In c. 48 BC., Julius Caesar (the Dutch word ‘keizer’ is derived from this) takes the seat of power. He was assassinated in the senate (Jean-Léon Gérôme) in 44 BC by twenty-three senators, each of them plunging a knife into his body. In the five years of Caesar’s reign, the Roman Forum changed considerably: See Map (structures of Republican Rome are shown in red, those of Imperial Rome in black)
The basilica Aemilia was restored, the basilica Sempronia was rebuilt in a large and new basilica. The old senate building, the Curia Hostilia from the republican era, was rebuilt in the Curia Julia (the current curia was rebuilt by Diocletian around 300 AD).
On the spot where Caesar’s body was burned, Augustus – the first emperor and successor of Caesar, founded the divine temple of Julius Caesar. An altar was placed in front of the temple where sacrifices for Caesar could be made.
This worship of Caesar and of the later emperors signalled the end to the old comitium, where the chieftains first gathered and where later on the senate made their important decisions.
The temple of Vespasian and Titus
The later emperors also heavily influenced the square. For example, at the foot of the Capitoline, next to the Concordia (reconstruction) around 81 AD, the Vespasian temple in honour of Vespasian and his son Titus was founded. The temple held the statues of the emperor and his son on pedestals. When Vespasian died, he tried his utmost best to die standing; befitting of an emperor. Facing death, Vespasian allegedly mockingly said: ‘What a pity, I believe that I am turning into a God.’ Three columns of this temple remain as of 2003, which include depictions like oxen as a force against evil. More about the temple of Vespasian and Titus: Digitalis Forum Romanum (English)
“The original inscription on the upper part of the architrave reads:
DIVO VESPASIANO AVGUSTO S. P. Q. R.
Beneath the previous inscription a new one is added:
IMPP. CAESS. SEVERVS ET ANTONINVS PII FELIC[ES] AVGG RESTITVER[ENT].
Only the last word is saved on the frieze of the front.”
The Antoninus and Faustina temple
The other side of the Forum is home to the Antoninus and Faustina temple. When the wife of Antoninus, Faustina, passed away, he commissions a temple in 141 AD, to worship her as a new deity (diva). Because this temple was converted into a church in the 11th century, named the San Lorenzo in Miranda, it has remained the best preserved temple on the Forum Romanum. Later on this temple was given a baroque wall.
Next to this temple / church is the so-called temple of Romulus. This temple from the early 4th century AD was also likely a temple devoted to a deity. This one is not devoted to the Romulus, but according to some archaeologists to the son of emperor Maxentius, who was named Romulus. The temple is in good condition and still has its original doors and locks.
E. Dupérac ‘Ruins of the Temples of Antoninus and Faustina and Romulus’ 1575
E. Dupérac Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Present situation of the two temples
Matthijs Bril ‘Ruins on the Roman Forum’ 1560 – 1610′ Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Willem van Nieulandt (II) ‘Gezicht op het Forum Romanum’ 1594-1635 Rijksmuseum