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Fori Imperiali

The Forum Area
Forum of Trajan

107 A.D. - Dacia (Romania) conquered and work begins;
January 15th 112 A.D. – Inauguration of the Forum and the Basilica Ulpia;
May 18th 113 A.D. – Inauguration of the Trajan Column;
117 A.D. – Trajan dies and the arch of triumph is ordered by the Senate;
125-138 A.D. – Probable dedication to the temple on behalf of Adrian.

Complex Area: 300x180 meters
uncovered piazza area: 120x90 meters

Area of the Basilica Ulpia: 180x60 meters
Height of Trajan's Column: 39.81 meters

ForiThe Forum of Trajan has a more complicated foundation than the other Imperial Forums. The piazza is closed, with the Basilica Ulpia. At the back of this the Trajan column was elevated between the two Libraries, and it was believed that the complex concluded with the Temple dedicated to Divo Trajan. One entered the piazza through a curved arch passageway, a type of arch of triumph, in the center of a convex wall decorated with jutting columns.
An equestrian statue of Trajan occupied the center of the piazza, which was bordered by porticos with decorated attics-similar to the Forum of Augustus but with Caryatids instead of Daci. Spacious covered exedras opened up behind the porticos. The facade of the basilica, that closed the piazza, also had an attic decorated with Daci statues. The inside of the Basilica had 5 naves with columns along the short sides and apses at both ends; the very spacious central nave had two floors.
ForiThe Trajan Column was closed in a small courtyard, bordered by porticos opposite of the Library's facade. These were constituted of large rooms with niches in the walls and decorated with two types of columns.
The temple was probably of an enormous dimension and probably closed by a fenced portico. Today's archeological excavations in the Forum of Trajan have demonstrated that the Temple of Trajan's position is not what it was hypothesized to be in the past. Archeological evidence has clarified the findings in the area to be Insulae- remains of houses rather than those from a temple structure. These findings lie underneath what is today the Province headquarters- the palazzo of Valentini, next to the Column's location.
Rather, the temple was probably situated exactly in the middle of the forum area, where excavation is now taking place.

The Forum of Trajan was utilized as a splendid area of representation for public ceremonies. We know, for example, that in 118 A.D. Adriano publicly burned tables with citizen's debts in the piazza, as a statement to the treasury.
Also, in the late epoch, exedras behind the lateral porticos were used to host poetry readings and conferences.
Court hearings and ceremonies for the freedom of slaves were probably held in the apses of the Basilica.
The Library was probably used as a sort of historical archive of the Roman state and also conserved republican annals.
The sculptural decorations in the various Forum spaces transmitted messages of imperial propaganda of Trajan.
Above all was the celebration of the Daci conquest and the victorious army with focus on the achievement of peace. The representation was sculpted into the walls with images of the conquests.
Images of cupids watering griffins on the entrance wall allude again to the peacefulness of the Empire's power.
The expansion and growth of the Empire, completed with the campaign towards the Orient and interrupted by the death of the Emperor, would have allowed Trajan to consider himself the new founder of Rome.
His representation as a hero is justified in his sepulcher in the base of the Column, in the heart of the city.

The Trajan Column
The Trajan Column is constructed of giant marble blocks and a spiral staircase leading to the top. The base, excavated inside to re-excavate the tomb, was sculpted with panels of stacked Dacian arms.
A long embellishment goes around the column shaft like a roll of papyrus, leaving the fluting under the Doric capital visible.
The embellishment narrates two Dacian wars, representing the enemy with pride and humanity.
There were 2,500 figures sculpted in similar but various poses to avoid repetitiveness.
The column reaches in height to the top according to correct optics.

A- Hollowness in the Column: The Trajan column is a hollow shaft made of marble. In the area of the Basilica Ulpia, a gray granite fragment is visible with an interesting wavy border.
This was probably from one of the temple columns of 50 feet in height (around 15 meters).
It was probably impossible to extract such monolithic blocks from the mines, so the column was probably constructed by stacking hollow blocks, using these wavy borders to hide the joined areas and reinforce the column's structure.

B- A canceled and corrected inscription: In the east portico of the Forum are diverse preserved fragments of marble- two of which have inscriptions of cohorts that participated in the Dacian wars.
In these two examples, in a later epoch, the line with the denomination of the original cohort was cancelled, chiseling the surface and replacing it with two lines and the name of a cohort "ROMANA PALATINA" in less regular characters.
Circular holes on the upper floor were used to keep military emblems. Bases for these emblems were probably located in the above attic of the porticos.

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> Imperial Forum area

> Methodology of the archeological excavation

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> The staff engaged in recovery





Age of the Emperors

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Virtual Tour


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Head of Trajan

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Comune di Roma Canon


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