The large paved square at the centre of the Forum, the main space used for public assemblies, remained almost empty of buildings throughout the Republican period (5th-1st centuries BC). During the empire, as its importance decreased with the opening of the imperial Forums, monuments of various types were built in the area. The paving - reconstructed several times over the centuries - originally consisted of travertine slabs held together with lead grapples; the remains of a surviving inscription probably refer to the restoration of the paving carried out under Augustus (27 BC-14 AD) by the praetor Lucius Naevius Surdinus. The rectangular base at the centre incorporating three perforated travertine blocks belongs to the Equus Domitiani, the equestrian statue celebrating Domitian's victory (81-96 AD) over the Germani. As the poet Statius noted, it faces the Temple of Caesar. The fenced-off rectangular area to the north, unpaved even in ancient times, is the Garden of Marsyas. A vine, a fig tree and an olive tree have been replanted here; these trees were sacred to the Romans and according to Pliny the Elder grew at the centre of the Forum. The concrete marble-clad structure in the western corner of the square may be the base of the Equus Constantini, a statue of the emperor Constantine on horseback. In the vicinity some square holes dating to the period of Julius Caesar probably belong to the network of tunnels which extended beneath the square.