Roman Sunset


The stone pathway of the ancient Roman Forum.

These eight columns standing firm in silhouette as the sun sets on yet another day have done so for at least 600,000 days, perhaps as many as 913,000 days. This is what is left of the Temple of Saturn, which was an integral part of the Roman Forum during the Empire’s rule of the known world. The temple and the rest of the Forum were lost to the world in the Middle Ages. The ruins of this once great economic and cultural center were buried and the area eventually became known as “the cow field.” Excavation started in the 18th century and continues today.

These eight columns are all that remains of what must have been a temple that rivaled the Acropolis in Athens. It is thought that the temple housed the Roman treasury for many centuries so this was indeed an important building. It was rebuilt in the 4th century after it was destroyed by fire, but by that time it had already stood for nearly 900 years. Original construction took place in 497 BC.  It is thought that the materials used to rebuild the structure were mostly recycled from the original. That makes these columns potentially more than 2,500 years old. Rome is known as the eternal city and these columns are just one of many reasons as to why.

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