Reconstruction of the attic from one of the porticoes in the Forum of Augustus
Section on the Forum of Augustus
Inaugurated in the 2 BC, the Forum of Augustus consists of a rectangular square paved with white marble slabs, dominated, at its lower end, by the temple dedicated to Mars Ultor, also built in white marble from the quarry in Luni today known as Carrara. The temple was built against a high wall built of blocks of tufa stone that separated the forum from the rowdy Subura neighborhood.
The square was flanked on both sides by long deep porticoes in which the column shafts were made of ancient yellow marble. The attic above the columns is embellished with decorative Caryatids, whose elegant hairstyles support a headband carved from the same block, above which is a Doric capital with echinus, embellished with a typical Ionic kyma. The Caryatids appear to be holding up the coping with a baccellatura motif. In the recesses between the Caryatids, quadrangular panels feature round shields bearing an assortment of motifs set in convex frames whilst at the centre, there are heads of Jupiter each with different features.
There are several rooms dedicated to the Forum of August inside the Museum of the Imperial Fora, each displaying various reconstructions of the architectural elements from the Temple of Mars Ultor. These include the orders from both the porticoes and the exedra, and in fact one of the most significant of these is a partition from the attic above the Forum's porticoes which were located the most prestigious area in Trajan's Market: the Great Hall.
The reconstruction of the attic from one of the porticoes in the Forum of Augustus was achieved by piecing together several original pieces in Luna marble integrated with resin moulds and other pieces made of limestone.
Piece of the roof coping (the shaped upper end or sima, with rainwater spout shaped like a lion's head) FA 1118
Various sections of the roof coping:
FA 909 FA 917 FA 918 FA 914
Head of Jupiter Hammon: FA 2513
Piece of the frame from a shield (clipeus): FA 1117
Section of frame surrounding a panel (comprising three pieces that fit together)
FA 4385 4328 4302
Resin mould of a Caryatid taken from the original held in the National Archaeological Museum of Florence in the Villa Corsini (13711)
Large architectural elements
Large architectural elements
The large size of the marble pieces displayed in this room make it possible to appreciate the monumentality of the architectural orders of the Forum of Augustus and, above all, the great variety of marble that was used.
The interiors of the buildings, in complete contrast to the main square where white Luna (now Carrara) marble was pre-eminent, were enriched with wall facings and paving in various types of marble that were also used in the columns of the architectural orders. A whole range of brightly coloured marbles were supplied by vast quarries - that became Imperial property during this period - from all corners of the Roman Empire.
This room is home to a lesene shaft (semi-column) in antique yellow marble from the quarries in Chemtou (modern-day Algeria), that comes from the second order of the exedra, as well as the echinus from the shaft of a column located between the porticoes, the exedra made of marble from Africa and the Greek Island of Teos, as well as the shaft of a pilaster in (green) Cipollino marble.