Forum of Trajan

Via dei Fori Imperiali, 00186 Roma RM, Italy

Simona Bertolaso



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The Forum of Trajan, the last and grandest of the Imperial Forums, was built by Trajan between 107 (the year of his triumph over the Dacians) and 113 CE by flattening a piece of the Quirinal, or saddle that joined it to the Capitol. The monument, the work of the great architect Apollodorus of Damascus, was a total of 300 meters long and 185 meters wide and was laid out on terraces slightly elevated above each other.
The plan of Trajan’s Forum was more articulated and complex than that of his predecessors: it included, in fact, a vast square, flanked by porticoes with exedras behind, dominated on one side by the imposing Basilica Ulpia, behind which stood the Column of Trajan, between the two rooms interpreted as libraries; on the opposite side, the plaza was enclosed by a large hall with a trisegmented plan (with a rectilinear central sector and oblique side sectors facing inward), whose monumental columned facade served as a backdrop to the colossal equestrian statue of the emperor, and, behind the central sector of this, by a quadrangular courtyard that was intended to put the complex in communication with the Forum of Augustus.
The monumental complex was used as a solemn backdrop for public ceremonies, witnessed on several occasions by ancient sources, and for the erection of statues, intended to honor illustrious figures in the various eras.

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