The Forum of Pompeii

3d model and reconstruction

The Forum of Pompeii

All visitors who, over the past few centuries, have walked through the archaeological area in Pompeii, have tried at least once to image what the town must have looked like before it was wiped out by the fury of the volcano.

It might be exactly the relative architectural integrity of the urban texture (greater that in other sites), that encourages the wish to get to know what the town originally looked like. The work done by Altair 4 is aimed at reconstructing for modern-day visitors, in a way which is detailed and at the same scientifically rigorous, the town of Pompeii as it might have looked like twenty centuries ago.

All of the reconstructed monuments have been studied and reproduced in 3D based on scientific work following the most updated archaeological studies or even the drawings of the time, as well as on maps, photographs, aerial views, modern survey techniques or laser scanning.

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Short history of

The Forum of Pompeii

The Forum was the main square of the city. It was closed to traffic and accessible only by foot. All the monuments necessary for the political and legal administration and for the economic and religious life of the city were concentrated here, but it wasn’t until the II century BC that a true monumental square was constructed, in an area substantially free of older buildings.

Part of the external wall of the nearby sanctuary of Apollo had to be demolished nonetheless, since it would have otherwise invaded the space set aside for this new open area. During this phase, the square was paved with tufa slabs and already had a total surface area of 5,396 square meters. All of the buildings on the northwest and south sides of the square were built immediately, while on the east side there were the first macellum (meat and fish market), several taverns and perhaps private houses which were later destroyed to make room for new monuments. In order to partially conceal the irregular facades of the buildings in the southern part of the square, quaestor Ibius Popidius had a double portico erected, around the time of the founding of the Sullan colony. Shortly thereafter, the temple of Jupiter on the opposite side of the square was restored.

Interest in restructuring the Forum increased during the Augustan age, from the end of the I century BC to the beginning of the I century AD.  The old pavement in tufa was replaced by travertine marble, on which the name of the donor (unfortunately no longer legible) was written in large bronze letters.  On the eastern side, a series of buildings dedicated to the cult of the emperor were built, the old macellum was restored, and the entrances to the square were transformed into monumental arches. A curiosity: the Forum of Pompeii is one of the few in the Roman world in which the honorary statues were not concentrated in the center of the square, but rather arranged on the sides or even under the portico.

Between the end of the III and the beginning of the II century BC, a temple was also built on the northern side of the square. The building which we see is the result of subsequent restructuring which modified the original plan of the temple.

Only the original podium remains, of the type common to most Pompeian sanctuaries, identifying them as EtruscanItalic temples. This podium is hollow because it is composed of three aligned vaulted chambers.  All of the votive offerings brought to the temple as well as the items necessary for carrying out the rites were kept in these underground chambers. The upper part of the temple may have been modified when the Sullan colony was founded, by erecting six Corinthian columns on the facade.

During excavation, a colossal bust of a seated male figure was found among the ruins of the cella, presumably part of the cult statue, identified as Jupiter. This has led to the hypothesis that the temple was originally dedicated to Jupiter and then transformed into the main temple of the city, the Capitolium, located in the Forum as in most of the colonies founded by Rome.