The Shrine of Vulcan , or Vulcanal, or Volcanal, was an 8th-century BC sacred precinct on the future site of the Roman Forum. Dedicated to Vulcan, the Roman god of fire, it was traditionally considered to commemorate the spot where the legendary figures Romulus and Tatius concluded the peace treaty between the tribes known as the Latins — on the Palatine Hill — and the Sabines — on the Quirinal and Esquiline. This famous merger of the hill-villages was said to be the foundation of the Roman state.
The original Vulcanal was an open-air altar on the slopes of the Capitoline Hill in Rome in the area that would later become the Comitium and Roman Forum. It was located in the open here, between the hill-villages, in the days before Rome existed, because the fire god was considered to be too destructive to be located anywhere near an occupied house. It contained a lotus tree and cypress tree long honored as being older than the city of Rome itself. According to literary sources, the site originally featured a sculpture of a four-horse chariot celebrating Romulus' victory over the Caeninenses — and said to have been dedicated by Romulus himself. This was later supplemented with a statue of that king, inscribed with Greek letters and celebrating his deeds. Other monuments erected here from the earliest times included a statue of Horatius Cocles and another standing on a column and representing an actor who had been struck by lightning during the games in the Circus Maximus. Behind the excavated foundation of the altar of Vulcan are traces of a flight of steps, cut into the tufa of the Capitoline Hill, which lead up to the vestibule of the Temple of Concord, just to the northwest.
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