FORUM, (Latin) in Roman antiquity, the market-place for transacting the business of the public revenue, bankers, merchants, &c. The following description of it is given by Vitruvius: "The Greeks made their forums square, with large double porticos, the columns close together, and ad,.rned with stone or marble epistyliums, making ambulatories in the upper stories : but the cities of Italy tidlow not the same method ; because, by ancient custom, the shoWS of gladiators are usually given in the tbrum. For this reason the inter columns around the area are made wider; and in the sur rounding porticos the shops of the bankers are di-posed, with galleries in the upper floors, properly adapted for the use and management of the public revenue.
"The magnitude of the forum should be suitable to the number of the people, that it may not he too -mall for use, nor on account of the scarcity of people, appear too large. The proportion is so determined, that the length being divided into three parts, two arc given to the breadth; for thus it will be of an oblong form, and convenient for the use of the shows.
"The upper columns are made a fourth part less than the lower ; because, as the inferior sustains the g' eater weight, it should be stronger than the superior : also because it is proper to imitate nature ; fur in straight-growing trees, such as the fir, cypress. and pine, thine are none th;•ker at the top than at the root ; as they grow in height, they gradually diminish to the uppermost point. Following there fore the example of nature. it is proper that the superior should he made less than the inferior, both in height and thickness.
"The basilica should he joined to the forum on the warmest side, that the negoeiants may confer together, v, itluint being incommoded li the weather. The breadth is not made less than the third, nor more than the half of the length, unless the the nature of the place opposes the proportion, and obliges the symmetry to be different. But if the basilica have too much length, ehalcidicke are made at the ends, as they are in the basilica of Julia Aquiliana. The columns of the basilica arc made as high as the porticos is broad. The porticos is the third part of the space in the middle. The upper columns are less than the lower, as above written. The pluteum, w hich is between the upper colunins, should also be made a part less than the same columns, that those who walk in the flour above may not he seen by the negociatorsI
..)0.41W. The episty zophorus, and corona!, are proportioned to the columns in the manner explained in the third book.
"Nor will basilicas of the kind of that at the colony of Julia of Fannin, which I designed and conducted, have less dignity and beauty ; the proportions and symmetry of which are as follow : The middle testudo between the columns is 120 feet long, and 60 feet broad. The portions around the testudo, between the walls and columns. is 20 feet broad. The height of the continued columns. including their capitals, is 50 feet, and the thiekness 5. having behind than parastatte 20 feet high, 2 feet broad, and foot thick, which sustain the beams that hoar the doors ef the porticos. ..1biive these are other parrsigftt; IS feet high. '2 feet broad. and 1 foot thick, which also receives beam; sustaining the cambers of the porticos, which are laid below the roof of the test ado : the remaining space that is left between the beams winch lie over the parastafte, and those which lie over the columns, is left open in the interculumns. in order to give light. The columns in the breadth of the testudo, including those of the angles to the right and left, are four ; and in the length, on that side which is next the forum, including the same angle columns, eight. On the other side, there are hut six columns, including those of the angles, because the middle two on this side are omitted, that they may not obstruct the view of the promos of the temple of Augustus, which is situated in the middle of the side-wall of the basiliea, looking towards the centre of the forum and temple of Jupiter. The tri• banal in this is formed in the figure of a hemi cycle : the extent of this hemicyele in front is 40 feet, and the recess of the curvature inward 15 feet, so that those who attend the magistrate obstruct not the negociants in the " Upon the columns, the compacted beams, made from three timbers of two feet are placed around ; and those from the third columns which are in the interior part, are returned to the alum that project from the promos, and on the right and left touch the hetnieyele.