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Column of Phocas, Rome

3.7
#1072 of 2,913 in Things to do in Rome
The Column of Phocas is a Roman monumental column in the Roman Forum of Rome, Italy. Erected before the Rostra and dedicated or rededicated in honour of the Eastern Roman Emperor Phocas on August 1, 608, it was the last addition made to the Forum Romanum. The fluted Corinthian column stands 13.6 m tall on its cubical white marble socle. On stylistic grounds, the column seems to have been made in the 2nd century for an unknown structure, and then recycled for the present monument. Likewise, the socle was recycled from its original use supporting a statue dedicated to Diocletian; the former inscription was chiselled away to provide a space for the later text.The base of the column was uncovered in 1813, and the inscription on it reads, in Latin:The English translation is as follows:The precise occasion for this signal honour is unknown, though Phocas had formally donated the Pantheon to Pope Boniface IV, who rededicated it to all the martyrs and Mary . Atop the column's capital was erected by Smaragdus, the Exarch of Ravenna, a "dazzling" gilded statue of Phocas . Rather than a demonstration to mark papal gratitude as it is sometimes casually declared to be, the gilded statue on its column was more likely an emblem of the imperial sovereignty over Rome, which was rapidly fading under pressure from the Lombards, and a personal mark of gratitude from Smaragdus, who had been recalled by Phocas from a long exile and was indebted to the Emperor for retrieving his position of power at Ravenna.
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  • This column was erected in 608 and was the last monument erected in Roman Forum to honor someone. The honor was the Byzantine emperor Foca.  more »
  • This monument, the last to be added to Foro Romano, in the 600’s is dedicated to Emperor Phocas. It still stands after 1400 years. It is a large column resting upon a white marble base atop a brick...  more »
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  • Phocas was byzantine emperor from early 600's in that time when both cities, Rome and Constantinopl were in the same state after justinianian reconquest from Ostrogoths. Makes us wonder how the city itself was much alive though the roman empire has long fallen to barbarians - the real turning point were Arab conquest and ending of trade with East.
  • Rich historical place.

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