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The Ancient Agora

The Ancient Agora, or marketplace, is located to the northwest of the Acropolis and is bounded on the south by the hill of the Areopagus ("Hill of Ares" a.k.a. "Mar's Hill" in Roman times) and on the west by the hill of Colonus Agoraeus. It was the political and administrative center of ancient Athens as well as the place where social, commercial and religious activities concentrated. The site was occupied without interruption in all periods of the city's history. It was used as a residential and burial area as early as the Late Neolithic period (3000 BCE). Early in the 6th century BCE, in the time of Solon, the Agora became a public area. After a series of repairs and remodeling, it reached its final rectangular form in the 2nd century BCE. Extensive building activity occurred after the serious damage made by the Persians in 480-79 BCE, by the Romans in 89 BCE and by the Heruli in 267 CE. After the Slavic invasion in 580 CE, it was gradually abandoned. 

Click on the thumbnails below in order to see pictures of the Ancient Agora.  Use your browser's back button to return to this page.

Ancient Agora from the AreopagusThe Ancient Agora as seen from the Areopagus, a small rocky hill adjacent to the Acropolis.

Ancient Agora as seen from the AcropolisThe Ancient Agora as seen from the Acropolis.

Temple of Hephaestus & AthenaThe Temple of Hephaestus and Athena as seen from a church on a nearby hill. Since part of the sculptural decorations depict the exploits of Theseus, the temple has also become known as the Theseion.
Church of the Holy ApostlesThe only standing Byzantine monument in the Agora is the Church of the Holy Apostles (XI century). Ancient AgoraView of the the Ancient Agora with the Theseion to the left and the Odeion of Agrippa towards the right. The Theseion as seen from the AcropolisThe Theseion as seen from the Acropolis. The Pentelic marble temple was built from 449-440 BCE.  
The Theseion from the eastThe Temple of Hephaestus from the east.  The temple, standing on the Colonus Agoraeus hill, dominates the site of the ancient Agora.  The TheseionThe Theseion was dedicated to two gods, Hephaestus and Athena Ergane, whose bronze cult statues stood in the interior. Both divinities were worshipped as patrons of the arts and trades. The southern side of the TheseionThe southern side of the temple. The Theseion is Doric, peripteral, with a pronaos and opisthodomos. It is the most prominent and best preserved monument of the Agora.
Detail of the TheseionDetail of the Theseion's sculptures. Detail of the TheseionDetail of the Theseion's sculptures. The TheseionThe Theseion in the background and the remains of the Bouleuterion and Metroon in the foreground.
A Corinthian columnA Corinthian column with the Theseion in the background. The Stoa of Attalus IIThe eastern side of the Agora is bounded by the restored Stoa of Attalus II (2nd century BCE). The Stoa of Attalus IIThe Stoa of Attalus II, now used as a museum, was completely rebuilt in 1953-56 on its original 2nd century foundations using ancient materials.
The colonnade of the Stoa of Attalus IIView of the colonnade inside the Stoa of Attalus II. The Stoa of Attalus IIOriginally a trading center and place for leisure, the stoa had a series of shops which the state rented to private merchants. The colonnade of the Stoa of Attalus IIThe Stoa of Attalus II had two stories, supported on columns which were all Ionic except for those on the outer side of the ground floor which were Doric.
Flying VictoryFlying Victory. Acroterium from the southeast corner of the stoa of Zeus.  Circa 400 BCE. Statue of PanStatue of Pan. Statue of HadrianThe statue of Hadrian. Hadrian was Emperor of Rome from 117-138 CE. The statue dates from the 2nd century CE.
The Odeion of AgrippaThe Odeion of Agrippa was built in 15 BCE and comprised an auditorium with a seating capacity of about 1000 people and a two-story portico. Giants and TritonsThe Odeion of Agrippa. Its north side is adorned by three (of the original four) colossal figures of Giants and Tritons set up on massive pedestals.  These were added to the Odeion after 150 CE. TritonA colossal figure of a Triton (half god, half fish) once adorned the facade of the Odeion of Agrippa.

 
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All pictures are Copyright 2000 Grisel Gonzalez and Jeff Prosise