The Imperial Fora are a series of public squares that served as the centres of politics, religion and economics constructed in Rome between the years 46BC and 113AD. The Imperial Forums, while not part of the Roman Forum, are situated relatively close together with only a modern road dividing the two. Julius Caesar was the first to build in this section of Rome and the Forum of Caesar was the first to be inaugurated in 46BC. The Forum of Caesar was constructed as an extension to the Roman Forum and was used as a replacement venue for public affairs as well as government. In front of the Forum Caesar built a temple devoted to Venus Genetrix, as Caesar’s family claimed to descend by Venus through Aeneas. A statue of Caesar riding Bucephalus (the horse of Alexander the Great) was placed in front of the temple.
After Caesar’s death, Augustus began the construction of the Forum of Augustus which was completed by 2BC. This monumental square lies at a right angle to the Forum of Caesar. The decoration of the Forum was connected to the ideology of Augustus and the myth that Rome was born from the god Mars through Romulus. In 75AD the Temple of Peace was built under Emperor Vespasian to celebrate the conquest of Jerusalem. The fact that this structure is not mentioned as having a civil function is what prevents it being classified as a true Forum.
The next Forum to be constructed was the Forum of Nerva built by Domitian to link the Temple of Peace and the Fora of Caesar and Augustus. The temple was dedicated to Minerva, as protector of the emperor. The forum was not completed before the death of Domitian and this was inaugurated by his successor Nerva, hence its name.
The last and largest forum that was constructed was the Forum of Trajan, built between 112AD and 113AD. The Forum was built to mark the conquest of Darcia, whose spoils paid for this celebration of the military conquests of Rome. The highlight of this Forum was Trajan’s column which still soars of the site 35 metres in height, it is also home to the Trajan Markets which house a modern day museum.
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