Forum of Augustus Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
Address: Via dei Fori Imperiali – Rome. Bus: 51, 75, 85, 87, 117, 186, 810, N2. Opening hours and admission: The monument can be viewed from outside. (Note that, because of the Covid crisis, opening hours may differ from the ones indicated here).
History and description
In chronological order Augustus’ Forum is the second one to have been built in Rome. The first one was the Forum of Caesar. The decision to build the temple had already been taken in 42 B.C., but it was not inaugurated until the year 2 A.D. It was surrounded by an enormous wall, which stood 33 meters tall and separated it from the Suburra part of Rome. This was probably deemed necessary because Suburra was mainly populated by prostitutes. The Forum was used for meetings of the Senate of Rome and for religious ceremonies.
The wall had two gates, one with three arches and the other one, on the north side, with a single arch. The latter one was known as the Arch of the Pantani.
A wide stairway led to the Temple of Mars the Avenger (Mars Ultor), which was made of white Carrara marble. In the apse stood the statues of Mars and Venus. The other three sides were lined with columns, 8 on the front and 7 on each side. Three of these columns are still standing, together with the architrave.
There were also two exedras around the square, with rectangular niches containing statues of important warriors and of members of the Julian family. The exedras, which were used for civil court cases, consisted of two floors.
At the end of the portico there was a big square hall, in which stood the Colossus of Augustus, a 12 meter tall statue.
In the middle ages the platform was used as a foundation for the San Basilio al Foro di Augusto Church. This church was destroyed in the 1930’s. The entrance to this church was cemented shut, but can still be seen in its original spot in the Via Tor de’ Conti.
House of the Knights of Rhodes
The House of the Knights of Rhodes (Casa dei Cavalieri di Rodi) can be seen above the northern exedra. The building itself already existed in the 1st century BC and was adapted to facilitate construction of the Forum. The Order of the Maltese Knights took possession of the building in the middle ages. The loggia was added in the 15th century.