Italy Page 20
The Roman Forum

The area of the Forum was originally a low-lying, grassy wetland. It was drained in the 7th century BC by building the Cloaca Maxima, a large covered sewer system that emptied into the Tiber River, as more people began to settle between the two hills. The Forum was for centuries the center of Roman public life: the site of triumphal processions and elections, a venue for public speeches and criminal trials, and the nucleus of commercial affairs. Many of the oldest and most important structures of the ancient city were located in or near the Forum. Nowadays, ruins from several centuries of Rome are strewn together here in random fashion, due to the common Roman practice of building over the site of earlier ruins.

Relief on the Arch of Titus depicting the destruction and looting of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D.

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