Forum Romanum

We step into antiquity, as we walk across this location that was integral to much of early Western history.

One of the most significant locations for the history of the Western World is the Roman Forum, or as it is know in Latin, Forum Romanum. For the citizens of Rome, this was originally a market place, which over the ages became surrounded by government buildings.

For centuries the Forum was the center of day-to-day life in Rome: the site of triumphal processions and elections; the venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches; and the nucleus of commercial affairs. 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, and 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.

Looking across the Forum

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 (8th century BC), and the Temple of Vesta (7th century BC), 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 (Shrine of Vulcan), developed into the Republic’s formal Comitium (assembly area). This is where the Senate—as well as Republican government itself—began. The Senate House, government offices, tribunals, temples, memorials and statues gradually cluttered the area.

Basilica Remains

Over time the archaic Comitium was replaced by the larger adjacent Forum and the focus of judicial activity moved to the new Basilica Aemilia (179 BC). Some 130 years later, 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, then served as a revitalized city square where the people of Rome could gather for commercial, political, judicial and religious pursuits in ever greater numbers.

Next to the Capitol

Eventually much economic and judicial business would transfer away from the Forum Romanum to the larger and more extravagant structures (Trajan’s Forum and the Basilica Ulpia) 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 (312 AD). This returned the political center to the Forum until the fall of the Western Roman Empire almost two centuries later.

Author: jansenphoto

A Fresh Perspective Photography is more than just a vehicle for capturing the world around me; it provides me with a palette and a set of brushes, with which I paint not only what I see, but also look to express the emotions that are evoked by the scene in front of me in that moment. Growing up in the Netherlands exposed me to a wide cross-section of visual arts that laid the foundation of my photographic view of all that surrounds me. Early influences were the Dutch Masters of the 17th century, to whom I was introduced by my grandfather during museum explorations; favorites among them are the scenes of quotidian life depicted by Jan Steen and Frans Hals and the vivid landscapes of Jacob van Ruisdael. My classical high school education was supplemented by the Boijmans Van Beuningen museum, where I spent many a lunch hour exploring its great collection. Here I was introduced to surrealism with a particular love for the approach taken by Salvador Dali; Dali also rekindled my appreciation for the work of Hieronymus Bosch, who often showed the folly of us mortals. Universal Connections My approach to any photographic subject is to look for understanding first; in this I look to establish either a connection between the viewer and the subject or capture the connection of the subject with its surroundings. The captured image then aims to portray this connection from a perspective that is part of my personal interpretation. This interpretation is often a form of externalized introspection, which may alternately display the connection of isolated beings and items with their environment or highlight the whimsy of the profound world, in which we find ourselves. The universe is full of connections, many of which are waiting to be discovered; part of my journey as a photographer is to document these connections. Any assignment, be it an event, a product shoot or a portrait session is always approached through communication with the client; this is where the first connection is established. Ideas are exchanged and a collaborative plan of action forms, ultimately resulting in a set of images that aim to exceed the expectations of each client. And, lest we forget, it is important to have fun while practicing the serious business of photography!

5 thoughts on “Forum Romanum”

  1. Yes, it worked. But I still haven’t figured out why this is different from a blog. Isn’t it still ordered from most recent to oldest? Or is there some capability here that isn’t available in a blog?

    1. The key benefit is that I can write these project posts independently and then feature them in blog posts with a straigthforward shortcode.

      The real benefit will come when I have more of the portfolio posts written and then I can put them in a portfolio site page, which I can then hard-link.

  2. I was going to say something along the lines of, I don’t really understand how this works as a portfolio, but then I read your response to another blogger and now think I will just have to wait and see how you develop this.

  3. My new capital, hometown, and peaceful refuge in troubled times: classical Rome !

    “The Goth, the Christian—Time—War—Flood, and Fire,
    ⁠Have dealt upon the seven-hilled City’s pride;
    ⁠She saw her glories star by star expire,
    ⁠And up the steep barbarian Monarchs ride,
    ⁠Where the car climbed the Capitol;far and wide
    ⁠Temple and tower went down, nor left a site:
    ⁠Chaos of ruins! who shall trace the void,
    ⁠O’er the dim fragments cast a lunar light,
    And say, “here was, or is,” where all is doubly night?

    The double night of ages, and of her,
    ⁠Night’s daughter, Ignorance, hath wrapt and wrap
    ⁠All round us; we but feel our way to err:
    ⁠The Ocean hath his chart, the Stars their map,
    ⁠And Knowledge spreads them on her ample lap;
    ⁠But Rome is as the desert—where we steer
    ⁠Stumbling o’er recollections; now we clap
    ⁠Our hands, and cry “Eureka!” “it is clear”
    When but some false Mirage of ruin rises near.”

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