Roman Forum: 500 AD
The Byzantian emperor Phocas erected a victory column in 608, which is still largely intact to this day.
The column itself is much older, after the fall of the West-Roman Empire, recycling old materials became very customary. It is likely that the column originally stood on the Forum Boarium (cattle market at the Tiber, not far far from the Roman Forum). This column stood firm in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance as well, reminiscent of the old Forum with the remainder largely being buried underground. In the 16th century, the Forum was a pasture for cows. Click here for the site Wikipedia for more information about the column of Phocas.
Victor Jean Nicolle ‘Column of Phocas and the temple of Saturn’ before 1811 MET
Santi Cosma e Damiano entrance Via dei Fori Imperiali
Courtyard Entrance church
Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg ‘The church of Cosmas and Damian’ c. 1814 – 1815 MET and a preliminary study (scroll)
Santi Cosma e Damiano mosaic zoom in
Santi Cosma e Damiano mosaic The Arch Lamb of God (arch)
The temple of Romulus and the Bibliotheca Pacis (the library of the Forum of Vespasian) were merged into one building [map] by Pope Felix IV (526 – 530) by superimposing a new structure. The rest of the mosaic, astonishingly, has been eradicated thanks to a later 17th-century of the church!
Santi Cosma e Damiano Christ mosaic
This church re-opened in 2016 after a 30 year hiatus. The frescos have been restored. It’s remarkable byzantine frescos have led the church to be known as the Sistine chapel of the Middle Ages.
Santa Maria Antiqua and the entrance Aerial
Giuseppe Vasi ‘Santa Maria Liberatice’ built over the Santa Maria Antiqua’ 1788
A dragon and a heroic pope
The building that contains the Santa Maria Antiqua was founded in the year 342. As with almost all places in Rome, the founding of the church ties in to a remarkable legend. The story goes that in the fourth century a dragon haunted the forum, suffocating all who came near it with its foul breath. After some time, the pope, Silvester I, decided to intervene. He prayed zealously unto Mary so she could aid him in fighting the dragon. Together with a bunch of loyal followers, he went to war with the dragon with nothing more than a cross, a silk thread and a steadfast belief in a positive ending. The dragon – as confused as it was paralyzed by the pope’s valor – forgot to breath, allowing Silvester I to get close enough to tie the dragon up. His followers finished the job by beating the dragon with the cross until its heart stopped beating. The dragon was buried where the columns of the Castor and Pollux temple are still standing upright. To show his gratitude for Mary’s advice, the pope decided to erect a special church in her name: the Santa Maria Antiqua.
Greek monk’s work
Two centuries later, in the sixth century, the church was given its first beautiful set of frescos by Greek monks who resided in Rome. Their work was followed up on by the papacies of john VII (705 -707), Zachary (741 – 752) and Paul I (757 – 767). John VII even turned the Santa Maria Antiqua into a personal chapel. Each of the three popes did their part in adding to the splendor as you can examine by yourself as of late. We owe this to a rather earthquake that hit Rome in 847. The Santa Maria Antiqua was almost completely buried underneath the rubble. For centuries, the frescos by the Greek monks remained covered by a thick layer of dirt.
Cited and translated from: Caio tutti discovery blog through Italy
Oratory of the forty martyrs fresco detail Side Layout 8
Apse Zoom in The icon Reconstruction frescos apse Layout 3
Santa Maria Antiqua chapel of the Saint Theodotus
Saint Theodotus donates the chapel Crucifixion Layout 4
Sarcophagus Jonah 313 Jonah Middle Side left Sight right
Exit of the Santa Maria Antiqua Open doors
The column of Phocas stood firm in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance as well, reminiscent of the old Forum with the remainder largely being buried underground. In the 16th century, the Forum was a pasture for cows.
Other side Rijksmuseum Amsterdam G.B. Falda map surrounding 1676
Piranesi ‘Campo Vaccino’ c. 1747 Pannini ‘View on the Roman Forum’ 1735
The Roman Forum was dug up in the 19th century.
Veronika Maria Herwegen-Manini ‘The Roman Forum’ 1886, 82 x 136 cm
Imperial ramp of Domitian
The Imperial ramp of Domitian opens to public
“For the first time since it was discovered in 1900, a monumental ramp built by Emperor Domitian in Rome opened to the public on Tuesday, October 20th. Domitian built the ramp in the second half of the 1st century A.D. to connect the Roman Forum, the administrative and political heart of the city, to the imperial palace complex of the Palatine, the city’s center of power. With high walls flanked by storerooms, the imperial ramp went up seven levels with six turns between them and was as much 35 meters (115 feet) high. Of the seven original ramps levels, four remain, but they are more than sufficient to convey the majesty of the space and the symbolic significance of the steep ascension from the popular politics to imperial might. Visitors who walk the ramp will emerge atop the Palatine to a breathtaking view of the Roman Forum that before now regular folks haven’t had the chance to experience.”
Cited from: The History Blog
Continuation Rome day 3 Imperial Fora: Overview, Caesar and Augustus