This chapter describes the valley of the Forum as carved out of the region's compacted volcanic tufa by one of the many rivulets and streams that spill into the Tiber. It notes that most ancient writers emphasize the marshy and inhospitable nature of the valley, and that the plain was used as a necropolis. The chapter discusses that the Forum was the city center. It details several building activities at the Forum during an obscure period in its history, particularly its reconstructions. The chapter describes the Western End of the Forum, the Central Area of the Forum, and the Eastern End of the Forum, and also enumerates and provides brief descriptions of the constructions that can be found in those areas.
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