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Overview

To experience the Roman Forum one needs to have an idea of where one is. Otherwise, one stands between a large amount of meaningless debris.

Marcus Antonius delivered his famous speech here in connection with the murder of Caesar and here Caesar's body was also burned. Here Cicero delivered his famous Catilinian speeches. Gladiators have paraded here and masses have taken place under massive interest. The chief priest, Pontifex Maximus, had his residence there, and the Vestal Virgins lived there. Public executions were carried out here and there was a large brothel.
From the roof of the Basilica Julia, Caligula (37-41) - at least that is what he is credited with - is said to have spread money over the gathered crowd, because he liked to see the people fighting over it. This unbalanced man, who like other emperors had recruited bodyguards from the Low Countries for "rabies and barbarism", reigned in terror. He had an incestuous relationship with his three sisters, had his own adoptive son Gemellus murdered, wanted to make his horse Incitatus a consul and painted his beard gold. He is accused of causing people from the public to be thrown into the arena when there were not enough convicted criminals available.