chapter  12
34 Pages


ByJohn J. Dobbins

Today’s visitors spend little time in the city center, moving on instead to the“must see” houses with frescoes, the baths and the brothel. This is understandable because the forum is quite ruined and appears as if it will not reward attention, but such visitors are deceived because the forum, which was Pompeii’s urban space par excellence, is interesting in its own right and important for what it tells us about Roman urbanism. Archaeologists know that the forum is rich in information-the chapters by Descœudres, Ling and Small attest to that. However, in spite of the considerable data that we have, archaeologists cannot agree on certain basic information, such as the dates and functions of some buildings, or more seriously, on the overall evolution of the most important public zone of the city.