Since the beginnings of Rome, The Forum was a cornerstone of commerce and political endeavors for it’s Society. A Roman City was judged on it’s having (or lack of) a Forum and Colosseum. In most cases, the famous road systems of Rome, all linked Forums with one another (despite the hundreds or thousands of miles involved).
Only one Forum existed at any one time in each City. Traders in Goods and Slaves all plied their wares at The Forum. Clothing, Textiles – all the “needs” of Rome could be found at The Forum. Meetings of Political Opponents often met in The Forums to debate their views and to curry favor from the Voting Classes. Even those campaigning for Office often went to The Forums.
The Forums were also the place to be “seen” by Wealthier Classes of Citizens. The purchasing of extravagant goods and slaves was seen as a way of promoting one’s wealth and status. Often, these Citizens would arrange meetings with others of their Class for formal “gatherings”. Rarely did Royalty appear in The Forums, but famous Generals and Commanders did (often representing The Emperor, Empress or other Royal Family Member).
Official Weights and Measure Tables were set up in The Forums, which were to give proper and current figures – which also helped to establish a standardized purchase price. Religious Temples were also a fixture in The Forum. So too were Military Recruitment Stations for The Empire (or posting listing of Deserters to The Public).
The “Foro Romano” or Roman Forum, was perhaps the largest and most famous of all Forums. Located in the center of Rome, it featured smaller Arenas for Gladiatorial Contests. Criminal Trials and even executions were performed in Rome’s Forum. Many of Rome’s Administrative Offices such as The Curia (Senatorial House), were built there. The speculated size of The Great Forum of Rome was roughly a triangular shape, 130 x 50 meters. Many of the most famous Religious Temples were found in and around The Great Forum.
Originally a swamp, it was drained in the 7th Century BC and used as a Market and gathering place for Rome. Gradually, under The Emperors, The Great Forum grew from a few tents and crude structures, into a vast collection of polished marble megastructures. The Great Forum survived War, Fire and Earthquake, with hundreds of years of conservation used to restore it to a bare passing resemblance of it’s once magnificent glory.