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The Forum of Jerash, in Jordan.

A forum (Latin, "marketplace"; pl. fora) was the public space in the middle of a Roman city.

A gathering place of great social significance, it was often the scene of diverse activities, including political discussions, meetings, et cetera.

Modelled on the Roman Forum in Rome itself, several smaller or more specialised forums appeared throughout Rome’s archaic history. By the time of the late Republic expansions and refurbishing of the forums of the city had inspired Pompeii 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 Pompeius). The structure was the forbearer to Julius Caesar's first Imperial forum and the rest to follow. Major forums are to be found in Italy, however are not to be confused with the piazza of the modern town. While similar in use and function, most were created in the Middle Ages and are often not a part of the original city footprint. Forums were a regular part of every Roman province in the Republic and the Empire, with examples at:

In new Roman towns, the Forum was usually located at, or just off of, the intersection of the main north-south and east-west streets (the Cardo and Decumanus).

Typical forum structures

Equivalent spaces in other cultures

See also

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