Ancient Agora of Athens

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Ancient Agora of Athens
Αρχαία Αγορά της Αθήνας
Ancient Agora of Athens is located in Athens
Ancient Agora of Athens
Central Athens
Alternate name Forum of Athens
Location Greece
Region Attica
Coordinates 37°58′30″N 23°43′21″E / 37.97500°N 23.72250°E / 37.97500; 23.72250
Material Marble
Founded 6th century BC
Periods Classical era
Cultures Ancient Greece
Site notes
Excavation dates 1931 until today
Archaeologists American School of Classical Studies at Athens
Condition Ruined
Ownership Public property
Management Minister for Culture
Public access Yes
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 Classical Athens is the best-known example of an ancient Greek agora, located to the northwest of the Acropolis and bounded on the south by the hill of the Areopagus and on the west by the hill known as the Agoraios Kolonos, also called Market Hill.[1] The Agora's initial use was for a commercial, assembly, or residential gathering place. [2]

Buildings and structures of the classical agora[edit]

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. Aiakeion
  6. Strategeion
  7. Agoraios Kolonos
  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

Other notable monuments[edit]

View of Heliaia
The entrance to the Odeon of Agrippa

A number of other notable monuments were added to the agora. Some of these included:

  • The Middle stoa which was the most extensive monument built during the 100s B.C.E.[3]
  • 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.[4]
  • 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.[5]
  • The Odeon of Agrippa and accompanying gymnasium were added in the centre of the agora.[6]
  • The substantial Stoa of Attalos was built along the eastern edge of the agora.[7]
  • A collection of buildings were added to the south-east corner: the East stoa, the Library of Pantainos, the Nymphaeum and a temple.
  • The Library of Pantainos was more than just a library, the west and north wings were series of rooms that were used for other purposes other than storing books. With the construction of the Library of Pantainos, the official entrance into the agora was now between the Library and the Stoa of Attalos. [8]
  • There is evidence of a Synagogue in the Agora of Athens in the 3rd century.
  • A statue of the Roman emperor Hadrian was located near the metroon.[9]
  • The Temple of Zeus Phratrios and Athena Phratria dated to the 300s B.C.E. and is located near the Temple of Apollo Patroos.[10]
  • The south end of what is believed to be a Basilica has been uncovered near Hadrian Street and is dated to the mid 100s C.E.[11]
  • The Monopteros was located south of the Basilica and also dated to the mid 100s C.E. It had no walls, was a dome supported by columns and was about 8 meters in diameter.[12]
  • The Bema was a speakers platform and was located near the Stoa of Attalos.[13]


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. 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]

A virtual reconstruction of the Ancient Agora of Athens has been produced through a collaboration of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the Foundation of the Hellenic World, which had various output (3d video, VR real-time dom performance, Google Earth 3d models).[14]

Museum of the Ancient Agora[edit]

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. The exhibition within the museum contains work of art which describes the private and public life in ancient Athens. In 2012, new sculpture exhibition was added to the museum which includes portraits from Athenian Agora excavation. The new exhibition revolves around portraits of idealized gods, officially honored people of the city, wealthy Roman citizens of the 1st and 2nd century; AD, 3rd-century citizens and finally on work of art from private art schools of late antiquity.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ R. E. Wycherley, Literary and Epigraphical Testimonia (Athenian Agora) (American School of Classical Studies, 1957), pg. 27.
  2. ^ Sakoulas, Thomas. "The Agora of Athens". Retrieved 2017-11-04. 
  3. ^ Camp, The Athenian Agora: Site Guide, pg. 168.
  4. ^ Camp, The Athenian Agora: Site Guide, pg. 65.
  5. ^ Camp, The Athenian Agora: Site Guide, pg. 110.
  6. ^ Camp, The Athenian Agora: Site Guide, pg. 114.
  7. ^ Camp, The Athenian Agora: Site Guide, pg. 123.
  8. ^ A., Thompson, Homer (1972). The Agora of Athens : the history, shape, and uses of an ancient city center. Wycherley, R. E. (Richard Ernest). Princeton, N.J.: American School of Classical Studies at Athens. ISBN 9780876612149. OCLC 554992. 
  9. ^ Camp, The Athenian Agora: Site Guide, pg. 63.
  10. ^ Camp, The Athenian Agora: Site Guide, pg. 73.
  11. ^ Camp, The Athenian Agora: Site Guide, pg. 93.
  12. ^ Camp, The Athenian Agora: Site Guide, pg. 118.
  13. ^ Camp, The Athenian Agora: Site Guide, pg. 122.
  14. ^ Sideris A., "A Virtual Cradle for Democracy: Reconstructing the Ancient Agora of Athens", Proceedings of the International SEEArchWeb Conference, Thessaloniki, September 2006.
  15. ^ "Ministry of Culture and Sports | Museum of the Ancient Agora". Retrieved 2017-09-29. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°58′30″N 23°43′21″E / 37.97500°N 23.72250°E / 37.97500; 23.72250