While settled over 5000 years ago, Jerash came of age during the Greco-Roman period and was also known as Antioch on the Golden River. Jerash is considered one of the most important and best preserved Roman cities in the middle east and was a city of the Decapolis. Jerash was directly in the center of the action in the Syrian Province and the throughout the Roman empire, the forum in each city was the center of Roman public life. At the southern end of the cardo maximus near the Temple of Zeus, the forum in Jerash stood out from other cities in that it was designed as an oval and was nearly unique in the Roman empire. Used for everything from victory processions and elections to public speeches or criminal trials and even gladiatorial matches at times; it was the center of commercial and public affairs.