Ayesha Jones raises a very good point about the grandeur of the Forum and
the lessons students might mistakenly draw from it. She's dead right--the
forum wasn't a place for everyone in ancient Rome; only the elite were
welcome there. All the slaves and the hoi polloi were forever excluded.
Maybe what we need to do is to mention some of the conditions of ancient
life outside the Forum in our talks with students. We do have evidence
about the living conditions of average folks. And, we need to remind
ourselves and our students that the great and grand objects that have
survived from the past are often of this sort--the property of the few,
not the many. Good observation Ayesha!