The Temple of Peace, called the Forum of Peace from the late imperial period, was built by Emperor Vespasian between 71 and 75 AD to commemorate the Roman victory in Judea of 70 AD. It was composed of a large rectangular square surrounded by a portico on three sides and containing a temple dedicated to Peace, on the rearside. The northern and southern sides of the portico contained two rectangular exedras, one of which is still visible under the Torre dei Conti. There were four large halls, two either side of the temple, and these probably also contained libraries. One of these halls was later transformed into the Church of the Saints Cosma and Damiano during the 6th century AD. The adjacent hall, completely made of brickwork, housed the Forma Urbis, the great map of Rome dating back to the reign of Septimius Severus and that was engraved on marble slabs. The central part of the forum probably contained a garden with flower-beds and ornamental fountains, as recent excavations also show. The Forum of Peace also housed many works of art, including the seven-branched candelabrum brought back from Jerusalem and many statues that had previously adorned Nero’s Golden House (the Domus Aurea) and which Vespasian restored to public enjoyment. Some bases with inscriptions have been found of some of these statues.Destroyed by a fire during the reign of Commodus in 192, the forum was restored by Septimius Severus. It again suffered damage in the 5th century and was then abandoned, as Procopius wrote in the 6th century. In the early Middle Ages the area was used as a burial ground, as some graves dating back to the 6-7th century AD show. Among the most important objects brought to light in recent excavations, there is a fragment of a marble statue depicting one of the provinces of the empire, with the remaining draped trunk and right arm.
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