Friday, December 3, 2010

Roman Forum

The center of economic and civic life was the Roman Forum. This was where anybody who was anyone conducted their business. The Senate met up here and it was also the location of Palantine Hill, where the rich and famous primarily lived. At one time this must have been an absolutely unbelievably busy and gorgeous place to be.
Since the various gods played such a large role in Roman life, and since it seemed that any number of new gods were adopted at various times, numerous temples and altars could be found up here. You didn't even have to be a god to get a temple...Julius Casear and Romulus each had one as well as Jupiter, Venus and Roma. There was also the House of the Vestal Virgins, with the all important job of keeping the fire provide security for Rome but hmmm.... seems it didn't always work so well....
With all these temples, basilicas and arches commemorating victories and people, it seems that it might have been difficult to have ruled from up seemed pretty cramped and we were looking at only partial buildings. Course then again, all the buildings listed may not have existed at the same moment in time...after all, they were great recyclers... They did mention that the Temple to Casear was used for meetings and that there were some unground areas. Still, must have been a tight squeeze with up to 300 elected senators. Capitoline Hill, opposite Palantine Hill, held many other buildings where meetings were held at various times.
Palantine Hill was the home to emperors and Kings, all of them bent on outdoing the previous ruler. While it's hard to imagine the extent of some of the homes from the rough walls now left, you can see the extent of them and with the reconstructions they have made it is almost unbelievable! These homes were spectacular, extensive, and, of course, expensive. Sadly, Romans had a great need for slaves to build these lavish homes as well as to keep them running smoothly, hence their constant push to capture more land, more cities and thus have more money and more slaves to continue building and expanding. Have to say, though, that I'm sure the lower classes didn't look on things in quite the same way. This shot was from the top of the hill in an open area just past an arena, on its way to some of the plush homes on Palantine Hill. Nearby there's a view of the famous Circus Maximus - a huge track primarily used for horse racing and maybe mock battles.

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