The Forum in Ancient Rome
The Forum was one of the important centers of Roman daily life. The Forum was a big open area, ringed by Roman banks, temples, baths, and businesses. The center open area held the marketplace. Roman adults from both classes might wander down to the Forum, to do their shopping and banking, trading and marketing.
But the Forum had another purpose that we might find unusual.
It was in the Forum where anyone who felt like it could stand and talk to the crowd and express their views on any subject. This was called orating and the Romans loved it. Teachers of speech-making would bring their students to the forum and assign them to try and convince the crowd that a specific idea was the correct and proper idea. Politicians gave speeches here. Any adult male Roman citizen could speak in the Forum. The ancient Romans were great orators. The job of their orators was not to argue, but to argue persuasively! People thronging the Forum would stop and listen to anyone orating, then wander away to do their shopping, and perhaps leave a gift at a temple for one of their gods.
The Forum was also used for festivals and religious ceremonies. It was a very busy place.