312 HI- Southern Quarters. ROME. e. Forum of Trajan:
side of the massive enclosing wall and runs to the right to the Via
Cavour (p. 216). This street is so named from the fortified Torre
de' Conti erected in the pontificate of Innocent III., who was a
member of the Roman family of Conti. The greater part of the
tower was pulled down at the beginning of the 17th century.
Before reaching the tower we turn to the right into the Via della
Croce Bianca, which crosses the site of the Forum of Nerva,
sometimes called the Forum Transitorium from having been
intersected by an important street. Here stood a tempie of Minerva,
the marble of which was used by Paul V. for the decoration of the
Acqua Paola (p. 425), and a small tempie of Janus Quadrifrons.
Remains of the external walls exist in the so-called * Colonnacce,
two half-buried Corinthian columns. The entablature projecting
over them is enriched with reliefs representing Minerva as patron-
ess of the arts, weaving, etc, and as a companion of the nine
Muses. This fragment, situated at the intersection of the Via
Alessandrina and Via della Croce Bianca, may afford an idea of the
former magnificence of the structure.
The Via Alessandrina leads hence, crossing the Via Bonella
and the site of the Forum of Augustus (see p. 309), to the Foro
Traiano (PI. II, 20).
The *Forum óf Trajan was an aggregation of magnificent
edifices, said to have been designed by Apollodorus of Damascus
(A.D. 111-114). By means of a huge cutting between the Capitol
and the Quirinal, Trajan effected a convenient communication be¬
tween the Fora of the ancient city and the Campus Martius
(pp. 289, xxxiii). His forum measured about 220 yds. in width and
was of stili greater length; and it was considered the finest of the
many magnificent constructions in Rome. In 1812-14 the French
governnient partly excavated the centrai portion.
Ammianus (xvi, 10) thus describes it on the occasion of the visit of
the Emp. Constantius in 356: — 'But when he reached the Forum of
Trajan, a work which, we suppose, is entirely unique and which even the
gods cannot help admiring, he stood stili as if thunderstruck, permit-
ting his eyes to wander over the gigantic edifices, the description of
which transcends the powers of speech and the like of which can never
again be attempted by mortals.' — According to a legend of the 7th cent.,
Gregory the Great, while admiring the ancient splendour of the forum
one day, and saddened by the thought that so just and benignant a
monarch as its founder should be condemned to everlasting perdition,
succeeded by his prayers in obtaining the release of Trajan's soul from
The general ground-plan embraced four parts, reckoned from S.
to N. : the Forum proper, the Basilica, the Libraries (with Trajan's
Column in the court), and the Tempie. Hitherto only the second
and third part, and these but partially, have been excavated. The
forum adjoined that of Augustus; the principal entrance, dignified
by a triumphal arch, lay near the modern Via del Priorato. Part