The Roman Forum
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Location Rome, Italy   map
Date -100 to 300   timeline
Building Type city center
 Construction System bearing masonry, cut stone
Climate mediterranean
Context urban
Style Ancient Roman, Classical, Ionic and Corinthian
Notes The assembly of buildings at the core of ancient Rome, from the time of Augustus.


Photo, distant overview showing general arrangement, looking west or northwest

Photo, exterior overview. looking southeast, with the Colosseum in the distance on the left

Photo, exterior, historical overview


Plan Drawing


Perspective Drawing

More drawings available on The GBC CD-ROM.   Contributions appreciated.

Discussion The Roman Forum Commentary

"The foreground is occupied by a paved square with monuments to famous people. The temple to the Divine Julius, dedicated in 29BC to the deified Caesar (the first case of political deification in Rome), built in a Hellenistic style, is located in the background on the left; to the right is the temple of Vesta and the house of the Vestal Virgins, guardians of the everlasting flame (the only priestesses in Rome); further to the right is the temple of the Dioscuri, Castor and Pollux (Greek gods whose cult was brought to Rome in the 5th century BC) dedicated in 6 A.D. Here the office of weights and measures was situated. The podiums of the temples of Caesar and the Dioscuri were often used as orators' platforms and it is in this part of the Forum that the meetings of the comitia took place. On the far right is the Basilica Julia built by Caesar in 54 B.C. Its long faŤade (101 metres/110 yards) occupies the entire south side of the Forum."

— John Julius Norwich. The World Atlas of Architecture. p160.

"The Roman Forum was not simply the core of an ancient city; for many it was the center of the universe. From the birth of the empire under Augustus in 31 B.C., and for nearly five hundred years thereafter, Rome ruled—with lacunae—most of what we call the civilized world. From Scotland to the Sahara, and from Gibraltar to the Euphrates, the Roman Empire was in control. Moreover, Rome was the handmaiden of our alphabet, a bellwether of urban organization and its legal institutions, and the creator of startling new horizons in architecture."

— from G.E. Kidder Smith. Looking at Architecture. p26.

Sources on The Roman Forum

G. E. Kidder Smith. Looking at Architecture. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Publishers, 1990. ISBN 0-8109-3556-2. LC 90-30728. NA200.S57 1990. photo, discussion, p26. — Available at

Frank Sear. Roman Architecture. London: B.T. Batsford, 1989. ISBN 0-7134-40988. NA310.S44. plan drawing, f27, p55. no image credit.

Duane Siegrist, University of Oregon. Slide from photographer's collection, July 1993. PCD.3236.1011.0837.026.

Alene Stickles, University of Oregon. Slide from photographer's collection, August 1993. PCD.3189.1011.1916.057.

Doreen Yarwood. The Architecture of Europe. New York: Hastings House, 1974. ISBN 0-8038-0364-8. LC 73-11105. NA950.Y37. reconstruction perspective drawing looking towards capitoline hill, f85, p41.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about The Roman Forum


Web Resources
Links on The Roman Forum

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