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Form: Latin.

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An open space used for political meetings, judicial proceedings, and traffic. In Rome the oldest forum was the Forum Romanum, afterwards the Campo Vaccino, a long and irregular four-sided space, lying between the Capitol and the Palatine, in the direction of WNW. and ESE (see plan, p. 241). In the course of time it was surrounded with temples, public buildings, and basilicas. It was originally used as a market place, but was early monopolised for public purposes. There were, however, shops and stalls along the northern and southern sides, where an active trade was carried on. Here, in particular, the money-changers carried on their business. The Forum was divided into the Comitium with the Rostra or speaking platform, and the Forum proper, where the Romans habitually spent much of their morning transacting private or public business. (See COMITIUM and ROSTRUM .) Under the Empire a number of other fora sprang up in its neighbourhood, which were used for legal and other business. They were adorned with great magnificence, having a temple in their midst, and colonnades round them, which were open for ordinary traffic. There were thus Fora of Caesar, Augustus, Vespasian, Nerva, and Trajan, the last the largest and most splendid of all (see plan, p. 241). There were, besides, several fora for market business, as the Forum boarium or cattle-market, piscarium or fish-market, holitorium, or vegetable-market, and so on. The word forum was also applied to any place which formed the local centre of commerce and jurisdiction: so that such local names as Forum Iulii (now Frejus) were very common.
Type: Standard
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