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View of the ancient agora. The temple of Hephaestus is to the left and the Stoa of Attalos to the right.

The Ancient Agora of Athens is the best-known example of an ancient Greek agora, located in Athens, Greece.

Contents

History

The agora in Athens had private housing, until it was reorganized by Peisistratus in the 6th century BC. Although he may have lived on the agora himself, he removed the other houses, closed wells, and made it the centre of Athenian government. He also built a drainage system, fountains and a temple to the Olympian gods. Cimon later improved the agora by constructing new buildings and planting trees. In the 5th century BC there were temples constructed to Hephaestus, Zeus and Apollo.

The Areopagus and the assembly of all citizens met elsewhere in Athens, but some public meetings, such as those to discuss ostracism, were held in the agora. Beginning in the period of the radical democracy (after 509 BC), the Boule, or city council, the Prytaneis, or presidents of the council, and the Archons, or magistrates, all met in the agora. The law courts were located there, and anyone who happened to be in the agora when a case was being heard would probably have been able to view the spectacle, though only those adult male citizens appointed by lot would have been able to serve as jurors.

The agora in Athens again became a residential area during Roman and Byzantine times.

The Agora served asa place to talk about current events, politics, nature and business.

You would NEVER see rich women there, you would only see poor women. Rich women would send slaves or men to do their shopping for them.

Buildings and structures of the classical agora

Plan showing major buildings and structures of the agora of Athens as it was in the 5th century BC
  1. Peristyle Court
  2. Mint
  3. Enneakrounos
  4. South Stoa I and South Stoa II
  5. Heliaia
  6. Strategeion
  7. Colonos Agoraios
  8. Tholos
  9. Agora stone
  10. Monument of the Eponymous Heroes
  11. Metroon (Old Bouleuterion)
  12. New Bouleuterion
  13. Temple of Hephaestus (Hephaestion)
  14. Temple of Apollo Patroos
  15. Stoa of Zeus
  16. Altar of the Twelve Gods
  17. Stoa Basileios (Royal stoa)
  18. Temple of Aphrodite Urania
  19. Stoa of Hermes
  20. Stoa Poikile
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Later buildings added to the site

Remains of the west gate into the Roman Forum

A number of buildings were added to the agora. Those in place by the 2nd century included:

  • The Middle stoa which sat across the sanctuary, in front of the Heliaea.
  • A small Roman temple was added in front of the Middle stoa.
  • An Altar of Zeus Agoraios was added just to the east of the Monument to the Eponymous Heroes.
  • The Temple of Ares, dedicated to Ares, the god of war, was added in the north half agora, just south of the Altar of the Twelve Gods.
  • The Odeon of Agrippa and accompanying gymansium were added in the centre of the agora.
  • The substantial Stoa of Attalos was built along the eastern edge of the agora.
  • A collection of buildings were added to the south-east corner: the East stoa, the Library of Pantainos, the Nymphaeum and a temple.
  • There is evidence of a Synagogue in the Agora of Athens in the third century.

Excavations

The ancient Athenian agora has been excavated by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens since 1931 under the direction of T. Leslie Shear, Sr. of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. They continue to the present day, now under the direction of John McK Camp.[1]

After the initial phase of excavation, in the 1950s, the Hellenistic Stoa of Attalos was reconstructed on the east side of the agora, and today it serves as a museum and as storage and office space for the excavation team.[2]

The Roman Forum of Athens

Remains of the Forum built in Athens in the Roman period (east of the classical agora).

The Roman Forum of Athens is located to the north of the acropolis and to the east of the original classical Greek agora.

Buildings and structures

Museum of the Ancient Agora

The museum is housed in the Stoa of Attalos, and its exhibits are connected with the Athenian democracy. The collection of the museum includes clay, bronze and glass objects, sculptures, coins and inscriptions from the 7th to the 5th century BC, as well as pottery of the Byzantine period and the Turkish occupation.

See also

External links and references

Coordinates: 37°58′30″N 23°43′21″E / 37.975°N 23.7225°E / 37.975; 23.7225


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