The founding of the Roman Republic was traditionally assigned to the year 509 B.C. The Roman forum lies at the foot of the Capitoline Hills, and was used for many centuries. In early times large parts were used as burial grounds for the "hut dwellers" that lived on the Palatine and other hills nearby. The Roman Forum became a symbol of democracy of the Republic. This is where civic activities took place. The Curia was called the Senate building and was always near the spot where the third- century A.D. building now stands. The Comitium was where citizens voted and trials were held. It stood in the open space in front of the Curia.
The Roman Forum was never built over although civic buildings lined the roads that ran through it. The main roadways were established early on, and were thought of as the Sacred Way. There were certain early Republican spots that were honored in later times.
The Lapis Niger (black stone) was part of a paved sanctuary with an altar dating back to the sixth century B.C. This area may have been dedicate to Vulcan, the god of the forge and blacksmiths, and marked as the spot of the burial of Romulus. The Lapis Niger was protected and was considered sacred as was the Regia. The Regia was also known as the house of the kings. Although it looked like a house, it functioned as a place where the early priests and officials carried out their sacred duties after the founding of the Republic.
Another landmark of the Roman Forum is a raised platform that was used by politicians to deliver public speeches. This area was called the Rostra. This area got its name because in the fourth century B.C. a row of curved prows taken form...