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St. Roman Forum, Rome

The Roman Forum is located in a valley that is between the Palatine Hill and the Capitoline Hill. It originally was a marsh, but the Romans drained the area and turned it into a center of political and social activity. The Forum was the marketplace of Rome and also the business district and civic center. It was expanded to include temples, a senate house and law courts. The classical form of these monuments was just as important as the function of the buildings. The symmetry, grace and size of each individual construction was inspired the ideas of harmony, grandeur and strength. Even today, with many monuments reduced to ruins, the beauty and power of those former structures are obvious. The main street that runs through the Forum is the Via Sacra, or the Sacred Way. This was the road that returning heroes marched triumphantly along, parading their prisoners and prizes from distant military victories. Many of Rome's leaders chose to erect monuments along this route because they wanted to leave their mark where the greatest number of people would see it, from the monuments erected by Rome's first king, Romulus, to the grand structures left by Constantine.