Difference Between Agora and Forum (With Table)

Both agora and forum refer to a public place that is used to acknowledge public places where people gather together basically in Greece and Roman cities. Both the agora and forum were important parts of the society as they allowed people to gather together and remind them that they are part of society.  

Although both being referred to as public places, both of them separate purposes and are used in totally different contexts in both the ancient empires. Agora is used for commercial purposes, more like a market place whereas a forum is used for religious and political purposes. 

Agora vs Forum

The difference between an agora and a forum is that an agora is a public place that is purely and solely used for commercial issues and activities, while a forum is also a public place but is not used for any commercial activities and only for religious and political purposes.  

Agora is a marketplace where different shops are set up and are used for commercial purposes only. It is usually located in a closed area to the public building and in the Center of the city so that it is accessible to all the people living in the city.  

Forum, in the roman cities, have two natures that are religious and political. They are not used for any commercial activity. Most of the major temples and the offices of important people in the city are located in these forums. And it is situated in the center of the city too.  

Comparison Table Between Agora and Forum

Parameters of Comparison Agora Forum  
Meaning  Agora is a place used for commercial purposes.  A forum is a place that is used for religious and political purposes and not commercial activities.  
Genre   Public place  Public place  
Cities  Rome and Greece Rome 
Includes  Shops and market place Major temples, offices of important people of the city. 
Used for  Shopping items, appliances, and for business. Political decision-making, debates, etc. 

What is Agora? 

Agora is a marketplace where different shops are set up and are used for commercial purposes only. It is usually located in a closed area to the public building and in the Center of the city so that it is accessible to all the people living in the city. The word Agora has been derived from the word ‘Greek Agora,’ which means the center of the assembly.  

Though being a marketplace, agora is the place where the freeborn male landowners of Greece were used to gather and come together in order to hear the council’s or the king’s hearing on any matter. The word Agoraphobia was derived from the word agora only.  

In the earlier time of the 5th and the 4th century BCE, there were two types of agoras. After the Persian war of 490-449 BCE, the agora of Athens was rebuilt in the same design. In different periods and centuries, the uses of agora varied. In classical times too, the place was not just used for assemblies but for much more purposes.  

What is Forum? 

Forum, in the roman cities, have two natures that are religious and political. They are not used for any commercial activity. Most of the major temples and the offices of important people in the city are located in these forums. And it is situated in the center of the city too. 

The forum in Rome was a place for public meetings, law courts basically in the republic times. A forum was also a place of temples and other religious institutions around the cities. For many years in Rome, a forum was the site of day-to-day activities, speeches, public decisions, elections, and even criminal trials. Not just the temples, forums even used to have statues and monuments of famous personalities of the country.  

In fact, many oldest and the major structures of the history of the country were either situated in or around the forum. Even the Roman kingdom’s earliest and major temples were located in the southern-east parts of the forum.  

Main Differences Between Agora and Forum

  1. The main difference between agora and forum is that agora was a public place where all the commercial activities used to take place, but the forum was a public place where no commercial activity took place, but all the political and religious ones did.  
  2. Agora was a marketplace where the freeborn male of the landowners used to gather to listen to the king’s or the council’s decision, but a forum was a place where political debates, meetings, elections, etc. Such events used to take place.  
  3. The forum was a place where most of the offices of the important person and temples were situated, while agora was a marketplace with shops.  
  4. Agora being a place to shop, was usually in the center of the city so that everyone has access to it, but the forum had no specific area decided in the city.  
  5. Agora as a public place was used and called in both the cities- Greece and Rome, while the forum was only used in Rome. 

Conclusion 

From the discussion so far, it is concluded that both agora and forum were public places that were an important part of the society as they allowed everyone to gather together as a community and make decisions together too. They made sure that both of the people of the city had a place where they can gather, meet, share their thoughts and be a part of the community they are living in. 

Though both being public places, both of them had totally different usages and purposes. Both agora and forum refer to a public place that is used to acknowledge public places where people gather together basically in Greece and Roman cities. 

So, the basic difference between agora and forum is that agora is a public place that is purely and solely used for commercial issues and activities, while a forum is also a public place but is not used for any commercial activities and only for religious and political purposes. 

References

  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3642827
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00028533.1985.11951295

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