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)
The Hall of the Colossus
The Hall of the Colossus
The Colossus stood on a high podium made from blocks of tufa stone. It was part of the original design of the Hall and sculpted whilst the Hall itself was being built. The footprints still visible on the top of the podium, cut into the slabs of Pavonazzetto marble used to face it, show that the weight of the figure was resting on the left foot, (approx 177cm long) which was positioned in front of the right, (which was 166cm long) which was almost touching the wall behind. Only three pieces still remain of this acrolithic statue (one in which the torso is made of wood or iron, usually concealed by drapery or gilding, and only the marble feet, head and hands are exposed), all of which are of white Greek marble from the Island of Paros. These three pieces are: the right hand which is clasping a symbolic circular object, the extended back of the left hand and a small part of the underside of the right forearm, perhaps just beyond the wrist. All have been modelled so that they can be attached to the supporting structure that was probably in wood. All are extraordinarily life-like thanks to the mastery with which the veins were carved with great delicacy and reality.
A credible estimation of the height of the statue is that it was approximately 11 meters tall, a measurement that is borne out by markings on the wall behind it, and it was more than likely a representation of Genius Augusti (implying he was the son of Gods and father of men).
The wall at the back of hall, just behind the Colossus, was faced with rectangular slabs of white Luna marble (up to the height of the statue at least) that were slightly rounded to resemble draped fabric, a sort of backdrop, which was painted with decorative plant motifs.