A warm and sunny spring day is perfect for walking around the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and the Capitoline Museums.
The Roman Forum
There are so many things to see in the Roman Forum. Big iconic structures with lots of known history, and little bits of marble with their stories untold.
The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina dates from AD 141 and was dedicated by the Senate first to Faustina, wife of Emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161) and then to Antoninus when he died in 161.
An interesting piece of marble that caught my attention.
The cult of Vesta was one of the oldest and most important cults of Roman religion. Vestal Virgins tended the sacred fire of Rome, its life force. Except for the Pontifex Maximus, men were forbidden to enter the temple.
The House of the Vestal Virgins was attached to the Temple.
The women who became Vestal Virgins were chosen from aristocratic Roman families from the ages of 6 to 10. They served in this prestigious post for 30 years.
The Palatine Hill
This was the hill where the emperors lived in palatial palaces. 130 m long and once clad in decorated marble, the Neronian Cryptoporticus was an underground corridor that linked the huge imperial palaces of the Julio-Claudian period (1st century AD).
The Palatine Stadium, not its historical name, was part of the Flavian Palace (2nd half of 1st century AD). I was amazed by its size which I’m not sure the photo shows. The gardens and grounds covered an area of 160 x 48m, and the walls around it tower over it.
A view of the Roman Forum and the Capitoline Hill from the Palatine Hill.
In Michaelangelo’s courtyard outside the Capitoline Museums is a copy of the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius made in 1997.
Inside is the original dating from around AD 176-180.
I liked the statue of the Emperor Commodus (reigned AD 180-192), son of M. Aurelius, as Hercules. Commodus was not a popular emperor (Joaquin Phoenix played him in the film Gladiator), and he ended up being assassinated.
Another impressive statue was the Dying Gaul. It is a Roman marble copy of a Hellenistic bronze original which probably dates from the 2nd or 3rd century AD. Notice the Celtic torque around his neck.