The Ancient Agora of Athens, Greece


A scale model of archaeologists’ conceptual designs for the Ancient Agora of Athens as it probably existed around the 2nd century B.C., in the Museum of the Athenian Agora in the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos, Athens, Greece


“The agora was a central spot in ancient Greek city-states.  The literal meaning of the word is “gathering place” or “assembly”.  The agora was the center of athletic, artistic, spiritual and political life of the city.  The Ancient Agora of Athens was the best-known example, located to the northwest of the Acropolis.” —Wikipedia



The reconstructed Stoa of Attalos (the only reconstructed building on the site), a 2nd century B.C. building that was restored (1952-1956) in the Ancient Agora of Athens by the American School of Classical Studies, Athens, Greece


“The ancient Athenian agora has been excavated by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens since 1931…  They continue to the present day…  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.” — Wikipedia



Exterior columns of the Stoa of Attalos, originally built by Attalos II, King of Pergamon (159-138 B.C.) and functioned as a place for meetings and walks, and as a commercial center (with shops), The Ancient Agora of Athens, Greece



The interior walkway of the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos; the shops in ancient times were to the right of the interior columns – today the home of the Museum of the Athenian Agora, Athens, Greece


“The Ancient Agora of Athens was a large square on the northwest slope of the Acroppolis, where social and religious activities, commerce, outdoor theatrical performances and athletic contests were held.  In other words, it was the heart of the ancient city.  But above all it was the center of Athenian democracy, since it was there that the most important administrative and judicial functions and political assemblies took place….  [The Ancient Agora of Athens] acquired its final form in the 2nd century B.C.” – source: Ancient Agora Museum of the Stoa ofAttalos



Marble facial sculptures (busts) of prominent Greeks found in The Ancient Agora of Athens and now displayed in the Museum of the Athenian Agora, Athens, Greece



The base of exterior columns of the Middle Stoa (2nd century B.C.), giving you an idea of what the ruins of the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos [see above photographs] must have looked like pre-1952, The Ancient Agora of Athens, Greece

“The Agora was the physical place where every Athenian citizen gathered to conduct their business, participate in their city’s governance, decide judicial matters, express their opinion for all who cared to listen, and elect their city officials.  For every free Athenian citizen participating in such “common” activities was not merely a duty, but a privilege and an honor.  In fact, the term “idiot” (idiotis = he who acts on his/her own) was used to mock those who avoided participation in the common citizen activities.

“Strolling through the ruins of the Agora one can’t escape the unbearable weight of history that hovers about the place, and yet, the form of the landscape reflects none of the splendor of magnificent buildings that once adored the landscape.  The lacy arguments of ancient Greek philosophers who strolled the ground leading their pupils scattered in the winds throughout the globe, and the ruined stones speak of fiery orations only in a silent sort of way.  Despite the magnificent rock of the Acropolis that commands the landscape of the Agora from above, and the majestic presence of the Temple of Hephestus that balances the Parthenon across the plateau, the Agora remains a shy, humble and tranquil place.

“The Agora displays the tranquility that comes only from having stared at the height of absolute Greatness and into the depths of infinite Cruelty.

“Its presence transcends centuries and cultural influences from prehistoric times to the modern era, and has witnessed the spectacular transformation of prehistoric Mycenaean civilization to the Athenian Golden era, and the Roman culture.  It has also suffered through invasions of every imaginable foe who took its vengeance out on the Agora grounds for over a thousand years.

“The buildings of the Agora were destroyed in 480 BC by the invading Persians, only to be rebuilt again in the subsequent years of the 5th century BC when Athenian culture flourished into a superpower with immense cultural, political, and military influence.  It was again plundered in 86 BC by the Romans, and was slowly rebuilt by the same conquerors who added many new buildings like the Odeon which occupies the center of the excavated Agora.  In the next few centuries the place remained the center of activity in Athens and suffered several times at the hands of a multitude of invaders, until it was razed by the Slavs in 580 AD and remained uninhabited until the middle of the 19th century when modern Greece won its independence from the Ottoman empire.” –



The Temple of Hephaistos (5th century B.C.) viewed through the trees from the balcony of the reconstructed Stoa of Attalos, across The Ancient Agora of Athens, Greece



A façade of the The Temple of Hephaistos, regarded as the best preserved ancient Greek temple in the world; it remains standing largely as built; The Ancient Agora of Athens, Greece



A detail of the interior marble frieze in The Temple of Hephaistos, a Doric peripteral temple located at the north-west side of the Agora of Athens, on top of the Agoraios Kolonos hill, Athens, Greece



After the Roman General (and later Dictator of Rome) Sulla conquered Athens in 86 B.C, the Romans moved all commercial activity out of the Ancient Agora of Athens into an adjacent property, now referred to as the Roman Agora, Athens, Greece



Gate of Athena Archegetis in the Roman Agora, Athens, Greece


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