Trajan’s Forum was built by the Emperor Trajan between 107 and 113 AD. It was financed by the immense wealth from the conquest of Dacia (modern Romania). Work was supervised by the most famous architect of the day, Apollodorus of Damascus.
Today all too little remains, hardly suggesting a complex that for centuries was held in awe as one of the architectural wonders of the world. Broken columns and wistful piles of stones are the only monuments to the temple of Trajan, once among the city’s mightiest.
Since the space between the existing forum and the hillsides was already taken up by buildings, Apollodorus had to cut into the ridge between the Quirinal and the Capitol. The new complex was truly immense (300 x 85 metres). The forum proper was entered through a monumental arch with a single vault. The two longer sides were colonnaded and in the middle stood an imposing equestrian statue of Trajan.
Reconstruction Video of Trajan’s Forum:
Reconstruction Sketch of Forum (Source):
The extensive clearances of the 1930’s brought to light only part of the forum: most of the area is still concealed under the modern roadway and gardens. Against the background of the forum rise the remains of the Basilica Ulpia, which contained important state archives and two libraries designed by Apollodorus, one utilized to store records in Latin and the other for those in Greek, a reflection of the empire’s bilingualism. The books, both rolls or bound codices, were kept in wooden presses set in the recesses still risible in the walls. The books were carefully catalogued and cared for by librarians, whose tasks included protecting them from damp.
Trajan’s Forum Photo Gallery:
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