The Roman Forum

The Roman Forum is a rectangular plaza surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient buildings used for government purposes, in Rome. Residents of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum.

It was for centuries the centre of public life, for processions and elections, the venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches, it was the nucleus of commercial affairs. Here statues and monuments commemorated the city's great men. It has been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world, and in all history. The Forum today is a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and archaeological excavations.

Most of the oldest and more important structures of the ancient city were located on or near the Forum, these included the ancient former royal residence, the Regia (8th century BC), and the Temple of Vesta (7th century BC), as well as the surrounding complex of the Vestal Virgins, all of which were rebuilt after the rise of imperial Rome.