His father was Emperor Vespasian (69-79) upon his father's death Titus became Emperor for only 2yrs before he died of some unknown cause (disease or natural) and then his brother Domitian became Emperor and built this Arch to his brother.

    In 67AD Titius' (General) Father is sent to Judea to quell the 'First Jewish-Roman War' (66-70).
    A short time later Titus arrives to be his Father's 2nd in Command.

    In 69AD his father is called back to Rome to become Emperor after a brief Civil War with 3 other Generals all becoming very short-Lived Emperors in 1.5yrs after Nero became 'Public Enemy #1' and committed suicide.

    With Titus now in Command he besieges Jerusalem (70) which leads to its conquest where he razed the Jewish Temple, looted the Temple & City, then burned it all to the ground and killed and enslaved the inhabitants.

    This Arch commemorates Titus' final victory at Jerusalem and its reliefs show the Triumph (military parade) through Rome that Titus had with his now Emperor Father in 71AD.


    I want to relate 2 seperate sad stories about Titus, his Lost Love and his Death and let you decide IF they are related?

    During the '1st Jewish-Roman War' many of the Jewish people oppose this Rebellion and only want Peace esp the Upper and Ruling Class.
    So they flee to the Romans areas for protection.
    One of these people is the Jewish 'Roman Client Queen' Berenice with her Client-King brother Agrippa II.
    Both are unmarried so she is Queen by co-ruling with her brother.

    Titus arrives in 67AD and where he meets Berenice and they begin a Passionate Love Affair.

    In 69 Vespasian leaves Judea to become Rome's new Emperor.

    In 70AD Titus wins the War and in 71 returns to Rome alone.

    It's believed that political pressure was put on his Emperor Father not to allow the Berenice to accompany Titus back to Rome (Heir to the Throne & Jewish Foreign Queen are not a good match politically & publicly).
    Plus it's right after the Jewish Rebellion with harsh feelings about it among the Roman People.

    But 4yrs later (75) Berenice comes to Rome where She and Titus resume their Passionate Love Affair.
    They live in the Royal Palace and she is treated and acts just like a Roman Empress.

    "...and his notorious passion for queen Berenice, to whom it was even said that he promised marriage."

    But public opinion is growing against her and she is even publicly rediculed in the theatre.
    Add in anti-Semitism, xenophopia and fears by the Roman People she could become a 'Cleopatra' who with Marc Antony plunged Rome into Civil War.

    So with the mounting negative Public opinions and the Political pressure it's very likely Emperor Vespasian ordered his Son to send her back home to Judea.

    In 79AD Emperor Vespasian dies and Titus becomes Emperor.
    Berenice quickly returns to Rome on her own with her brother.

    Titus is now Emperor and he will be expected to marry an aristocratic ROMAN woman who hopefully will bear him a son and future Heir to the Throne. This is Titus' *Duty* to the Roman Empire and its People!

    "Berenice he sent from Rome at
    once, against her will and against his own."

    Titus is Emperor for just over 2yrs and then he dies with these last words.

    "There was no act of my life of which has cause to repent, save one only."


    "Then at the very first stopping place (outside of Rome) he was seized with a fever, and as he was being carried on from there in a litter, it is said that he pushed back the curtains, looked up to heaven, and lamented bitterly that his life was being taken from him contrary to his deserts; for he said that there was no act of his life of which he had cause to repent, save one only.
    What this was he did not himself disclose at the time, nor could anyone easily divine."


    The Arch seems to have survived intact into Medieval Times but powerful families are making ancient monuments into fortresses with a big chunk of land around it surrounded by high walls and they battling with each other.

    The Colosseum becomes the Frangipane Family's castle with the Arch of Constantine and the the Arch of Titus used as Gates into their walled-in compound.

    In the 12th and 13thC heavy fighting badly damages the outside of this Arch-Gate that faces the Forum.

    Latter building are built around it using the Arch as part of these structures (the Arch's attic is hollow and used as a room in one of these buildings).

    In 1821 Pope Pius VII orders the Arch to be restored by Giuseppe Valadier, the surrounding buildings are removed and the Arch is somewhat dismantled and reassembled using was is marble original along with new made travertine sections and pieces which are Whiter.
    The badly missing Forum (west) side is almost totally built with new travertine sections.

    Basically the just section around the passageway and the bottom halves of the fluted columns on eachside of the passageway and the base for the right column are the only remaining original sections.

    It's very easy to spot the original vs new sections in the Arch by color and lack of detail in the replacements (like the new upper column halves aren't fluted).

    And the Arch's both sides are almost completely built with the newer travertine sections.

    And the new inscription on the Forum side commemorates the 1821 restoration; "(This) monument, remarkable in terms of both religion and art, had weakened from age: Pius the Seventh, Supreme Pontiff, by new works on the model of the ancient exemplar ordered it reinforced and preserved. In the year of his sacred rulership the 24th".

    Fortunately the central passageway with the reliefs is all original.

    Remember the Room I mentioned in the Arch's Attic well this is what the 1880's archaeologists discovered there:-).
    "A few months ago the hiding-place of a daring pickpocket was discovered right in the attic-room of the arch of Titus, together with many ancient marble heads and fragments,..." (That he had looted from the excavations in the night).

    In the Middle Ages the arch is called the "Arch of the 7 Lamps' because of the Jewish Temple's looted Menorah Relief in the central passageway.

    And the Jewish tradition since the Arch was 1st built is never to pass through it "To avoid paying homage to HE that destroyed Jerusalem (Temple)".

    But when the Jewish 'State of Israel' was founded in 1948 Rome's Jewish community rushed to the Arch to 'pass through it' in celebration.


    Ok on the Arch's Forum side notice that the Forum excavators dug past the Arch's 80'sAD streetlevel because you can see the concrete foundation the Arch was built upon.

    With this side almost totally newly rebuilt it's better to view the Arch from the Colosseum side (east) which is alot more original.


    Here the inscriptions reads;
    "Senatus Populusque Romanus divo Tito divo Vespasiani f(ilio) Vespasiano Augusto"
    (The senate and people of Rome to the divine Titus, son of the divine Vespasian, Vespasianus Augustus).

    Because it says "divo" (divine) we know that person was dead and then made into a god by the Senate.

    The really humorous thing about this inscription is; Emperor Domition had to kiss alot of Senator's butts to get his late father and brother Defied and it seems make some major concessions in the inscription.

    A person like an Emperor living, dead, defied or not would ALWAYS get the 'Top Billing' and at the very end S.P.Q.R. ('Senatus Populusque Romanus' meaning 'From the Senate and the People of Rome').
    But Here! SENATUS gets the top line all to its self plus in larger and bolder Letters.

    Also a mention of the reigning Emperor would have likely been squeezed-in but not in this case.
    Good thing though because after Domitian is assassinated (96) the Senate orders his statues destroyed and all his inscriptions erased.

    Below the inscription and just above the passageway structure is the narrow Freize ====== It shows civilian and military men walking in a procession with animals being taken to sacrifice. On the frieze's far left is shows men carrying a reclining man who is representing the 'River God of the Jordon'.

    Below the frieze is the arched passageway's protruding Keystone (center-top) with a figure of Roma (or Virtus).

    On eachside of the keystone is a tilted triangular section (spandrel) with winged Victories (look like winged female angels).

    In the vaulted passageway's roof are two famous Reliefs on eachside showing the 71AD Triumph (military parade) of Titus and his father celebrating their military victory over Judea.

    The most famous is on the Leftside (south)
    showing the looted War spoils from the 'Temple of Jerusalem'; The 'Golden'Table', 'Silver Trumpets', and the most famous 'The Gold Seven-Branched Menonah'. �

    On the Rightside (north); Titus standing in a 4 horse Chariot (quadriga) being lead by the Goddess Roma and the Goddess Victory crowning Titus with a laurel wreath while passing through a Triumphal Arch.

    The men you see carrying something that looks like this >[````]< on a pole, those are Signs telling the People along the parade route what cities the following was captured from or what it was (like today either banners are carried in front of a marching band or on the side of floats).

    On eachside of the passageway's fluted columns is a window-like niche, I assume these were for either marble or bronze inscriptions?


    The MENORAH taken from the 'Temple of Jerusalem' is solid gold mounted on a gold stepped base.

    Later it and the other Temple Vessels are displayed in Vespasian's 'Temple of Peace'.
    In 455 its taken in the Vandals invasion of Rome and brought to Carthage, in 533 a Byzantine General recaptures it and brings it to Constantinople and parades in his Triumph.
    And then it is lost forever.

    "There followed those pageants [of captives] a great number of ships; and for the other spoils, they were carried in great plenty. But for those that were taken in the Temple of Jerusalem, they made the greatest figure of them all; that is, the golden table, of the weight of many talents; the candlestick (Menorah) also, that was made of gold, . . . and the last of all the spoils was carried the Law of the Jews."

    ("...Law of the Jews"; The 'Torah' which Josephus claims Titus kept in his Royal Palace along with the "Purple Veils of the Holy Place" as his 'War Trophies')

  • Report Abuse


    Ok still standing at the Arch of Titus' eastside, turn around and face towards the Colosseum.

    That paved Via you are standing on that goes through the Arch slopes downhill off the Velia ridge to the Colosseum area.

    Pre-64 Fire that Via wasn't there and this area of the slope had Aristocratic Homes on it.

    The Via is built later possibly(?) by Vespasian (69-79) when he gave the areas Nero Seized for his 'Golden House' back to the People for public useage but it was definitely there when the Arch was built and it could have been built by his son Domition along with the Arch.

    I read one theory that because the original Via Sacra ended at the Arch Area this new section was just considered an extension of the Via Sacra and called that?

    And when those homes were there, there was only a small minor footpath leading up to this area.

    At the lower right (south) area of this Via excavations were carried out just a few years ago (~2007+/-).
    Emperor Augustus' birth home (63BC) was discovered there and also a shop where Emperor Maxentius' Imperial Standards were found hidden beneath the floor.
    Possibly when the 1st reports came back that Constantine had beaten and killed Maxentius his loyal Guards in his Palatine Palace took and hid them here so Constantine couldn't get them?


    Ok now walk back to the Forum-side (west) of the Arch and face the Forum.

    Look 45deg to the Left and a few steps away there is a street that parallels the base of the Palatine Hill on the left and the Roman Forum on the Right.

    That street is called the 'VIA NOVA' (Nova Via or 'New Way') and dates to the original dirt-path Via Sacra times.

    And right-up until Imperial Times (post-27BC) these were the only 2 streets known as a 'Via' (Way), then the term took-on a general meaning for a street.

    The original dirt-path route went down the Velabrum where the stream from the "Roman Forum area" Marsh drained south to the Circus Maximus area, where the later 'Vicus Tuscus' was built which we were on a while back in the Walk.

    Being on the Hill's slope and starting from the higher Velia ridge the later paved Via needed steps at the end and to any lower Forum-side entrance/exits.

    Also at that end (on the left) there was a staircase up to a higher slope Palatine Hill access street 'Clivus Victoriae' and on the right of the Via Nova there was a Stair/Ramp down to the Forum (I mentioned it earlier on the westside of the Temple and House of the Vestals).

    So the Via Nova goes from the Arch area |A|++ to an intersecting staircase/ramp ==\\ and then down stairs to the Vicus Tucus =_||. |A|++===\\=_||�

    This Via Nova dates to Nero's Era and had many shops on the Palatine side some were 2-story where the owner lived above, look for holes in the walls for wooden floor beam supports [���].

    The Forum side would have access stairs and there was a small street that ran alongside the west-end of the Vestals House to the Via Sacra and the Vestals also had a private entrance onto the Via Nova.


    Ok still standing with the Arch behind you facing the Forum (west) look at that long low ugly concrete and flint-chip wall-type ruin running left to right (mostly right) which is right in front of you and to the right.

    Walk over to it and turn and face right
    (north) towards the Basilica of Maxentius.

    [This next area I describe is basically in front of that half-dozen long line of steps that go from the side of the church over to the Arch ~25m [Arch======Church]

    That is the concrete foundation of Nero's columned & roofed elevated Via Sacra and there would have been another parallel section like this to your right (east-Colosseum side) some meters away ||`````|| but that side�s long gone so we don�t know the width it was here but remember the earlier mentioned section from the Forum was 30m wide at this eastern end.

    Ok walk along it a few meters to where it ends right where the original pre-64AD Via Sacra is (the path people are walking on).

    On the otherside of this narrow path the wall continues ==||= into the bush/trees but just on the otherside of this (hidden from view here) this wall connects with the Via foundation wall that 90deg left turns (the T) where Nero's Via headed straight down to the Roman Forum (same straight section you walked-up earlier to the Basilica).

    Now look down the Via and you will see that straight foundation wall section on the otherside of the end of the bush/trees.

    [Bottom of page has my guess on what the wall foundation's 'Void' between the 'walls' was filled-in with]



    Now here the original Via Sacra goes downhill but directly in front of you is a large rectangular LEVEL grass/dirt area [X] from the Via Sacra // over to the Via Nova || (on left) ||[X]//

    As you enter it on the Left is a statue base, I have in my notes it's inscribed with 'Maxientio' I assume I either just misspelled 'Maxentius' or that's actually what is inscribed?

    If would be odd and rare for it to survive because Constantine erased all of Maxentius' inscriptions? Plus it would have value today as a rarity and in a museum I'd imagine?


    This large level rectangular area and the large (but lower) retangular fenced-off area behind it stretches-over to the House of the Vestals [X][X][V].

    This is that large stepped-down platform Nero built although it's believed he didn't finish the actual building structure itself before his death.
    The structure is called a Porticus and would have interior rows of columns or piers supporting the roof [:::::].
    In this Nero case it had an Arcade (portico) fronting the Via Sacra also ||[:[:::::]

    What Nero intended to do with it is unknown but perhaps a large mall for high-end shops (gold, jewelry, etc).

    Emperor Vespasian finished it and turned it into a Seafood Market (Archaeologists discovered several stone basin fishtanks and alot of shells were found in the drainage pipes) with very likely other shops more geared to the Common People's.

    But lets start at the Beginning 753BC;

    This is just the westside of the Velia ridge used only as a cemetery because it's uninhabitable due to the near-by (Roman Forum) diseased Marsh.
    But there is a dirt path down to the Marsh that can be visited in daylight hours (no mosquitoes).

    In the 700's-500's BC a Palatine Hill defensive Wall is 1st built with 2 later rebuilds on the leftside (south) of this rectangular area (Wall remains are below groundlevel now).

    It's modernly called the 'Wall of Romulus' but likely post-dates that era (The archaeologists 1st dated it to mid-600's but years after he redated it to mid-750's with a Romulus-era connection which was now happening *quite a bit* and getting good press coverage?).

    ~520BC The defensive wall is removed and the sloped land is terraced and large aristocratic homes (2 have been excavated 60x40m, 1 of them had street-facing shops with a passageway into a garden courtyard (Atrium) with an Impluvium/cistern and 3 rear rooms).

    ~400yrs later both homes (likely after a few reconstructions) are destroyed by fire, they are replaced with more smaller but multi-story homes in the area.

    Another fire 70'sBC burns down a house but it is reconstructed (our house of interest here).
    64AD Fire burns-down all of the houses in this area.

    Post-64AD Nero levels this land and puts his huge arcaded porticus structures on the 2 different level platforms ---___ that covers this entire area Via Nova to the new Via Sacra and from where you entered this area over to the House of the Vestals.

    69-79AD Vespasian turns these 2 platforms into the HORREA VESPASIANI.

    117-138AD Emperor Hadrian turns this 1st Horrea platrorm section into his 'Headquarters of the Imperial Administration'.

    The Horrea structure lasts into the 5C (400's) with only minor alterations.

    What we see today are brick and concrete remains from the 400-500'sAD and nothing from the original structure.

    So it was very likely removed after 400yrs +/- and new structures were built on the old original platform foundation?

    Ok now enter the 1st highest rectangular "platform" and the only one we can access.

    HORREA means a Warehouse storage area that can used for many things, like a granary, foodstuffs, spices, paper, wax, public storage spaces, etc.

    They can also store and sell things so a Warehouse marketplace in this case.

    In this Horrea platform section as I earlier mentioned was a 'Seafood Market'.
    (What the 2nd lower platform sold or was used for is unknown.)

    So pre-64AD Fire this area has rich aristocratic Houses.

    One house's basement was excavated and it is to your left as you enter (SE corner).

    The basement is now below groundlevel and what you now see are the much later (4-500'sAD) brick-faced concrete structures that was built over the Horrea (this structure is also protected by a modern roof).

    This house was ~28x28m multi-storied (3, 4?) with its front entrance facing the (future) Arch of Titus.

    The basement was entered by stairs near the front entrance.

    It has 50 very small rooms just large enough for a stone bench bed these were the Slave's rooms (cells).
    Their floors were simple, cheap travertine chip mosaics.

    There was also a small 'Shrine to Lares' (this household's God) and thermal baths with black and white mosaic floors in this basement.


    According to the early archaeogists, the 'Oxford Archaeological Guide' and 'The Roman Forum' guidebook put out by 'Soprintendenza Archeologica di Roma' based on this House's location and the various building phases it's gone through it's a good possible candidate for it to be *THE*;


    He constructed this house in 74BC after a fire.
    58BC as 'Curule Aedile" he also in charge of the 'Games' (public entertainment) he imports 360 columns to be used in a wooden temporary theatre that will seat 80,000!

    Oddly enough 4 of these 38RF columns end-up being used to embellish his own courtyard:-). (These columns are so nice in 17BC they are removed and used to decorate the stage of the 'Theatre of Marcellus').

    Under General Pompey (74-61 War) he's sent to Judea to settle a quarrel between two leaders, he rules in favor of the one that offered the most money.

    In a later campaign he's bribed by a King.

    58BC His Games were the most magnificence ever seen in Rome with never before-seen animals, a man-made lake is built with crocodiles and hippopotamuses and a huge animal skeleton of something that they claimed was a mythical monster.

    In 56 Scaurus he is a Praetor.

    55-54 the Governor of Sardinia.

    On returning to Rome he's charged with extortion while he was a Governor.
    Guilty as Hell but Cicero gets him off.

    In 53 he's charged with illegal
    campaigning when he was running for the Consulship.

    He sells his house to CLODIUS and goes into Exile.

    'Publius CLODIUS Pulcher;

    68BC Clodius starts a mutiny.

    64BC Plots with the Prosecutor against Cataline.

    62BC Disguises himself as a woman to go to the Women-Only 'Bona Dea' Rites which is in Julius Caesar's (Pontifex Maximus) Domus Publica's Home but he is spotted.
    Rumors start that he had an sexual encounter with JC's wife (Pompeia) while there and/or was the reason he went.

    Even though only BS rumors JC divorces his wife with these words "Caesar's wife must be above suspicion".
    And JC doesn't seem to be broken-up this divorce one bit?

    Cirero is the Prosecutor for this 'Bona Dea' sacrilege but Clodius bribes the jurors and is acquited. �

    59BC JC helps Clodius become a member of the 'Plebian Party' (told ya JC wasn't broken-up) which will open the door for him to run against Cicero for Tribune.

    58 BC He bribes the People with free food and gets elected Tribune.

    Passes a Law against putting to death a Roman citizen without a Trial which Cicero did with the Cataline Conspirators because Cicero believed traitors lose their citizenship rights.
    This forced Cicero into voluntary exile to avoid persecution.

    Clodius has Rome pretty much under his political control, he also has a gang should problems arise that need a "special touch".

    But later he messes-up Big Time by allowing the Armenian King's son to escape which put Pompey's life on the line.

    After this he loses JC's powerful backing he and his political crew of armed ruffians and secret societies violently street battle with their political opposition lead by 'Titus Annius MILO".

    On January 18, 52 BC Milo and his boys have a run-in with Clodius and his boys on the Via Appia and Milo kills Clodius who was running for Praetorship at the time.

    His body was waked in his House and vast numbers of his supporters come and pay their respects.

    Well somewhere in this timeline the frenzied Mob takes his body to the Senate House to cremate it on a funeral pyre in front of or IN the Senate House.
    Either way the Senate House burns down which is why 8yrs later JC is assassinated in the Curia Pompey and not in the Roman Forum's Senate House which he is rebuilding at the time.

    Cicero publicly defends Milo's actions in a speech called "Pro Milone".

    Also in those times Clodius has burned down Cicero's house and his brother's house and had once publicly assaulted Cicero.


    This is my guess for Nero's elevated Via; You build 2 parallel foundation 1-2m walls X number of meters apart |`````| with a large empty void between them.

    Now you have *ALOT* of the burned-down buildings (houses, shops, etc) RUBBLE after the Fire you *Must* get rid off in order to rebuild and carting it away is cost and labor intensive.

    Now fill the void with the RUBBLE and top it with a thin layer of concrete, you now have a solid foundation up to 30m wide without the cost and labor of filling the void with all concrete? This is exactly what the Romans do with burned down buildings, temples, etc that they want to rebuild over, fill any voids with rubble.

    That is why I think those 2 short sections of the large *solid* concrete outer walls just happened to have survived most were taken out intentionally.
    The larger weaker voids that might have disappeared in later Roman times for new structures or in Medieval Times used as building materials to fill-in their voids or to mix in with concrete as rubble, exposed to the elements for centuries and just now loose rubble it was removed by the archaeologists whose main goal was to get to the Augustus Era levels?

  • Report Abuse

    [This site was closed for 26yrs and finally reopened in 2011, I have never entered the site and have only viewed it from the outside so I don't have any little tidbits about what I saw up-close inside.]


    Ok, I know I'm boring you to tears with my rambling-on about Nero's Via Sacra:-).

    But too me this is a very important site and period in the Roman Forum's history and also for the Rome Empire.

    Nero and his personal building projects $$$, the 'Golden House' (Domus Aurea) and his new Via $acra had alot to do with him getting the Boot.

    And this land he took in the Forum area after the Fire changed it forever and it will never again be a residental area for the rich elite.

    And this will be my Last mention of Nero's Via Sacra:-).

    1000's of people will walk though this area today but you will be 1 of the very, very few that will understand what it is and what it once looked like:-).

    This is a report on what the archaeologists discovered on this straight, wide Via from the Forum to his 'Golden House' (Domus Aurea) Vestibule that later becomes the 'Temple of Venus and Roma'.

    'American Journal of Archaeology'
    Vol.�27, No.�4 (Oct.-Dec.�1923), pp383-424 "Text and images are in the public domain."


    "Beyond the small area in front of the Regia, however, the street assumed its true proportions, being 29.50�to�30�m, that is 100�Roman feet, in width from building to building.
    Although the remains of the Via proper are very fragmentary in general, it is clear that it consisted originally of a wide space paved with selce with one or two steps on either side of it leading up to a�broad sidewalk, or crepido, from which, in their turn, three or four steps led to the lofty arcades above."

    So it's 30m wide "paved with selce" which is Basalt, a volcanic Lava rock that they pave their Via's with and that you have walked-on in this tour [``````]. (Tomb of Caecilia Metella on the Via Appia Antica has in its museum an excavated area that shows how they mined this from the bedrock to pave the Via Appia) �

    "with one or two steps on either side of it" So this 30m wide paved section is elevated with 1 or 2 steps up to it ||. ||[``````]|| "leading up to broad sidewalk, or crepido,"

    And as we will see these are 2 sidewalks on *each side* of a center higher structure. ||[|*|```|*|]||

    "from which, in their turn, three or four steps led to the lofty Arcades above."

    So we have a sidewalk on each side with 3-4 steps up to another center sidewalk that is an "Arcade" (an arched or covered passageway).

    So now try to imagine this 30m wide Via with the 3 sidewalks with the central higher one with 2 rows of columns supporting a roof. _|T|_

    That is one beautiful and very cool Via:-).



    Ok walk back-over to the front of the 'S. Francesca Romana' Church next to the Basilica Maxentius.

    Now we know this Nero Via Sacra is 30m wide here and because we found those 2 sections (1 North-South, 1 East-West) of the Via's foundation walls we know the Via did that 'T' at the Church's Facade and inside the Church's interior {-|````].

    So imagine the Church is gone and walk to the 'T' (the Right Via goes to Nero's Palatine Hill and the Left Via goes past the modern Via d. F. Imperiale to the slope of the Esquiline Hill and then 90deg right (east) |___t___[palace].

    Now behind that T facing the Colosseum Nero builts a large platform |___[``]___[palace].

    He surrounds this platform [``] with a columned portico and in the center :[+]: a Colossal (100-120ft ~32m+) bronze statue of himself facing east (Colossus Neronis).

    This is the Vestibule of Nero's 'Domus Aurea's VAST complex with the elaborate Via Sacra leading right up to it.

    For its size imagine this.

    Figure the distance of where you are --> over to the *Center* of the Colosseum ->[---O

    Now add-on the same distance beyond the Colosseum [---O---] and also to the left and right of the Colosseum.

    This Whole area Nero has taken-over as is own personal private Complex.

    Where the Colosseum now stands there was Huge man-made rectangular Lake (larger than the Colosseum) and around the Lake were fields, pastures, woodland, vineyards with wild and domesticated animals.

    The effect was a 'countryside setting in the city', surrounded by his overlooking Palace, porticoed walkways, another elaborate 2-level palace-like building (~250 small rooms?, 142 have been excavated) in the opposite NE corner from his SW corner Palace and this Vestibule is centered with HIS Colossal statue high above overlooking all this.

    [For Suetonius' comments on Nero's 'Golden House' see bottom of page]

    Good news for Nero as he stated; "I'm at last beginning to be housed like a human being."

    Bad news for the Public; His 'Golden House' is off-limits to the THEM, they must now go around this vast area in the center of the city and this end of the Roman Forum is entirely blocked-off.

    Before this somewhere in this Vestibule area or to the left of it there was an old paved Via that *always* lead into the Roman Forum from the Colosseum area.
    But that Via is now MIA and the Public isn't too pleased about it and alot of other things Nero has done!

    Nero commits suicide (68), Emperor Vespasian takes-over (69) and reopens this complex to a very Thankful Public.

    He then fills-in Nero's huge man-made Lake and builts the Colosseum over it for the Peoples' entertainment.

    He adds a 'Crown of Sunrays' to Nero's statue and renames it 'Colossus Solis' after the Roman Sun God 'Sol Invictus'.

    The Vestibule and its Colossal Statue were there for ~60 years... Until.



    Hadrian becomes Emperor (117-138AD).

    In 121 Hadrian vows to build a Temple to the Goddesses Venus and Roma, it's completed in 135 and the finishing touches were possibly completed by Emperor Antoninus after 138.

    Hadrian is very good architect and designs this massive temple complex and plans to build it where the smaller Nero Vestibule is located and well beyond.

    1st Problem is the 100ft+ Sun God Statue.

    Roman Gods and Goddesses do not play well together so they *never* share a temple.

    Just imagine if they did and you gave one a nice Sacrifical Offering but not the other! The other one's going to get really ticked-off and get Vengence on you:-).

    Hadrian is going to have 2 Goddesses in this complex *but* their Temples are Back-to-Back and completely seperated from each other, 1 facing east and the other facing west {roma][venus} but he still has a 100ft+ Sun God to get rid off!

    The Statue is high-up on the Velia ridge and Hadrian wants it moved below next to the Colosseum.

    They build a ramp down and get the intact *standing* statue off its base, down the ramp and onto its new base (7m sq) just a bit NW of the Colosseum with a team of 24 elephants pulling it. That's hard enough to imagine doing on a level plane and they did it going downhill!

    And although I find this incredible to believe the 'Blue Guide Rome' saids "'s the largest bronze statue made (it had a CONCRETE core):" Which was then gilted in bronze.

    Romans move large stone obelisks all the time but they lay them down 1st, move them and then re-erect them *but* a standing 100ft+ concrete statue... WOW!

    The statue is later changed to Hercules by Emperor Commodus (180-193) who thinks he's Hercules and even dresses the part sometimes at public events (he's the bad Emperor in the movie 'Gladiator'). After his assassination the statue is changed back to the Sun God.

    It seems to have remained there intact into Medieval Times and then either an earthquake (847-55) or people for the metal (bronze) toppled it.

    One good hint that it survived at least into the 7thC is a poem by Bede (672-735);

    "As long as the Colossus stands, so shall Rome, when the Colossus falls, Rome shall fall, when Rome falls, so falls the World".

    At some point in Medieval Times Vespasian's (family name is Flavian) 'Amphitheatrum Flavianum' just became known as the Colosseo (Colosseum) because of this Colossal Statue next to it.


    So now Hadain has a very nice spot to build his huge double Temple complex.

    His 2nd problem is that it's on the ^ Velia's downhill slope.
    So he constructs a rubble foundation (100x145m) TTT| walled-in with Peperino and Travertine slabs faced in marble to level-off the area ^TTT|.

    The EAST-END facing the Colosseum now has a very high (useless) foundation wall which they put to good and practical use.
    They construct large chambers within it to store machinery and apparatus used in the Colosseum's Games.

    This East end also has 2 narrow practical staircases in each corner leading down to the Colosseum area's groundlevel.

    The WEST-END facing the Forum has a long row of ~6 marble steps along this entire 100m end leading-up on to the complex foundation's groundlevel (you walked on the south end of them between this Church and the Arch of Titus).

    The Forum and Colosseum ends are wide open and lets forget about the actual double-Temple building *within* this complex for now.

    So what we have is 100x145m area with ~6 100m long marble steps leading into this area at one end and 2 plain old functional staircases leading down at the opposite high end in the corners.

    Now on each of the 2 Long 145m sides (E-W) there is a Colonnaded Portico (columned & roofed sidewalk) from each end of the ~6 step-Long staircase (NW & SW) to the 2 far opposite staircases in the 2 corners (NE & SE).

    And the large area between them is wide open to the sky ||`````||.

    Today on each long side you see some of these portico�s columns, in the 1930's these columns were just fragments lying on the ground which were then reconstructed and re-erected along the sides.

    Now in the center of this wide open area another but smaller rectangular foundation (podium) was built ||`[```]�||

    So now the both open ends (E-W) and the porticoed sides (N-S) surround this podium but with a small open to the sky outside space still around that.
    Lets just say this centered podium takes-up ~60% of the wide open area ||`+`||.

    This low rectangular elevated podium has 7 steps leading up to the top that completely surround it.
    Then surrounding the top of the podium is a double row ::::: of ~17m High Fluted Columns, 10 double rows at each end and 20 double rows along the sides and on top of all this is a flat massive wood beamed roof covering the entire podium (But in 307 Maxentius rebuilds this with a concrete brick-faced barrel vaulted roof like in his Basilica.
    This roof was about the same height as the Church's Belltower).

    And within these double rows of surrounding columns the actual 2 back-to-back Temples are be built ::|---|:: So this is what we now have; Portico ||, Open Space `, 7 Steps |, Double Rows of columns ::, all surrounding 2 Back-to-Back Temples |-| with open ends on both short sides. ||`|::|---|::|`||

    In the back of the West Forum-facing Temple is a Statue of the Goddess Aetearna Roma (Eternal Roma).
    She is seated in a curule chair (X shaped with no back, originally it folded-up and was carried by military commanders, VIPs, Senators as a temporary seat, now it's an elaborate honorary chair, JC will be sitting on one when he is assassinated in the Senate) and holds a spear in her left and a small statue of either a Palladium or Victory in the right hand.

    And in the back of the East Colosseum-facing Temple is a seated Statue of Venus Felix (Goddess of Fertility and Prosperity).
    She is seated on a Throne with a spear in her left hand and a winged Cupid or Amor in the other.

    In the back of the Venus Temple to one side of the seated Goddess an altar was erected in 176AD where all newly wedded couples in Rome were expected to Sacrifice to the Goddess.
    (So if that's YOU make an offering on the Venus side where the Apse is that once held her statue, a little food, a couple of coins but DO PASS on any animal sacrifices PLEASE:-) ).

    On the otherside of Goddess there were statues of Antoninus And Faustina (Temple and Love story fame) added post-Hadrian.

    The floor is of multi-colored marbles.

    The original (post 307AD) walls were either marble blocks or marble faced stone or bricks very likely?

    It is the largest and likely the most beautiful Temple in Rome and is called in general conversation the shortened 'Temple of Roma'.

    ~100yrs later the historian Cassius Dio records what modern scholars believe was just an untrue Urban Legend of the times.

    The Famous Greek Architect 'Apollodorus of Damascus' who was Emperor Trajan's (Hadrian's adopted Father) Architect who built Trajan's Forum, Markets, Basilica and Column and later possibly(?) the Pantheon under Hadrian.

    Well Hadrian personally designed his Temple of Venus & Roma.
    And the legend is Apollodorus criticized Hadrian's Design, you should have done this, you should have done that, the ceilings are too low if the Goddess Statues stand-up they'll hit their heads, etc.

    And Hadrian was so mad he exiled Apollodorus and later had him killed.

    Cool story but untrue, Hadrian actually did take some of his advice on the design.
    Apollodorus died of natural causes but right around the time Hadrian was causing the unnatural deaths of some troublesome Senators.
    And that is likely when the rumor started which then became an Urban Legend.

    307 an earlier Fire has destroyed the Temple and Maxentius rebuilts it with barrel-vaulted roof/ceilings and semi-circular Apses with diamond-shaped coffers for the 2 Statues.
    The brick-faced concrete walls were then faced in marble.
    And those are the Temple ruins that you see today except the marble facing was all looted.

    625 The roof's bronze tiles are looted to re-roof St. Peter's Basilica.

    757-767 An Oratory is built in the Roma Temple's Vestibule for the Patron Saints of Rome (Peter & Paul).

    847-855 Some of the Temple's old and new structures are possibly toppled in an earthquake.

    847-855 The earlier Oratory is rededicated to the Virgin Mary and called 'S. Maria Nova'. (remember the S. Maria Church that was buried in the earthquake near the Arch of Augustus, this is its replacement Nova=New).

    1161 Church enlarged, now with a mosaic Apse and a Belltower.

    1421 Francesca Buzzi founded a convent here, later widowed she joins the convent.

    1608 Francesca is Canonized and the church is renamed the 'Church of St. Francesca Romana'.

    1615 Church is reconstructed and the Baroque Facade is added.



    "There was nothing however in which he was more ruinously prodigal than in building.
    He made a palace extending all the way from the Palatine to the Esquiline, which at first he called the House of Passage, but when it was burned shortly after its completion and rebuilt, the Golden House.
    Its size and splendour will be sufficiently indicated by the following details.
    Its vestibule was large enough to contain a colossal statue of the emperor�hundred and twenty feet high (roman feet); and it was so extensive that it had a triple colonnade a mile long.
    There was a pond too, like a sea, surrounded with buildings to represent cities, besides tracts of country, varied by tilled fields, vineyards, pastures and woods, with great numbers of wild and domestic animals.
    In the rest of the house all parts were overlaid with gold and adorned with gems and mother-of-pearl. There were dining-rooms with fretted ceils of ivory, whose panels could turn and shower down flowers and were fitted with pipes for sprinkling the guests with perfumes.
    The main banquet hall was circular and constantly revolved day and night, like the heavens.
    He had baths supplied with sea water and sulphur water.
    When the edifice was finished in this style and he dedicated it, he deigned to say nothing more in the way of approval than that he was at last beginning to be housed like a human being."

  • Report Abuse

    Ok, I know I'm boring you to tears with my rambling-on about Nero's Via Sacra. >>

    no, Walter, I'm in awe of your knowledge about this area and the people who have shaped and inhabited it over the years.

    is Hadrian the same one who built the eponymous wall between England and Scotland?

  • Report Abuse


    This small museum is in the Closter/Convent behind the 'Church of Santa Francesca Romana' (the Church in #34) aka 'Santa Maria Nova'.

    The museum's entrance is alongside the rear of the Church's right (south) side.
    Just ~15m up and and past the ~6 long ancient marble steps that run from the Church over to the Arch of Titus.
    The entrance is a *small* roofed building tucked into the corner |C|*====|T| where the Church merges into the much wider Closter.
    (Also note to the right of this entrance there is a nice section of the 7-stepped SW corner of the podium/foundation of the 'Temple of Venus & Roma' #34).

    Now the Bad News; At the time of writing this the Museum is closed for "Restoration" which in Rome often means anything from years to decades:-(.

    So your best bet is to check the official gov't webpage for this Museum and only the 'Italian' version as the 'English' version isn't updated and it still shows it open (everyday 9:00-5:30).
    So just use 'Google Translation'.

    As of now this is the 1st Line;
    "L'Antiquarium attualmente non visitabile perch chiuso per restauro."
    "The Antiquarium currently not open because closed for restoration." ---(OR)---�


    In 1900 the Head Archaeologist (Giacomo Boni) who excavated the Roman Forum set-up this small Museum.
    He is also buried on the Palatine Hill overlooking the Roman Forum which is quite an Honor.

    It has quite a few good historical artifacts (statues, reliefs, friezes, building fragments, etc), 15 skeletons and some cremation urns from the 900-700's BC pre-Roman Forum graves with some really nice grave goods and 1000's of small but really cool finds, often just fragments of (pottery, lamps, vases, stylus-pens, coins, statuettes, dice, cups, a pan, a flute, weights, terracotta tiles, etc).

    Personally I Love seeing things like these in a museum that were used by ordinary people in their everyday Lives and I try to imagine who they were (the man gambling with the dice, the musician playing the flute, the persons writing with the stylus-pens perhaps a poet or a shopkeeper just doing his books, etc).

    There will be 1 glass display case in a seperate room (III) from all the other skeleton's glass display cases.

    In this display case there are 2 skeletons of a man and a woman with no grave goods like in all the others.

    The odd thing here is that they were a man and woman buried *together*.
    And in the 600's when there were no longer adults being buried anywhere in the Forum area only children and that ended in 600's.
    Plus no grave goods.

    And even odder they were buried in the new Roman Forum Square [````+``] #17.5 after the land was reclaimed from the marsh?

    And they are identified as "an expiatory human sacrifice" ("expiatory" The act of atonement for a sin or wrongdoing).

    I don�t believe it was likely for a Capital Crimes-type of criminal act, like a murder or theft, if so there would be others over the many decades and this is a *Very Special Grave Site* based on the prestigious new Forum Sq. location (plus no one else was *ever* buried there in its 1100+yr history to the �Fall of Rome�)?
    I'd guess if it was a criminal act it would have to be something horrendous and/or a '1st one of its Kind' in Early Rome (600'sBC) and possibly used to set an example?

    Maybe Aristocratic adulterers with the woman the wife of a powerful man or they crossed Class Lines, like a lower-Class man or worst a Slave and an Aristocratic King's or Senator's family female member who has now dishonored her family, husband or father?

    Possibly it was of a Religious nature.
    The man and woman did something sacrilegious to offend the Gods?
    A Vestal and her Lover?
    A Priest's augury foretelling a disaster that can only be stopped by a M/F human sacrifice?

    Or possibly Rome was hit by something Major (they are losing a war, about to be invaded, plague, famine, earthquake w/aftershocks, their sheep or crops are all dying off, etc) and these 2 unlucky souls just happened to be picked for the offering to appease the Gods that have brought down their wrath upon them?

    228BC Rome will do Male/Female human sacrifices in the nearby 'Forum Boarium' where a Gaulish Man and woman pair and a Greek Man and Woman pair are all entombed alive together in a stone vault.
    Perhaps for and during the '1st Illyrian War'?

    And then again with the same M/F Gaul and Greek pairing-up in;

    216BC When Hannibal defeated and destroyed the Roman Army at Cannae.

    113BC For the up-coming Roman invasion of Gaul.


    Well Good Luck I hope it is reopened when you are there.
    There are only 6 interconnected rooms with a small courtyard with artifacts like statues, reliefs, etc.

    And even when it was open it was 'hit & miss', usually only in the mornings *if* it was open at all that day.
    And the guard at the door would tell you "No Staff" which besides Her/Him was only another person sitting in the interconnected 6 rooms.

    So now after starting this 'Roman Forum Walking Tour' 8 years ago and putting it off for a few years before that, I have FINALLY:-) reached;


  • Report Abuse


    Websites come and go but these have been up for years but still check Google for newer ones, videos, etc.

    [This is *THE* website to learn *everything possible* about Rome and the Roman Empire. Just scroll down the homepage just to see all it offers but if you have a specific thing you are seaching for just scroll-down to the bottom of the page and use the 'Search this site' 'search engine'.]

    Another good site is;

    If I had to recommend 1 book to go along with this walking tour of the Roman Forum it would be

    Suetonius' 'The Lives of the Twelve Caesars'.
    It covers the era from Julius Caesar (born ~100BC) to Emperor Domition's assassination in 96AD.

    Also here;

    For a modern easier read with the author's excellent narrative and explainations read Michael Grant's 'The Twelve Caesars'.



    [WALKING TOUR OF JULIUS CAESAR'S ASSASSINATION; read through all the responses for later corrections or new info.] ---OR---

    [ST. PETER'S DEATH IN ROME; this ties-in with Nero and the 64AD Fire] ---(OR)---

    A more updated version on Usenet is here;
    And for more info follow the replies in that post's thread

    If you have an interest in Early Christianity check-out this in the nearby 'Palatine Hill Museum' Scroll-down to Jul 9, 13 for a post on the 'Alexamenos Graffito'.

    [ROMAN FORUM PHOTOS; you will be able to find more and better photos in a 'Google Image' search but these are accurate, quick to access and you can jump to other site photos in 1-click] -->Scroll down to;
    Documents contained within "Forum Romanum"


    [FOR DAILY UPDATES ON ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL DISCOVERIES FOUND TODAY within the Roman Empire see David Meadow's excellent blog]

    But even better he also a has a weekly email newsletter (Explorator) he sends out covering the entire World from Early Man to WWII.

    To SUBSCRIBE Explorator, send a blank email message to:
    [email protected]

    "EXPLORATOR is a free weekly newsletter bringing you the latest news of archaeological finds, historical research and the like. Various on-line news and magazine sources are scoured for news of the *ancient world* (broadly construed: practically anything relating to archaeology or history up to World War II or so is fair game)".
    "For your computer*s protection,
    Explorator is sent in plain text and NEVER has attachments (other than the odd youtube video)."

    [CHECK-OUT] Past issues of Explorator are available on the web via our Yahoo site:

  • Report Abuse

    Thank You very much Fra_Diavolo and annhig:-).

    Yep, he's the same Hadrian Wall Hadrian.

    I should have mentioned his Love Story but forgot.

    Hadrian and his wife Sabina really didn't get along in their arranged marriage and there's no love between them or any children.

    Hadrian was 'One of the Five Good Emperors' and the most travelled Emperor visiting his vast Empire for years.

    In Turkey he met a young teenage Greek boy named Antinous and they became lovers and traveled together.

    In Roman Times you became a man at 16 and as long as the older man with the Power & Honor is the dominant partner the relationship is accepted and respected.
    But what Hadrain did after Antinous died would be viewed as 'over the top' but he is a 'Good Emperor' and I guess he got a Pass:-).

    When Antinous was 18 he drown in the Nile River and Hadrian "wept for him like a woman".

    Hadrian then had him Defied which is only reserved for Romans in the Imperial family.
    He also named cities after him, built temples to him, put his image on coins which was a 1st, had Festivals in his honor, with many Statues & inscriptions made and even tried to name a star constellation after him.

    Empress Sabina died just before Hadrian and she did get the 'Royal Treatment' but not to the extent that Antinous received.

  • Report Abuse

    Hi Walter,
    So great to "see" you here again! Thank you, many times over!, for this incredible resource you have put together. We've used your directions and insights on so many trips now that I can wholeheartedly say that you should publish a "Walter's Historical Walks" guidebook :-).

33 Replies |Back to top

Sign in to comment.