The Roman Forum was built in a valley between Capitoline, Palatine and Esquiline hills and was once marshland. During the reign of the Etruscan dynasty in the 6th century BC the area was drained and became a market place. The market place or forum eventually became the commercial, religious and political centre of Rome and became known as the Forum Magnum (the Great Forum). Surrounding the marketplace were the government buildings. The forum was the site of triumphal processions, political rallies, and senate meetings. Over the next 900 years buildings, temples and triumphal arches were built by different reigning emperors. However in the 4th century AD with the decline of the empire, the forum fell into ruins. It wasn’t until the 18th and 19th centuries that excavations uncovered the ruins.
Triumphal Arch of Septimus Severus
The triumphal Arch of Septimus Severus in the Roman Forum was built in AD 203 from white marble. The arch was built in honour of Emperor Septimus Severus who reigned in Rome from AD 193-211 and to commemorate the victory of Rome over the Parthians. Parthia (now a part of north-eastern Iran) was an ancient country in Western Asia and by AD 197 the Romans had captured the capital, Ctesiphon. The arch is 20.88 m high and 23.27 m wide. Inscribed on the arch are the initials S.P.Q.R. which stands for “Senatus Populusque Romanus” in Latin, meaning “The Senate and People of Rome” or “The Roman Senate and People”.
Temple of Saturn
The Temple of Saturn is one of the oldest and most sacred buildings in the Roman Forum and was used as a
treasury. The original temple was built in 497 BC. The eight surviving granite Ionic columns are from the temple’s facade and date from 42 BC.
Temple of Vespasian
The Temple of Vespasian was built in honour of Vespasian who died in AD 79. The temple was built by Titus the son of Vespasian and completed by his brother Domitian in AD 94 after Titus’s death. Vespasian reigned as Roman Emperor from AD 9-79.