The cultural identity of a community is not a static entity, but fluctuating and situational. As such cultural identity can be studied in an ‘évenemential’ continuum as also in the changing spatial frames within which it is conceived and where it is manifested. The Roman Forum is such a case of a special frame for the study and comprehension in historical terms of such a process: in a cross-cultural perspective, there are rarely examples of urban spaces that constitute such a privileged observatory for the understanding of the continuously evolving identities of a civilization in the long historical term. The Forum had been constituted as a common community centre in the process of state formation (it was the central place where the most important communal affairs, as also political functions, converged) and it changed as the Roman state evolved in time, maintaining a major role until the fall of the Roman empire. Despite this, the gappiness of data placed it on the margins of the debate on cultural identity. Now, for the first time, it is possible to follow the topographical history of the Roman Forum from the mid-8th cent. B.C to the mid-6th cent A.D., through the plans and topographical reconstructions elaborated in my previous research. By applying to these topographical work the new theoretical approaches to understanding space (the spatial turn), through an analytical taxonomy of the human activities in their topographical context (a social GIS of the Roman Forum), it is possible to carry out this research to a new level of elaboration: my aim is to restore visibility to the women and the men who used this space, their multiplicity and their changes, with a better comprehension of the feed-back dynamics of the Roman cultural ‘imaginaire’ and of its continuous reiterations and reinventions, by putting back to the Forum its role as a multi-ethnic and not static place, origin and product of different pulses, as is the present Rome and Europe.
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