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Because the early history of the forum is entangled in myths, the true facts are difficult to sort out. Nevertheless, it is known that the forum was built in an area that was swampy, not far from the Tiber River that runs through Rome. In the seventh century B.C., the early kings of Rome, the Tarquins, had a sewer system devised, a system that has been discovered and its date verified by archaeologists. The Tarquins created the design of the forum--a trapezoid--dividing it into areas for shops, setting one large area apart for meetings. This area became that which Julius Caesar and the other Romans of the era held assemblies for the governmental purposes. Worship of gods and even burials were conducted in this area, as well. And, during the reign of the Caesars when the many victories of Rome against other domains brought new wealth, the forum was embellished and old buildings were replaced by magnificent constructions. Temples were built, shrines, and law courts became common sites. Thus, the forum became the center of cultural, commercial, and governmental activities.
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