The Forum was originally covered by a swamp. It was only in the late 7th century BCE that the valley was reclaimed and the Roman Forum began to take shape. It was destined to remain the centre of public life for over a millennium.
The various monuments were built through the centuries: first the buildings for political, religious and commercial activities, then during the 2nd century BCE the civil basilicas, used for judicial activities. Already at the end of the republican age, the ancient Roman Forum had become insufficient to serve as the administrative and representative centre of the city.
The various dynasties of emperors added only prestigious monuments: the Temple of Vespasian and Titus and that of Antoninus Pius and Faustina, dedicated to the memory of the deified emperors, and the monumental Arch of Septimius Severus, built at the western end of the Forum in 203 CE to celebrate the emperor’s victories over the Parthians. (read more)