forum

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

forum

forum, market and meeting place in ancient Roman towns in Italy and later in the provinces, corresponding to the Greek agora. By extension the word forum often indicates the meeting itself in modern usage. The forum was usually square or rectangular in shape and had, among other buildings, a basilica with shops, the public treasury, the curia, and a prison; under Greek influence colonnades were introduced.

The old Roman Forum extended into a marshy valley from Capitoline Hill along the Palatine Hill. When, much later, the Basilica of Constantine was added it reached almost to the Colosseum. The valley between the hills was crossed by a small stream emptying into the Tiber, which drained the area and was canalized underground (probably in the 6th cent. BC) to become the great sewer, the Cloaca Maxima (a portion of which still exists). At the south end of the Forum was the house of the vestal virgins and nearby the temple of Vesta. West of the temple, as an entrance to the Forum proper, was the Arch of Augustus, having on one side the temple of deified Julius Caesar and on the other that of Castor and Pollux. Behind it was a building, now the Church of Santa Maria Antiqua, with fine 8th-century frescoes. Along the southwest side of the Forum was the Basilica Julia, and along its northeast side were the Basilica Aemilia and the curia, where the senate met. The Forum was closed to the northwest by the Arch of Septimius Severus and by the rostra (platforms adorned with beaks of captured vessels), from which tribunes, consuls, and orators made their speeches. Beyond them, toward Capitoline Hill, were temples, among them the Temple of Concord and the temple of Saturn, housing the treasury.

In imperial times the old Forum became inadequate; the emperors built new forums to the northeast, from the Basilica of Constantine to the valley between the Capitoline and Quirinal. On the southeast were the Forum of Vespasian with the Temple of Peace surrounded by a colonnade; next the Forum of Nerva; then that of Augustus with the temple of Mars. Southwest was the smaller Forum of Julius Caesar, a colonnade enclosing the temple of Venus. Beyond the Forum of Augustus was the Forum of Trajan, a vast colonnaded square; then the Basilica Ulpia; then the two libraries with, between them, the Column of Trajan, which is still standing. The temple of Trajan closed the Emperors' Forums to the northwest.

In the 4th cent., the decay of the old Forum began; earthquakes, fires, and the barbarian invasions completed its destruction. In the Middle Ages materials from the forums were used to build new monuments throughout the city. Only in the 19th and 20th cent. were systematic excavations made to bring to light what was left. The forums are now, with the Palatine and Colosseum, an imposing complex of ruins, testifying to the magnificence of ancient Rome.

See M. Grant, The Roman Forum (1970).

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

forum
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.