Forum Romanum (The Republican Period)

N. Purcell

FORUM ROMANUM (THE REPUBLICAN PERIOD). The political, institutional, constitutionaland symbolic centre of the Roman state in the Republican period (Dion.Hal. 3.67.3), the f.R. was a large open space formed already in the 7th c. (see f.R. Periodoarcaico) by the levelling of thefloor of the valley of the Cloaca Maxima (q.v.)stream (Dion. Hal. 2.50.2).The principal legacy of this distinctive primordial landscape in the historicalperiod was that the f. R. remained physically a topographically specialplace within the city, in a way that was not true of the agorà atAthens for instance. The neighboring districts retained the early designationsof the muddy valley floor, Argiletum and Velabrum, throughoutAntiquity; the two principal streets out of the f. R. towards theriver and Rome's early port, the vicus Iugarius and the vicus Tuscus,hugged the hill-foot. The f. R. remained until the Middle Ages thespace towards which the two most important of the Seven Hills, the Palatineand the Capitoline, faced and from which they were most easily and normallyaccessible, by means of the Sacra via and the clivus Capitolinus,respectively.

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© Nicholas Purcell