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In a Roman city, the forum was a large, rectangular, centrally located, open space, usually surrounded by monumental public structures. These buildings typically included many of the principal political, religious, and commercial centers of the city. The forum was often the site of local markets, although as towns grew, this function was sometimes transferred to secondary fora, as at Rome. The forum was also the setting for a variety of spectacular urban rituals, such as aristocratic funerals, court trials, religious ceremonies, public assemblies, and popular entertainments. Due to the concentration of these essential structures and functions in and around the forum, to the Romans, this space was imbued with potent symbolic meaning as the core of the city and the repository of its most Roman ...

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