The Roman Forum known by its Latin name Forum Romanum, is a rectangular forum surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or the Forum. For centuries the Forum was the center of day-to-day life in Rome: the site of triumphal processions and elections. Here statues and monuments commemorated the city's great men; the teeming heart of ancient Rome, it has been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world, in all history. Located in the small valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, the Forum today is a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and intermittent archaeological excavations attracting 4.5 million or more sightseers yearly. Many of the oldest and most important structures of the ancient city were located on or near the Forum; the Roman Kingdom's earliest shrines and temples were located on the southeastern edge. These included the ancient former royal residence, the Regia, the Temple of Vesta, as well as the surrounding complex of the Vestal Virgins, all of which were rebuilt after the rise of imperial Rome.
Other archaic shrines to the northwest, such as the Umbilicus Urbis and the Vulcanal, developed into the Republic's formal Comitium. This is; the Senate House, government offices, temples and statues cluttered the area. Over time the archaic Comitium was replaced by the larger adjacent Forum and the focus of judicial activity moved to the new Basilica Aemilia; some 130 years Julius Caesar built the Basilica Julia, along with the new Curia Julia, refocusing both the judicial offices and the Senate itself. This new Forum, in what proved to be its final form served as a revitalized city square where the people of Rome could gather for commercial, political and religious pursuits in greater numbers. Much economic and judicial business would transfer away from the Forum Romanum to the larger and more extravagant structures to the north; the reign of Constantine the Great saw the construction of the last major expansion of the Forum complex—the Basilica of Maxentius. This returned the political center to the Forum until the fall of the Western Roman Empire two centuries later.
Unlike the imperial fora in Rome—which were self-consciously modelled on the ancient Greek plateia public plaza or town square—the Roman Forum developed organically, piecemeal over many centuries. This is the case despite attempts, with some success, to impose some order there, by Sulla, Julius Caesar and others. By the Imperial period, the large public buildings that crowded around the central square had reduced the open area to a rectangle of about 130 by 50 meters, its long dimension was oriented northwest to southeast and extended from the foot of the Capitoline Hill to that of the Velian Hill. The Forum's basilicas during the Imperial period—the Basilica Aemilia on the north and the Basilica Julia on the south—defined its long sides and its final form; the Forum proper included this square, the buildings facing it and, sometimes, an additional area extending southeast as far as the Arch of Titus. The site of the Forum had been a marshy lake where waters from the surrounding hills drained.
This was drained by the Tarquins with the Cloaca Maxima. Because of its location, sediments from both the flooding of the Tiber and the erosion of the surrounding hills have been raising the level of the Forum floor for centuries. Excavated sequences of remains of paving show that sediment eroded from the surrounding hills was raising the level in early Republican times; as the ground around buildings rose, residents paved over the debris, too much to remove. Its final travertine paving, still visible, dates from the reign of Augustus. Excavations in the 19th century revealed one layer on top of another; the deepest level excavated was 3.60 meters above sea level. Archaeological finds show human activity at that level with the discovery of carbonized wood. An important function of the Forum, during both Republican and Imperial times, was to serve as the culminating venue for the celebratory military processions known as Triumphs. Victorious generals entered the city by the western Triumphal Gate and circumnavigated the Palatine Hill before proceeding from the Velian Hill down the Via Sacra and into the Forum.
From here they would mount the Capitoline Rise up to the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the summit of the Capitol. Lavish public banquets ensued back down on the Forum; the original, low-lying, grassy wetland of the Forum was drained in the 7th century BC with the building of the Cloaca Maxima, a large covered sewer system that emptied into the Tiber, as more people began to settle between the two hills. According to tradition, the Forum's beginnings are connected with the alliance between Romulus, the first king of Rome controlling the Palatine Hill, his rival, Titus Tatius, who occupied the Capitoline Hill. An alliance formed after combat had been halted by the cries of the Sabine women; because the valley lay between the two settlements, it was the designated place for th
Temple of Vesta
The Temple of Vesta is an ancient edifice in Rome, located in the Roman Forum near the Regia and the House of the Vestal Virgins. The temple's most recognizable feature is its circular footprint. Since the worship of Vesta began in private homes, the architecture seems to be a reminder of its history; the extant temple used Greek architecture with Corinthian columns, a central cella. The remaining structure indicates that there were twenty Corinthian columns built on a podium fifteen meters in diameter; the roof had a vent at the apex to allow smoke release. All temples to Vesta were round, had entrances facing east to symbolize connection between Vesta’s fire and the sun as sources of life; the Temple of Vesta represents the site of ancient cult activity as far back as 7th century BCE. Numa Pompilius is believed to have built this temple along with the original Regia and House of the Vestal Virgins in its original form. Around the Temple stood The Sacred Grove, in which there was a graveyard for the priests and virgins.
It was one of the earliest structures located in the Roman Forum although its present reincarnation is the result of subsequent rebuilding. Instead of a cult statue in the cella, there was a hearth; the temple was the storehouse for the legal wills and documents of Roman Senators and cult objects such as the Palladium. The Palladium was a statue of Athena believed to have been brought by Aeneas from Troy; that the Romans believed that the Sacred fire of Vesta was tied to the fortunes of the city and viewed its extinction as a portent of disaster has been agreed on by all ancient accounts. The temple was closed during the persecution of pagans in the late Roman Empire in the 4th-century; the temple was rebuilt many times. The first destruction of the temple was by the Gauls in 390 BC. According to Ovid, the second time was in 241 BC; such fires occurred again in 210 BC and again in the early first century BC. It was rebuilt again during the reigns of Nero, it burnt down in 191 AD and was built for the last time during the reign of Septimius Severus.
The Temple of Vesta remained reasonably intact until the Renaissance. However, in 1549 AD, the building was demolished and its marble reused in churches and papal palaces; the section standing today was reconstructed in the 1930s during the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini. The round Temple of Hercules Victor in the Forum Boarium was thought to be a temple of Vesta; the Temple of Vesta, Tivoli Brockman, Encyclopedia of Sacred Places, 1, ABC-CLIO, ISBN 978-1-59884-654-6 Gorski, Gilbert J.. The Roman Forum: A Reconstruction and Architectural Guide, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-19244-6 Howatson, M. C; the Oxford Companion to Classical Literature, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-954855-2 Middleton, John Henry. "The Temple and Atrium of Vesta and the Regia". Archaeologia: 395. Middleton, John Henry, The Remains of Ancient Rome, 1 Stamper, John W; the Architecture of Roman Temples: The Republic to the Middle Empire, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0 521 81068 X Wildfang, Robin Lorsch, Rome's Vestal Virgins, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-39795-7 Aedes Vestae - Temple of Vesta - Tempio di Vesta, Reconstructed
Temple of Concord
The Temple of Concord in the ancient city of Rome refers to a series of shrines or temples dedicated to the Roman goddess Concordia, erected at the western end of the Roman Forum. The earliest may have vowed by Marcus Furius Camillus in 367 BC, but history records such a temple erected in the Vulcanal in 304, another west of the Vulcanal, on the spot the temple occupied, commissioned in 217; the temple was rebuilt in 121 BC, again by the future emperor Tiberius between 7 BC and AD 10. One tradition ascribes the first Temple of Concord to a vow made by Camillus in 367 BC, on the occasion of the Lex Licinia Sextia, the law passed by the tribunes Gaius Licinius Stolo and Lucius Sextius Lateranus, opening the consulship to the plebeians; the two had prevented the election of any magistrates for a period of several years, as part of the conflict of the orders. Nominated dictator to face an invasion of the Gauls, encouraged by his fellow patrician Marcus Fabius Ambustus, Stolo's father-in-law, determined to resolve the crisis by declaring his support for the law, vowing a temple to Concordia, symbolizing reconciliation between the patricians and plebeians.
Camillus' vow is not mentioned by Livy, who instead describes the dedication of the Temple of Concord in the Vulcanal, a precinct sacred to Vulcan on the western end of the forum, by the aedile Gnaeus Flavius in 304 BC. Flavius' actions were an affront to the senate because he had undertaken the matter without first consulting them, because of his low social standing: not only was Flavius a plebeian, but he was the son of a freedman, had served as a scribe to Appius Claudius Caecus; the Pontifex Maximus, Rome's chief priest, was compelled to instruct Flavius on the proper formulae for dedicating a temple. Cicero and Pliny report that Flavius was a scribe, rather than aedile, at the time of the dedication, a law was passed afterward forbidding anyone from dedicating a temple without the authorization of the senate or a majority of the plebeian tribunes, yet a third Temple of Concord was begun in 217 BC, early in the Second Punic War, by the duumviri Marcus Pupius and Caeso Quinctius Flamininus, in fulfillment of a vow made by the praetor Lucius Manlius Vulso on the occasion of his deliverance from the Gauls in 218.
The reason why Manlius vowed a temple to Concordia is not apparent, but Livy alludes to a mutiny that had occurred among the praetor's men. The temple was dedicated the following year by the duumviri Marcus and Gaius Atilius; the murder of Gaius Gracchus in 121 BC marked a low point in the relationship between the emerging Roman aristocracy and the popular party, was followed by the reconstruction of the Temple of Concord by Lucius Opimius at the senate's behest, regarded as an utterly insincere attempt to clothe its actions in a symbolic act of reconciliation. From this period, the temple was used as a meeting place for both the senate and the Arval Brethren, in times it came to house a number of works of art, many of which are described by Pliny. A statue of Victoria placed on the roof of the temple was struck by lightning in 211 BC, prodigies were reported in the Concordiae, the neighborhood of the temple, in 183 and 181. Little else is heard of the temple until 7 BC, when the future emperor Tiberius undertook another restoration, which lasted until AD 10, when the structure was rededicated on the 16th of January as the Aedes Concordiae Augustae, the Temple of Concordia of Augustus.
The temple is mentioned in imperial times, may have been restored again following a fire in AD 284. If still in use, the temple would have been closed during the persecution of pagans under the Christian emperors of the late fourth century; the building, remained standing. By the eighth century, the temple was in poor condition, in danger of collapsing; the temple was razed circa 1450, the stone turned into a lime kiln to recover the marble for building. Backed up against the Tabularium at the foot of the Capitoline Hill, the architecture had to accommodate the limitations of the site; the cella of the temple, for instance, is twice as wide as it is deep, as is the pronaos. In the cella a row of Corinthian columns rose from a continuous plinth projecting from the wall, which divided the cella into bays, each containing a niche; the capitals of these columns had pairs of leaping rams in place of the corner volutes. Only the platform now remains covered by a road up to the Capitol; the main temple in the Forum in Rome seems to have been a model for temples to the goddess elsewhere in the empire—a reproduction of this temple was found at Mérida in Spain, during the excavations of the town's forum in 2002.
Marcus Tullius Cicero, De Domo Sua, Epistulae ad Atticum, In Catilinam, Pro Murena, Pro Sestio. Gaius Sallustius Crispus, Bellum Catilinae. Titus Livius, History of Rome. Publius Ovidius Naso, Fasti. Gaius Plinius Secundus, Historia Naturalis. Plutarchus, Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans. Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, De Vita Caesarum. Appianus Alexandrinus, Bellum Civile. Lucius Cassius Dio Cocceianus, Roman History. Julius Obsequens, Liber de Prodigiis. Augustine of Hippo, De Civitate Dei. Theodor Mommsen et alii, Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Rodolfo Lanciani and Christian Rome, Houghton and Comp
The Roman triumph was a civil ceremony and religious rite of ancient Rome, held to publicly celebrate and sanctify the success of a military commander who had led Roman forces to victory in the service of the state or and traditionally, one who had completed a foreign war. On the day of his triumph, the general wore a crown of laurel and the all-purple, gold-embroidered triumphal toga picta, regalia that identified him as near-divine or near-kingly, was known to paint his face red, he rode in a four-horse chariot through the streets of Rome in unarmed procession with his army and the spoils of his war. At Jupiter's temple on the Capitoline Hill, he offered sacrifice and the tokens of his victory to the god Jupiter. Republican morality required that, despite these extraordinary honours, the general conduct himself with dignified humility, as a mortal citizen who triumphed on behalf of Rome's Senate and gods; the triumph offered extraordinary opportunities for self-publicity, besides its religious and military dimensions.
Most Roman festivals were calendar fixtures, while the tradition and law which reserved a triumph to extraordinary victory ensured that its celebration, attendant feasting, public games promoted the general's status and achievement. By the Late Republican era, triumphs were drawn out and extravagant, motivated by increasing competition among the military-political adventurers who ran Rome's nascent empire, in some cases prolonged by several days of public games and entertainments. From the Principate onwards, the triumph reflected the Imperial order and the pre-eminence of the Imperial family; the triumph was consciously imitated by medieval and states in the royal entry and other ceremonial events. In Republican Rome exceptional military achievement merited the highest possible honours, which connected the vir triumphalis to Rome's mythical and semi-mythical past. In effect, the general was close to being "king for a day", close to divinity, he wore the regalia traditionally associated both with the ancient Roman monarchy and with the statue of Jupiter Capitolinus: the purple and gold "toga picta", laurel crown, red boots and, again the red-painted face of Rome's supreme deity.
He was drawn in procession through the city in a four-horse chariot, under the gaze of his peers and an applauding crowd, to the temple of Capitoline Jupiter. The spoils and captives of his victory led the way. Once at the Capitoline temple, he sacrificed two white oxen to Jupiter and laid tokens of his victory at Jupiter's feet, dedicating his victory to the Roman Senate and gods. Triumphs were tied to season, or religious festival of the Roman calendar. Most seem to have been celebrated at the earliest practicable opportunity on days that were deemed auspicious for the occasion. Tradition required; the ceremony was thus, in some sense, shared by the whole community of Roman gods, but overlaps were inevitable with specific festivals and anniversaries. Some may have been coincidental. For example, March 1, the festival and dies natalis of the war god Mars, was the traditional anniversary of the first triumph by Publicola, of six other Republican triumphs, of the first Roman triumph by Romulus.
Pompey postponed his third and most magnificent triumph for several months to make it coincide with his own dies natalis. Religious dimensions aside, the focus of the triumph was the general himself; the ceremony promoted him – however temporarily – above every mortal Roman. This was an opportunity granted to few. From the time of Scipio Africanus, the triumphal general was linked to Alexander and the demi-god Hercules, who had laboured selflessly for the benefit of all mankind, his sumptuous triumphal chariot was bedecked with charms against the possible envy and malice of onlookers. In some accounts, a companion or public slave would remind him from time to time of his own mortality. Rome's earliest "triumphs" were simple victory parades, celebrating the return of a victorious general and his army to the city, along with the fruits of his victory, ending with some form of dedication to the gods; this is so for the earliest legendary and semi-legendary triumphs of Rome's regal era, when the king functioned as Rome's highest magistrate and war-leader.
As Rome's population, power and territory increased, so did the scale, length and extravagance of its triumphal processions. The procession mustered in the open space of the Campus Martius well before first light. From there, all unforeseen delays and accidents aside, it would have managed a slow walking pace at best, punctuated by various planned stops en route to its final destination of the Capitoline temple, a distance of just under 4 km. Triumphal processions were notoriously slow; some ancient and modern sources suggest a standard processional order. First came the captive leaders and soldiers walking in chains, their captured weapons, gold, silver and curious or exotic treasures were carted behind them, along with paintings and models depicting significant places and episodes of the war. Next in line, all on foot, came Rome's senators and magistrate
The Capitolium or Capitoline Hill, between the Forum and the Campus Martius, is one of the Seven Hills of Rome. The hill was earlier known as Mons Saturnius, dedicated to the god Saturn; the word Capitolium first meant the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus built here, afterwards it was used for the whole hill, thus Mons Capitolinus. Ancient sources refer the name to caput and the tale was that, when laying the foundations for the temple, the head of a man was found, some sources saying it was the head of some Tolus or Olus; the Capitolium was regarded by the Romans as indestructible, was adopted as a symbol of eternity. By the 16th century, Capitolinus had become Capitolino in Italian, Capitolium Campidoglio; the Capitoline Hill contains few ancient ground-level ruins, as they are entirely covered up by Medieval and Renaissance palaces that surround a piazza, a significant urban plan designed by Michelangelo. Influenced by Roman architecture and Roman republican times, the word Capitolium still lives in the English word capitol.
The Capitol Hill in Washington, D. C. is assumed to be named after the Capitoline Hill, but the relation is not clear. At this hill, the Sabines, creeping to the Citadel, were let in by the Roman maiden Tarpeia. For this treachery, Tarpeia was the first to be punished by being flung from a steep cliff overlooking the Roman Forum; this cliff was named the Tarpeian Rock after the Vestal Virgin, became a frequent execution site. The Sabines, who immigrated to Rome following the Rape of the Sabine Women, settled on the Capitoline; the Vulcanal, an 8th-century BC sacred precinct, occupied much of the eastern lower slopes of the Capitoline, at the head of what would become the Roman Forum. The summit was the site of a temple for the Capitoline Triad, started by Rome's fifth king, Tarquinius Priscus, completed by the seventh and last king, Tarquinius Superbus, it was considered one of the most beautiful temples in the city. The city legend starts with the recovery of a human skull when foundation trenches were being dug for the Temple of Jupiter at Tarquin's order.
Recent excavations on the Capitoline uncovered an early cemetery under the Temple of Jupiter. There are several important temples built on Capitoline hill: the temple of Juno Moneta, the temple of Virtus, the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus Capitolinus; the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus Capitolinus is the most important of the temples. It was nearly as large as the Parthenon; the hill and the temple of Jupiter became the symbols of the capital of the world. The Temple of Saturn was built at the foot of Capitoline Hill in the western end of the Forum Romanum; when the Senones Gauls raided Rome in 390 BC, after the battle of River Allia, the Capitoline Hill was the one section of the city to evade capture by the barbarians, due to its being fortified by the Roman defenders. According to legend Marcus Manlius Capitolinus was alerted to the Gallic attack by the sacred geese of Juno; when Julius Caesar suffered an accident during his triumph indicating the wrath of Jupiter for his actions in the Civil Wars, he approached the hill and Jupiter's temple on his knees as a way of averting the unlucky omen.
Vespasian's brother and nephew were besieged in the temple during the Year of Four Emperors. The Tabularium, located underground beneath the piazza and hilltop, occupies a building of the same name built in the 1st century BC to hold Roman records of state; the Tabularium looks out from the rear onto the Roman Forum. The main attraction of the Tabularium, besides the structure itself, is the Temple of Veiovis. During the lengthy period of ancient Rome, the Capitoline Hill was the geographical and ceremonial center. However, by the Renaissance, the former center was an untidy conglomeration of dilapidated buildings and the site of executions of criminals; the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli is adjacent to the square, located near where the ancient arx, or citadel, atop the hill it once stood. At its base are the remains of a Roman insula, with more than four storeys visible from the street. In the Middle Ages, the hill’s sacred function was obscured by its other role as the center of the civic government of Rome, revived as a commune in the 11th century.
The city's government was now to be under papal control, but the Capitoline was the scene of movements of urban resistance, such as the dramatic scenes of Cola di Rienzo's revived republic. In 1144, a revolt by the citizens against the authority of the Pope and nobles led to a senator taking up his official residence on the Capitoline Hill; the senator’s new palace turned its back on the ancient forum, beginning the change in orientation on the hill that Michelangelo would accentuate. A small piazza was laid out in front of the senator’s palace, intended for communal purposes. In the middle of the 14th century, the guilds’ court of justice was constructed on the southern end of the piazza; this would house the Conservatori in the 15th century. As a result, the piazza was surrounded by buildings by the 16th century; the existing design of the Piazza del Campidoglio and the surrounding palazzi was created by Renaissance artist and architect Michelangelo Buonarroti in 1536–1546. At the height of his fame, he w
Apotheosis is the glorification of a subject to divine level. The term has meanings in theology, where it refers to a belief, in art, where it refers to a genre. In theology, apotheosis refers to the idea. In art, the term refers to the treatment of any subject in a grand or exalted manner. Before the Hellenistic period, imperial cults were known in Ancient Mesopotamia. From the New Kingdom, all deceased pharaohs were deified as the god Osiris. From at least the Geometric period of the ninth century BC, the long-deceased heroes linked with founding myths of Greek sites were accorded chthonic rites in their heroon, or "hero-temple". In the Greek world, the first leader who accorded himself divine honours was Philip II of Macedon. At his wedding to his sixth wife, Philip's enthroned image was carried in procession among the Olympian gods; such Hellenistic state leaders might be raised to a status equal to the gods before death or afterwards. A heroic cult status similar to apotheosis was an honour given to a few revered artists of the distant past, notably Homer.
Archaic and Classical Greek hero-cults became civic, extended from their familial origins, in the sixth century. The Greek hero cults can be distinguished on the other hand from the Roman cult of dead emperors, because the hero was not thought of as having ascended to Olympus or become a god: he was beneath the earth, his power purely local. For this reason hero cults were chthonic in nature, their rituals more resembled those for Hecate and Persephone than those for Zeus and Apollo. Two exceptions were Heracles and Asclepius, who might be honoured as either gods or heroes, sometimes by chthonic night-time rites and sacrifice on the following day. Up to the end of the Republic, Romans accepted only one official apotheosis: the god Quirinus, whatever his original meaning, having been identified with Romulus. Subsequently, apotheosis in ancient Rome was a process whereby a deceased ruler was recognized as having been divine by his successor also by a decree of the Senate and popular consent. In addition to showing respect the present ruler deified a popular predecessor to legitimize himself and gain popularity with the people.
The upper-class did not always take part in the imperial cult, some ridiculed the apotheosis of inept and feeble emperors, as in the satire The Pumpkinification of Claudius attributed to Seneca. At the height of the imperial cult during the Roman Empire, sometimes the emperor's deceased loved ones—heirs, empresses, or lovers, as Hadrian's Antinous—were deified as well. Deified people were awarded posthumously the title Divus to their names to signify their divinity. Traditional Roman religion distinguished between a divus, though not consistently. Temples and columns were erected to provide a space for worship; the Ming dynasty epic Investiture of the Gods deals with deification legends. Numerous mortals have been deified into the Daoist pantheon, such as Guan Yu, Iron-crutch Li and Fan Kuai. Song Dynasty General Yue Fei was deified during the Ming Dynasty and is considered by some practitioners to be one of the three highest ranking heavenly generals. Various Hindu and Buddhist rulers in the past have been represented as deities after death, from Thailand to Indonesia.
Several Sultans of Yogyakarta were semi-deified, posthumously. Deceased North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung is the principal object of the North Korean cult of personality in which he is treated to an explicitly apotheosized leader, with statues of and monuments dedicated to the "Eternal President", the annual commemoration of his birth, the paying of respects by newlyweds to his nearest statue, the North Korean calendar being a Juche calendar based on Kim Il-sung's date of birth. Instead of the word "apotheosis", Christian theology uses in English the words "deification" or "divinization" or the Greek word "theosis". Traditional mainstream theology, both East and West, views Jesus Christ as the preexisting God who undertook mortal existence, not as a mortal being who attained divinity, it holds that he has made it possible for human beings to be raised to the level of sharing the divine nature: he became one of us to make us "partakers of the divine nature" "For this is why the Word became man, the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God."
"For He was made man that we might be made God." "The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods." The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology contains the following in an article titled "Deification": Deification is for Orthodoxy the goal of every Christian. Man, according to the Bible, is'made in the image and likeness of God.'... It is possible for
Basilica of Maxentius
The Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine, sometimes known as the Basilica Nova—meaning "new basilica"—or Basilica of Maxentius, is an ancient building in the Roman Forum, Italy. It was the largest building in the Forum. In ancient Rome a basilica was a rectangular building with a large central open space, a raised apse at the far end from the entrance. Basilicas served a variety of functions, including a combination of a court-house, council chamber and meeting hall. There might be, numerous statues of the gods displayed in niches set into the walls. Under Constantine and his successors this type of building was chosen as the basis for the design of the larger places of Christian worship as the basilica form had fewer pagan associations than those of the designs of traditional Greco-Roman temples, allowed large congregations; as a result of the building programmes of the Christian Roman emperors the term basilica became synonymous with a large church or cathedral. Construction began on the northern side of the forum under the emperor Maxentius in 308 AD, was completed in 312 by Constantine I after his defeat of Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge.
The building rose close to the Temple of Peace, at that time neglected, the Temple of Venus and Rome, whose reconstruction was part of Maxentius' interventions. The colour of the building before it was destroyed was white; the building consisted of a central nave covered by three groin vaults suspended 39 meters above the floor on four large piers, ending in an apse at the western end containing a colossal statue of Constantine. The lateral forces of the groin vaults were held by flanking aisles measuring 23 by 17 metres; the aisles were spanned by three semi-circular barrel vaults perpendicular to the nave, narrow arcades ran parallel to the nave beneath the barrel vaults. The nave itself measured 25 metres by 80 metres creating a 2000 square meter floor. Like the great imperial baths, the basilica made use of vast interior space with its emotional effect. Running the length of the eastern face of the building was a projecting arcade. On the south face was a projecting porch with four columns.
The south and central sections were destroyed by the earthquake of 847. In 1349 the vault of the nave collapsed in another earthquake; the only one of the eight 20-meter-high columns that survived the earthquake was brought by Pope Paul V to Piazza Santa Maria Maggiore in 1614. All that remains of the basilica today is the north aisle with its three concrete barrel vaults; the ceilings of the barrel vaults show advanced weight-saving structural skill with octagonal ceiling coffers. On the outside wall of the basilica, facing onto the via dei Fori Imperiali, are contemporary maps showing the various stages of the rise of the Roman Empire which were added during the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini. A map depicting Mussolini's "New Roman Empire" was removed from the wall after the war; the wrestling events were held here during the 1960 Summer Olympic Games. The basilica Maxentius took aspects from Roman baths as well as typical Roman basilicas. At that time, it used the most advanced engineering techniques known including innovations taken from the Markets of Trajan and the Baths of Diocletian.
Similar to many basilicas at the time such as the Basilica Ulpia, the Basilica of Maxentius featured a huge open space in the central nave. However, instead of having columns support the ceiling like other basilicas, it was built using arches, a much more common appearance in Roman baths than basilicas. Another difference from traditional basilicas is the roof of the structure. While the former were built with a flat roof, the Basilica of Maxentius featured a folded roof, decreasing the overall weight of the structure and decreasing the horizontal forces exerted on the outer arches. Colossus of Constantine situated in the west apse of the Basilica. 1960 Summer Olympics official report. Volume 1. Pp. 76, 79. The Roman Empire: From the Etruscans to the Decline of the Roman Empire, Henri Stierlin, TASCHEN, 2002, Edited by Silvia Kinkle, Cologne, ISBN 3-8228-1778-3 Weitzmann, Kurt, ed. Age of spirituality: late antique and early Christian art, third to seventh century, no. 103, 1979, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, ISBN 9780870991790.