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Why Is The Roman Forum Important Still To This Day?

If you wonder why is the Roman Forum important, the answer is because this collection of ruins was the center of daily life for the citizens of imperial Rome.

why is the roman forum important - Temple of Saturn

Temple of Saturn

Walking along Via dei Fori Imperiali, between Piazza Venezia and the Colosseum, you will experience the magnificent ruins of the ancient Roman Forum, the nerve center of the Roman Empire, from which the ancient Romans ruled the world.

You will experience the great triumphal arches of Titus and Septimius Severus. See Caesar’s altar, which is decorated every year on March 15th in memory of the death of the Roman dictator. You can imagine the beauty of ancient temples like those of Concordia, Saturn, Vespasian, or the temple dedicated to Antoninus Pius and his wife Faustina, and the Temple of Vesta, one of the oldest in Rome, where the Vestal Virgins watched over the sacred fire of the city.

What Is The Roman Forum?

The Roman Forum in Rome, Italy is a rectangular shaped plaza (piazza) that was the center of daily life in ancient Rome. Today, it contains the ruins of many important government buildings, temples to vestal virgins, a basilica and the burial site of Julius Caesar. The forum is located in the small valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills in a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and intermittent archaeological excavations attracting more than 4.5 million visitors a year.

Why Is The Roman Forum Important - Via Sacra

Via Sacra

Why Is The Roman Forum Important?

The Roman Forum is an amazing collection of ruins that can be confusing unless you plan ahead or have a guide. If you are visiting the Forum, these are a few of the most important sites within the forum:

Why Is The Roman Forum Important - Temple of Romulus

Temple of Romulus

  • Via Sacra – This is the most important and oldest road of the valley of the Roman Forum. It was given the name after Romulus and Titus Tatius had signed the peace agreement of the war caused by the Rape of the Sabine women.
  • Arch of Titus – At one end of the Via Sacra, this arch was built to celebrate the victory of Titus over the Jewish rebellion in Judea.
  • Arch of Septimus Severus – At the other end of the Via Sacra, This arch was dedicated by the Senate to the emperor Septimius Severus and his sons Caracalla and Geta, in celebration of their two military campaigns against the Parthians.
  • Temple of Antonius and Faustina – This temple first honored the deified empress Faustina, who predeceased her husband Antoninus. After his own death and deification, the temple’s cult expanded to include him. 
  • Basilica of Maxentius (and Constantine) – The basilica construction was started by Maxentius in 308 and finished by Constantine, which is why it is known by both names.

What Was Done In The Roman Forum?

For centuries the Roman Forum was the center of daily life in Rome. This was the site where politicians celebrated elections as well as parades celebrating military victories. The forum was the venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches. It was the legal and business center of the empire. In addition to the parades, the forum was the preferred location for statues and monuments commemorating the great men of Rome.

Why Is The Roman Forum Important - Temple of Vesta

Temple of Vesta

What Are Two Facts About The Roman Forum?

There are many interesting facts about the Roman forum, but here are two that relate to Julius Caesar:

  • The burial site of Julius Caesar is in the Roman Forum, but contrary to popular belief, Caesar was not killed in the Roman Forum, which was the home of the Senate. He was killed in Largo di Torre Argentina and his body was brought to the Roman Forum to be burned and buried.

  • The site of the burial is a mound of dirt and stone, and around March 15th, the day of his murder, flowers are placed on the mound to recognize the former Emperor and Dictator. I can confirm that during a visit on March 15th, there were in fact flowers placed there.

How Did The Roman Forum Fall?

Why Is The Roman Forum Important - Temple of Antonius and Faustia

Temple of Antonius and Faustia

I think it’s more accurate to say that the Roman Forum died of neglect after the fall of the Roman empire, instead of “falling”. The forum was destroyed by earthquakes, pollution, weather and repeated attempts at looting of the marble, stones and columns, which was commonplace in ancient Rome.

What Important Events Happened In The Roman Forum?

The Roman Forum was the center of daily life in ancient Rome, so there were a lot of mundane, albeit important events happening every day. The two most notable events that happened in the Roman Forum were:

  • Following his murder, the body of Julius Caesar was brought to the Roman Forum and was publicly burned. It was buried in the same spot and every year, on March 15th, flowers are placed on his burial site.

  • Marc Antony brought the severed head and right hand of his enemy Cicero to display his great triumph. Interestingly, Antony’s wife Fulvia took Cicero’s head, pulled out his tongue, and jabbed it repeatedly with her hairpin in final revenge against Cicero’s power of speech.

Why Did Rome Have Multiple Forums?

There was limited space in the ancient Roman Forum, so expansion into adjoining spaces added to the number of forums in Rome. In the Imperial Forum complex today, there are ruins from the Forum IuliumForum Augustum, the Forum Nerva and Trajan’s Forum.

What Are The Roman Forum Opening Hours?

As for opening hours, the Roman Forum is open everyday and the hours are as follows:

  • January 2nd to February 28th: 9:00 – 16:30
  • March 1st to 26th: 9:00 – 17:30
  • March 27th to August 31st: 9:00 – 19:15
  • September 1st to 30th: 9:00 – 19:00
  • October 1st to 29th: 9:00 – 18:30
  • October 30th to December 31st: 9:00 – 16:30

There are a couple of other things to keep in mind. The last admission to the site will be one hour before closing. Also, there are “SUPER” sites within the park that have different hours, but within those listed above. If there is a specific “SUPER” site you would like to visit, check the website to confirm the time it is open.

Why Is The Roman Forum Important - House of Vestals

House of the Vestals

Plan Your Visit To Rome With This Travel Suggestion

Hopefully it is clearer why the Roman Forum important, and if you are interested in other sites in the area, like Palatine Hill or the Colosseum, these other posts may be helpful to you for your vacation planning:

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