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TRAJAN’S FORUM

The Trajan’s forum is the last to be built and also the biggest of the Imperial forums.
 
The forum was built between the 107 and 113 AD on the order of Emperor Trajan with the spoils of war from the conquest of Dacia.
To build this monumental complex, extensive excavations were required: workers excavated the side between the Quirinal and Capitoline (Campidoglio) Hills. The project of the Forum was completely attributed to the great architect Apollodorus of Damascus.
The Forum measured about 300x180 mt and it was based on a rectangular square, about 120x90 mt, surmounted by a statue of Trajan in a six-horse chariot.
 
Since few time ago critics stated that the Forum of Augustus was the entrance but recent excavations proved that the entrance was situate in the opposite side toward Campo Marzio. 
 
Going past the entrance there were two libraries, one housing Latin documents and the other Greek documents. Between the libraries was the Trajan’s column, the only element of the Forums to survive intact.
 
The column indicates the original height of the hill excavated to build the forum, as reported on the inscription that surmounts it. Therefore the main purpose of the structure was to function as tomb for the Emperor.
    
After Trajan's death his ashes and those of his wife Plotina, were set inside golden urns at the carved base of the column.
 
The legend tells that in order to save the pagan Emperor soul, Pope Gregorio the Great moved by Trajan’s pity prayed for his soul. God appeared in a dream to the Pope ensured him the success of his request but recommended him to nevermore intercede for pagans.
 
Some tells that when the urn was exhumated the tongue still intact referred the legend and how he avoided the hell perdition. So that the surrounding area was declared sacred and the column is the still intact.
 
Surpassed the libraries was located the Basilica Ulpia, the largest never built in Rome. It was 170 mt long, 60 mt large and 40 mt high with a central hall and at the centre of the façade, a tetrastyle (four-column) porch.
 
Here there took place commercial and juridical activities but also slaves’ liberation ceremony.
On the East side the Trajan’s Markets there were the ancient equivalent of today’s ubiquitous shopping malls, only much grander. Built in semicircles three levels high, they had a double function: to hide the hill excavation and to function as feed store and sale to final consumer.
A walk in the archaeological area of the Forums is ideal to plunge into the Ancient Rome.

 

 

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