Forum of Nerva is an ancient structure in Rome, Italy, chronologically the next to the last of the Imperial fora built. The Forum of Nerva was the fourth and smallest of the imperial fora. Its construction was started by Emperor Domitian before the year 85 AD, but officially completed and opened by his successor, Nerva, in 97 AD, hence its official name.
It is also referred to as the “Transient Forum” (Forum Transitorium) from its function and location between Forum of Augustus and Forum of Vespasian, an area through which the street called the Via Argiletum ran between the residential district of Subura and the Roman Forum. This street had long served as a market area, especially for booksellers and cobblers; the new forum continued to serve as both a thoroughfare and as a monumental entrance to the larger Roman Fora.
The layout of the Forum of Nerva was dictated by the existing space between pre-existing structures. The available space was long and narrow (131 x 45 meters), and had outer walls made from blocks of lava stone peperino, covered with marble slabs, and decorated with projecting paired columns. The frieze in the entablature depicted the myth of Arachne and other reliefs depicting representations of the personifications of Roman provinces.
Access to the forum was from the sides, with three openings on the Roman Forum side and a monumental entrance on the opposing side with an exedra porticata in the shape of a horseshoe. This entrance was called Porticus Absidata.
The northern and southern ends of the forum were shaped as crescents, with a temple to Minerva (the patron deity of Domitian) at the western end, embedded into the northern crescent adjacent to the Porticus Absidata. The temple was built on a high podium, and had six Corinthian columns in front and three on the side. The back of the temple was hidden from the Forum by a wall. Near the opposite end, there may have been a temple dedicated to Janus. The underground Cloaca Maxima ran the length of the forum.