The Roman Forum is my favorite place on Earth and I have spent *many days* there on eight trips searching and just wandering around. It is after all just a pile of old rocks :-) but what makes it interesting is the stories that they can tell!
Your best guide in the Roman Forum is your own IMAGINATION. Try visualizing what it looked like, not just the buildings but the people going about their business. For example: Behind the Basilica Julia on the edge of the Forum there are just two ugly brick piers right in front of the modern day wc/bathrooms. Those brick piers once formed a marble faced arch at the beginning of a short (about 100 m) street. It was the 'Street of the Perfume Sellers'.
So while waiting in line for the wc :-) . *Imagine* this beautiful marble-faced archway, look through it and down that ancient street. It's lined on both sides with perfume shops and the owners are loudly hawking their wares to the women passing by. See that old rich aristocratic woman with her slaves shopping for the newest expensive imported fad fragrance. And over there that common Roman housewife who saved a few coins from the household budget looking for that bargain scent to spice up her sex life :-) . And there, the young virgin bride-to-be shopping next to a famous concubine to the stars :-) . And of course a few men looking for a gift for their wife, mistress or favorite slave girl, perhaps all three for some :-) . And the slaves of the owners and customers silent and sullen in the background who will never know such luxuries. You see if you know the street had perfume shops on it with a little imagination and realistically tying in perfume, women and sex, you can visualize it along with the actual people and events you might have seen there.
I made printed notes that I took with me from websites, history and guidebooks, TV documentaries, tours, etc and even some guesses.
So with this condensed version I have added directions to make it into a walking tour. I tried to include major and minor tidbits that you won't find in your guidebooks or hear from a tour guide. And often guidebooks and tour guides are wrong (urban legends), inaccurate or just give one possible version of the sites, events or people when there are others. So if I wrote something here different from what you read or heard from a tour guide, I have probably read or heard it also. But in researching these sites or events I found that often these descriptions are wrong.
Examples like: there is no definite proof that the 'Temple of Romulus' was dedicated to Emperor Maxentius' dead son Romulus. Or the deep grooves on the columns of the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina were caused by Renaissance workers trying to pull them down.
I tried to be as accurate as I could from what I have read, heard or seen but you can always find another version. *Bottom line*, I personally didn't dig up the Forum and uncover these sites or write the history books :-) , this info is out there in many sources, I just threw it all together and tried to choose the one (or two) I thought was the most accurate. So if I'm wrong in a few things, so be it :-) .
I have had these notes for a few years and I'm always adding things. And I have wanted to write a walking tour with them but time and wanting to write it properly, I just never got around to it. So I'm just throwing it out there right now, if not, I never will :-) . I'll be adding sites to this thread as I write them, it will probably take a while.
In the 'Roman Forum Beginning' I chose one version of the Romulus and Remus myth. I believe it is very possible these two men actually existed because someone had to start this city. And they just became mythological figures over the years by the embellishing of the story through the storytelling (oral history).Next: #1: The Roman Forum Beginnings