Audio File length: 2.25
English Language: English

The Forum was a huge rectangular square that was the political, commercial and administrative center of Pompeii, so large that it could hold all the inhabitants of the city.

Around the square, try to imagine a large portico with Doric columns, and a complex of public buildings such as the administrative offices, the 'Comitium' where elections were held, and the 'Basilica' which was not a church but the place where justice was administered. Each of these buildings had a rich façade with marble decorations and statues, unfortunately no longer visible, as the entire Forum area was plundered shortly after the eruption of Vesuvius.

On a high podium stood the temple of Jupiter into which one entered by climbing a double flight of steps. The portico that preceded the interior was called the 'pronaos' and was very deep, while the inner space, called the 'cella', was surrounded by two rows of columns with the characteristic niches at the bottom for the three major deities: Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, the so-called 'Capitoline triad'. The podium gave access to underground rooms where the offerings of the faithful were kept and probably also the city's public treasury consisting of tax revenues.

Built around 150 BC, possibly on an earlier Etruscan temple, with the advent of the Roman Republic this temple had become the main sacred building in Pompeii.

On either side of the temple, you can see the remains of two honorary arches: the one on the right, of which not much remains, was probably dedicated to the emperor Caligula and was demolished on his death, while the one on the left was dedicated to Drusus, son of the emperor Tiberius.

To the right of the temple of Jupiter, along the piazza, there are four other sacred places dedicated to the emperor's cult. One of these was Macellum, inside which there was even an area for selling fish.


Here’s an interesting fact: The emperor Caligula was given a punishment called damnatio memoriae, meaning 'condemnation of memory', which involved the destruction of any trace that might recall him, including monuments and statues. That is why the arch dedicated to him here in the Forum was destroyed.


TravelMate! The travel app that tells you about the Wonders of the World!
Share on