The Via Sacra or Sacred Way is the main street and the widest street in the Forum.
In the fifth century B.C., the road was supported by a substructure to protect it from the rain. Later it was paved and during the reign of Nero it was lined with colonnades.
This road was the setting for many deeds and misdeeds of Rome's history, the solemn religious festivals, the magnificent triumphs of victorious generals, and the daily throng assembling in the Basilicas to chat, throw dice, engage in business, or secure justice.
Horace relates the story of once when he was strolling down the Sacred Way, a man rushed up, greeted him, and continued to walk by his side. Although Horace tried to evade his companion, walking first quickly, then slowly, whispering to his servant that he was going to the country and did not wish to take the stranger out of his way, the companion refused to take the hint. A friend of Horace's walked up and took note of Horace's situation. The friend decided it was a good joke, he purposely hurried away, leaving Horace to the mercies of the bore. Fortunately for the poet, however, a man who was engaged in a lawsuit with Horace's would-be companion, appeared around the corner and dragged the fellow off to court. "Thus did Apollo rescue me," says the poet.
Top of Page