A forum (Latin, "place outdoors"; pl. forums or fora) was a public square in a Roman municipium, or any civitas, reserved primarily for the vending of goods; i.e. , a marketplace, along with the buildings used for shops and the stoas used for open stalls. Many forums were constructed at remote locations along a road by the magistrate responsible for the road, in which case the forum was the only settlement at the site and had its own name, such as Forum Popili or Forum Livi.
more from Wikipedia