Forum of Trajan, Rome Foro di Traiano
The Forum of the Emperor Trajan (A.D. 98-117), the last, largest and best preserved on the Imperial fora, comprised a considerable complex of buildings, including a temple and basilica as well as three monuments erected in honor of the Emperor himself - a triumphal arch, an equestrian statue and a victory column. The markets extended northeast up the Quirinal hill.
Forum of Trajan Map
Address: Via dei Fori Imperiali, I-00186 Rome, Italy
Opening hours: 9am-1pm; Sun: 9am-12:30pm; Closed: Mon
Transit: Metro: Colosseo (line B).
Forum of Trajan Highlights
This victory column which has undergone costly cleaning and renovation, is a magnificent monument to Roman Imperial power and the skill of Roman sculptors. The column 38m/125ft high and constructed of marble from the Greek island of Paros, is covered with a spiral frieze 200m/655ft long, with over 2,500 figures depicting Trajan's wars with the Dacians in 101-102 and 105-106. This frieze, with its fighting soldiers, prancing horses and the whole panoply of Roman military equipment, is worth studying in detail - though this is more difficult for the modern visitor than for the ancients, who could examine the reliefs from the windows of the two libraries. A spiral staircase of 185 steps runs up inside the column, lit by 43 narrow slits in the wall of the column. In the base of the column was a golden urn containing the Emperor's ashes, and on its summit was a golden statue of Trajan. The statue was lost during the Middle Ages and in 1588 Pope Sixtus V replaced it with a figure of the Apostle Peter with his key.
To the north of Trajan's Forum was a semicircular range of market halls in three tiers, the ruins of which, with their red-brick walls and high vaulted roofs, form an impressive termination to the group of Imperial fora, rising up the slopes of the Quirinal hill to Via Quattro Novembre. The difference in level was skillfully exploited by the architect, Apollodorus of Damascus (early second century). In establishing his markets Trajan was concerned to ease the financial burdens of the population by maintaining prices at a reasonable level and to reduce social tensions by the distribution of Imperial subsidies.