Typology: Villas and archaeological areas
Address: Piazza del Grillo, 1
Zone: Rione Monti (Colosseo-S.Giovanni-S.Maria Maggiore) (Roma centro)
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Chronologicallythe second forum built in the city and inaugurated in the year 2 AD, the Forumof Augustus was surrounded by a grandiose wall 33 metres high made of peperinoblocks and gabina stone, which separated it from the populous Suburra quarterof the city. There were two entrances in the wall: a three-arched entrance, onthe north side, and a single-arched entrance, also known as the Arch of thePantani. The forum was composed of a rectangular square flanked by porticoes,with the Temple of Mars Ultor (Mars the Avenger) on the rear end, preceded by alarge stairway. During the Middle Ages the temple’s podium was occupied bySaint Basil’s Church, now disappeared.
TEMPLE OF MARS ULTOR – The decisionto build the temple had been taken before the battle of Philippi (42 BC), butit was finally inaugurated in 2 AD. It was a grand building of white Carraramarble, with 8 columns on the front and 7 along the long sides. Only three ofthese columns are still standing and are surmounted by an architrave: the lastthree on the south-east side, together with the end pier. The cella ended withan apse which housed the cult statues of Mars, Venus and perhaps of the DivineJulius as well. The temple was also used for Senate meetings and religiousceremonies. Today there remains the high tufa stone block podium and theimposing central stairway.
SEMICIRCULAR PORTICOES – The squareof the forum was surrounded by large porticoes and two semicircular exedracontaining rectangular niches on two levels. The niches housed statues ofvictors and members of the Julian family. The attic was decorated withcaryatids and trophies. The porticoes were used by the urban praetors who dealtwith civil lawsuits. In the later Empire they were also used for education andschool activities.