Roman Ruins
Brief HistoryPhotos, Part 1
    Before I visited Rome, I had traveled in England, France, Switzerland and northern Italy.  In those countries I had seen numerous ruins of the Roman Empire, i.e. Roman Ruins. ( Since I spent so much time on the Rome Index page about it, I think I'll spare you here).  However, I discovered that Rome is the one place that has the most Roman Ruins of any place I have been. ( Go ahead and groan)
  Ruins are spread all over Rome.  They are discovered when houses are rebuilt, or foundations are being dug. ( The "modern" city of Rome is about 15 or so feet over the old city, so there are many ruins buried underground.  The same is true for cities in Greece.)  There
are also some very famous ruins in the city, being the Coliseum, Roman Forum and the Pantheon.  These pages are dedicated to those ruins.
Many pictures in this section were identified by Bill Thayer and Dr. Thayer was kind enough to provide some insightful commentary for the pictures and I would like to thank him for taking his time to do so. I hope you enjoy the photos. Any comments, please E-mail me, .


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All photos by John L. Polos
Copyright October 5, 1997

The High Altar

The Pantheon

Raphael's Tomb
The Pantheon (Above and right) was a temple built to worship all of the Roman gods. When Constantine converted the Roman Empire to Christianity it became a church. It is a splendid reminder of Ancient Rome, though the front does look a little pot marked by holes (Bullets?). Its dome at one time was the largest in Europe until Brunelleschi's dome in Florence was built (I believe Brunelleschi's dome was modeled after the Pantheon's dome). The Pantheon is quite a feat though and extremely beautiful inside. It functions as a church, as well as a burial for Raphael as well as Italy's first two kings.

The Coliseum

Colosseum, Exterior

cross section of the Coliseum

Colosseum, Interior

Ancient Romans???
 The Flavian Amphitheater in Rome. Named the Roman Colosseum because it was built on the Ruins of Nero's palace next to a giant statue (a Colossus ) of Nero. It was built at a time when the people of Rome down (Did I mention Nero) and needed a distraction. So down came Nero and up went the world famous Colosseum.
The Colosseum is a tribute to Roman builders. The design if fairly basic, the Flavian took two Amphitheaters and stuck them together to form an arena. The building is built of concrete and bricks and full of their trademark arches. Rich Steves says that the Greeks were the artists and the Romans were the builders and this is proof of that. A building that was built with Roman arches and decorated in the classical Greek style.
 It was here the Roman's held their gladiatorial games, with man against man or man against beast. Trap doors in the floor would allow famous gladiators to make a grand entrance, or to allow the Caesar to spring animals into the arena. Apparently they could even flood the floor and hold mock naval battles in here.
 The Colosseum could hold 50,000 spectators, and could be emptied with the ease of our modern "Super Stadiums". Sailors would hoist sails over the top to shade the fans in the Hot Roman Sun
  The original floor has given way so you can see the network of passages that the both willing and unwilling fighters followed so they could "pop up" through trap doors into the Arena. Lastly, the Colosseum had two levels of seating.

Arch of Constantine

The Forum
The Arch of Constantine stands on what was once one of the four corners of the city of Romulus, next to the Roman Forum. Victory parades would go through this arch on their way up to the forum. Originally a colossal statue of Nero stood here but was removed!   The Roman forum stands near the Colosseum. It was here that everyday life was centered around. It was here that the Roman Senate sat. The Caesars house looked over its buildings from Palatine Hill.

Bas Max Outside

Bas Max Inside
  Bas Max, was a huge building. The building stretched a football fields length back form those arch ways. All that is left are these alcoves that were at one end.
The Roman Forum

Overview of Forum

Temple of Saturn

Temple of Castor and Pollux

Ceasar's Private Stadium
Around Rome

Section of the Aurelian wall
This section of the wall was/is most likely NW of the Porta S. Paolo. Recently there was a collapse of a 20m-long section of the Wall, almost certainly due to bad restoration in 1999. Again, thanks to Dr. Thayer for identifying the picture.

Sacra Repubblicana del Largo Argentina
This was a complex of 4 temples located in a square called properly Largo della Torre Argentina. The base of one of the temples goes back to something like the 6th century BC. (Thank you to Dr. Thayer for the info)

Arch of Titus
A.k.a. Victory Arch

Forum of Tarjan

Temple of Antoninus Pius & Faustina
Now the Church of San Lorenzo

Arches (From Bas Max)

House on Palatine Hill

Palatine Hill