The Roman Forum
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
What a scene is this! The whole earth holds no prospect more wonderful. Its endless associations overwhelm and confuse both the memory and the imagination. Standing here, the world's greatest scholars have gazed and wondered. Speaking of our visit, one traveler says: "The whole scene trembled, for an instant, in my vision, for I knew that one of the greatest desires of my life was on the point of fulfilment, and that I was at last actually gazing on the spot of earth which had been for centuries the brain of the Roman Empire, the focus of the power and intelligence of the human race, and, frequently, the stage on which the most stupendous dramas in Rome's history were performed, with consuls, emperors and generals as the actors, and for an audience the dazzled world."
We are looking east by south now. Those five columns of the Temple of Saturn, (a part of which was seen before on our right), now stand up majestically a little to our left. On our extreme left are the arches of the Constantine Basilica, and farther away, more to the right, is the Colosseum. There is a large church directly in front of it, but the mammoth proportions of the great amphitheater swell out grandly on both sides. To the right of the Colosseum, standing on higher ground, is the Arch of Titus, while the eminence on the extreme right, piled with ruins nearly to its summit, is the home of the Caesars, the Palatine Hill. All this territory has been crowded with buildings and then destroyed by fire or pillage and then crowded again time after time, during the Republic and the Empire. But the nucleus from which it all started, the original Forum, lies down there on our left. We called attention before to the Forum limits on three sides ; now we can see the limits on the south-westerly side. The large space below on our right with its regular rows of bases for columns, is the foundation of the Basilica Julia. We can see the front steps of this Basilica around the column of the Temple of Saturn farthest away. It was that Basilica, together with the Temple of Castor and Pollux to the east of it, which formed the boundary on this side of the Forum.
In the distance we have a magnificent prospect over the Campagna to the Alban Hills, of which we caught a glimpse from our Position 3.
Before we consider more in detail the whole area spread out here before us we shall go for a few minutes only to one more standpoint, the location of which is just this side, and to the right of the Arch of Titus. From there we shall look back this way to the Capitol building in which we are standing. On the map of the Forum that standpoint is found in front of the Basilica of Constantine. The two bounding red lines connected with the number 29 extend toward the left, on the map, or toward the west.