Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith


  • Francesco Marcattili
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_1451

Introduction and Definition

A locus celeberrimus composed of an often-rectangular space delimited by religious and administrative buildings, the forum constitutes the institutional, commercial, and monumental center of a Roman city (Gros 2001: 228–59, with bibliography). An inaugurated area, ritually delimited as a templum augurale to be able to host, as in the Saepta, popular meetings and electoral assemblies in particular, the forum is the site devoted to the essential social and public activities of colonies and municipalities alike: in fact, the chief ritual celebrations of the community are either observed in the forum or passed through it. Laws are promulgated in the forum, trials conducted, and justice administered. Just as in Greek agorai, commercial transactions are often conducted in the forum. Forum squares equipped with temporary wooden stands (public fori) would be the site of games (ludi) or gladiatorial contests in the presence of the populace (Liv. 41.28.11).

During the...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento Uomo e Territorio Sezione di Studi Comparati sulle Società AnticheUniversità degli Studi di PerugiaPerugiaItaly