Ancient Agora

12:11:00 AM Brooke Neal 1 Comments

The agora was the center of the Greek male citizen's life.  It was here that he would engage in political and civic duties including jury duty, military service and religious observance.  He might even take in a theater performance here.  Meetings were held 4 times a month to enact laws, discuss military campaigns and ostracism.  While most tourists think of the Parthenon when they think of Athens, the Agora played a more vital role in the daily running of the city.


The Details
Cost: €12 adult combo ticket gives you entrance into 5 sites including the Acropolis.  Free under 18.
Hours: 8am-3pm
Time: We lingered for an hour & a half


In 1952 the Rockefeller family paid for the restoration of the Stoa of Attalus (that long rectangular building). The restoration took 4 years to complete and is considered a faithful reproduction of the original built in 158BC.  It functions as the American School of Antiquities and museum for artifacts found on the Agora.


It is often difficult to mentally reconstruct a pile of rocks into something useful, so the nice thing about the replica is that it allows you to see what a stoa would have looked like and how it would have functioned.  Notice the columns; the bottom 6 feet of fluting was smoothed over to be more comfortable for the men who would have leaned against them.  I guess the Greeks were practical as well as esthetically driven builders.


The small archaeological museum displayed some of my new favorite pieces.  For example, this case holds items that aren’t too difficult to interpret.  The kitchen tools remind me that while technology has advanced, if I were camping I would use items similar to these.



The impressive item in this case is the figurine in the middle.  Archaeologists pieced this miniature of Apollo back together from over 200 broken bits.


These broken bits of pottery all have something in common…the name Themistoclies.  How do you get rid of your political opponent? According to our guide, ostracism was a way to keep any one man from amassing too much power.  A quorum of 6000 men had to be present in order for a vote to be valid then the man with the highest number of votes was forced to leave Athens for 10 years.  It became a tactic among rivaling political parties.  


The Church of the Holy Apostles. This Byzantine church built in the 10th century is one of only two buildings on the Agora to survive intact since it was first built.


 Temple of Hephaestus--Best preserved doric temple in Athens.


Genius plumbing.


Crummy photograph, but this is the view from the Agora towards the Acropolis







1 comment:

  1. Lovely shots and what an amazing place to see. i would thing one of your walking tours would be alot of fun here. Seeing the places and hearing the history would be a great combination. Oh, and that ostracism might be of interest to some folks in the US now. LOL. Enjoyed your visit here

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