Forum (Roman)

A forum (Latin forum "public place outdoors",[1] plural fora; English plural either fora or forums) was a public square in a Roman municipium, or any civitas, reserved primarily for the vending of goods; i.e., a marketplace, along with the buildings used for shops and the stoas used for open stalls. Many fora were constructed at remote locations along a road by the magistrate responsible for the road, in which case the forum was the only settlement at the site and had its own name, such as Forum Popili or Forum Livi.[2]

Forum of Pompeii
Forum of Pompeii, seen from above the Basilica with a drone

The functions of a forum

Jerash BW 12
The Forum of Jerash, in Jordan. The columns mark the location of a stoa, or covered walkway, where the stalls of open-air vendors might be located in bad weather. Note the semi-circular shape and traces of a central podium, similar in function to a theatre.

In addition to its standard function as a marketplace, a forum was a gathering place of great social significance, and often the scene of diverse activities, including political discussions and debates, rendezvous, meetings, et cetera. In that case it supplemented the function of a conciliabulum.

Every municipium had a forum. Fora were the first of any civitas synoecized whether Latin, Italic, Etruscan, Greek, Celtic or some other. The first forums were sited between independent villages in the period, known only through archaeology. After the rise of the Roman Republic, the most noted forum of the Roman world, the Roman Forum in Rome itself, served as a model of new construction. By the time of the late Republic expansions refurbishing of the forums of the city had inspired Pompey Magnus to create the Theatre of Pompey in 55 BC. The Theatre included a massive forum behind the theatre arcades known as the Porticus Pompei (Colonnades of Pompey). The structure was the forebearer to Julius Caesar's first Imperial forum and the rest to follow.

Other major fora are found in Italy; however, they are not to be confused with the piazza of the modern town, which may have originated from a number of different types of ancient civic centers, or more likely was its own type. While similar in use and function to fora, most were created in the Middle Ages and are often not a part of the original city footprint.

Fora were a regular part of every Roman province in the Republic and the Empire, with archaeological examples at:

Fresco from the House of Julia Felix, Pompeii depicting scenes from the Forum market
Wall painting from Pompeii depicting everyday activities in the marketplace

In new Roman towns the forum was usually located at, or just off, the intersection of the main north-south and east-west streets (the Cardo and Decumanus). All fora would have a Temple of Jupiter at the north end, and would also contain other temples, as well as the Basilica; a public weights and measures table, so customers at the market could ensure they were not being sold short measures; and would often have the baths nearby. At election times, candidates would use the steps of the temples in the forum to make their election speeches, and would expect their clients to come to support them.

Typical forum structures

Equivalent spaces in other cultures

See also


  1. ^ From Proto-Indo-European *dʰworom "enclosure, courtyard", i.e. "something enclosed by a door"; cognate with Old Church Slavonic дворъ dvorŭ "court, courtyard".
  2. ^ Abbott, Frank Frost; Johnson, Allan Chester (1926). Municipal Administration in the Roman Empire. Princeton: Princeton University Press. p. 12.

External links

Media related to Ancient Roman forums at Wikimedia Commons

Archaeological Ensemble of Tárraco

Archaeological Ensemble of Tárraco is inscribed as UNESCO world heritage site since 2000. It is situated in Tarragona.


Catania (UK: , US: , Sicilian and Italian: [kaˈtaːnja] (listen)) is the second largest city of Sicily after Palermo located on the east coast facing the Ionian Sea. It is the capital of the Metropolitan City of Catania, one of the ten biggest cities in Italy, and the seventh largest metropolitan area in Italy. The population of the city proper is 320,000 while the population of the city's metropolitan area, Metropolitan City of Catania, stood at 1,116,168 inhabitants.

Catania was destroyed by catastrophic earthquakes in 1169 and 1693, and by several volcanic eruptions from the neighbouring Mount Etna, the most violent of which was in 1669.Catania was founded in the 8th century BC by Chalcidians. In 1434, the first university in Sicily was founded in the city. In the 14th century and into the Renaissance period, Catania was one of Italy's most important cultural, artistic and political centres.The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy. Its old town, besides being one of the biggest examples of baroque architecture in Italy, is a World Heritage Site, protected by UNESCO.

Catania has been a native or adoptive homeland of some of Italy's most famous artists and writers, including composers Vincenzo Bellini and Giovanni Pacini, and writers Giovanni Verga, Luigi Capuana, Federico De Roberto and Nino Martoglio.

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The Comitium (Italian: Comizio) was the original open-air public meeting space of Ancient Rome, and had major religious and prophetic significance. The name comes from the Latin word for "assembly". The Comitium location at the northwest corner of the Roman Forum was later lost in the city's growth and development, but was rediscovered and excavated by archeologists at the turn of the twentieth century. Some of Rome's earliest monuments; including the speaking platform known as the Rostra, the Column Maenia, the Graecostasis and the Tabula valeria were part of or associated with the Comitium.

The Comitium was the location for much of the political and judicial activity of Rome. It was the meeting place of the Curiate Assembly, the earliest Popular assembly of organised voting divisions of the republic. Later, during the Roman Republic, the Tribal Assembly and Plebeian Assembly met there. The Comitium was in front of the meeting house of the Roman Senate - the still-existing Curia Julia and its predecessor, the Curia Hostilia. The curia is associated with the comitium by both Livy and Cicero.Most Roman cities had a similar comitium for public meetings (L. contiones) or assemblies for election], councils and tribunals. As part of the forum, where temples, commerce, judicial, and city buildings were located, the comitium was the center of political activity. Romans tended to organize their needs into specific locations within the city. As the city grew, the larger Comitia Centuriata met on the Campus Martius, outside the city walls. The comitium remained of importance for formal elections of some magistrates; however, as their importance decayed after the end of the republic, so did the importance of the comitium.

Index of Italy-related articles

The following is an alphabetical list of articles related to Italy.

Index of law articles

This collection of lists of law topics collects the names of topics related to law. Everything related to law, even quite remotely, should be included on the alphabetical list, and on the appropriate topic lists. All links on topical lists should also appear in the main alphabetical listing. The process of creating lists is ongoing – these lists are neither complete nor up-to-date – if you see an article that should be listed but is not (or one that shouldn't be listed as legal but is), please update the lists accordingly. You may also want to include Wikiproject Law talk page banners on the relevant pages.

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The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to ancient Rome:

Ancient Rome – former civilization that thrived on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world.

Outline of classical architecture

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to classical architecture:

Classical architecture – architecture of classical antiquity, that is, ancient Greek architecture and the architecture of ancient Rome. It also refers to the style or styles of architecture influenced by those. For example, most of the styles originating in post-renaissance Europe can be described as classical architecture. This broad use of the term is employed by Sir John Summerson in The Classical Language of Architecture.

Outline of classical studies

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to classical studies:

Classical studies (Classics for short) – earliest branch of the humanities, which covers the languages, literature, history, art, and other cultural aspects of the ancient Mediterranean world. The field focuses primarily on, but is not limited to, Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome during classical antiquity, the era spanning from the late Bronze Age of Ancient Greece during the Minoan and Mycenaean periods (c. 1600-1100 BCE) through the period known as Late Antiquity to the fall of the Western Roman Empire, c. 500 CE. The word classics is also used to refer to the literature of the period.

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Parliament building and variations may refer to:

Casa de la Vall: a two building complex (old and new) in Andorra la Vella, Andorra

Palace of the Argentine National Congress, in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Austrian Parliament Building

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Parliament Buildings (Barbados), a two building complex in Bridgetown, Barbados

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New Zealand Parliament Buildings

The Beehive, the executive wing of the New Zealand Parliament Buildings

Sri Lankan Parliament Building

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It has a proud history illustrated by the many impressive ancient Roman buildings preserved in its centre.

Topography of ancient Rome

The topography of ancient Rome is a multidisciplinary field of study that draws on archaeology, epigraphy, cartography and philology.

The classic English-language work of scholarship is A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome (1929), written by Samuel Ball Platner, completed and published after his death by Thomas Ashby. New finds and interpretations have rendered many of Platner and Ashby's conclusions unreliable, but when used with other sources the work still offers insights and complementary information.

In 1992, Lawrence Richardson published A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, which builds on Platner and Ashby. The six-volume, multilingual Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae (1993‑2000) is the major modern work in the field.

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