Ancient Agora of Athens in Greece

Ancient Agora of Athens in Greece

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.

As you walk through the ruins of the Agora in Athens (open market area and place of assembly), keep in mind that this was the magnificent citycenter of ancient Athens.

Philosopher Socrates and his disciples came daily to Agora for discourse. One of the first buildings you’ll see is the Temple of Hephaistos, named after the Vulcan God, who shared with Athena the honor of being a patron deity of the arts and crafts. The temple was built between 4th and 5th century B.C., and is the best preserved of all the Greek temples. Between the Theseum and the Stoa of Attalos, you’ll simply have to imagine that you are walking between other temples, government buildings, gymnasiums and stoas.

Ancient Agora of Athens in Greece

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

Metroon
Peristyle Court
Mint
Enneakrounos
South Stoa I and South Stoa II
Aiakeion
Strategeion
Agoraios Kolonos
Tholos
Agora stone
Monument of the Eponymous Heroes
Metroon (Old Bouleuterion)
New Bouleuterion
Temple of Hephaestus (Hephaestion)
Temple of Apollo Patroos
Stoa of Zeus
Altar of the Twelve Gods
Stoa Basileios (Royal stoa)
Temple of Aphrodite Urania
Stoa of Hermes
Stoa Poikile

Other Notable Monuments

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.
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 gymnasium 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 3rd century.
A statue of the Roman emperor Hadrian was located near the metroon.
The Temple of Zeus Phratrios and Athena Phratria dated to the 300s B.C.E. and is located near the Temple of Apollo Patroos.
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.
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.
The Bema was a speakers platform and was located near the Stoa of Attalos.

Rhodes: Rich in archeological treasures and tourism

Rhodes: Rich in archeological treasures and tourism

Capital of the Dodecanese, Rhodes is an island of suberb natural beauty. It is famous as a holiday center. Rich in archeological treasures, with ruins covering the Hellenic, Roman and Byzantine periods, its main attraction is the walled medieval city of the Knights of Dt John.

The 15th century hospital is now an archeological museum containing the Aphrodite of Rhodes. Other points of interest include the ancient city of Lindos with the Temple of Athena; the Monastery of Philerimos and the excavated town of Kamiros. There are excellent sports facilities and duty-free shops. From 1 Jun – 30 September is the Annual Wine Festival and at Halkis religious festivities take place on 15 August.

From Rhodes you can visit the small islands of the Eastern Aegean. Kos is a fertile green island with golden beaches; good for fishing and small-game hunting. Birthplace of Hippocrates, Father of Medicine, it has a temple to Aesculapius, God of Healing and a museum. Nearby Patmos was where St John wrote down his Revelation; the 11th century monastery has a rich library. Lesbos was the birthplace of the poetess Sappho. It is the third largest island of Greece with enormous olive groves and a petrified forest.

Rhodes: Rich in archeological treasures and tourism

Corfu is the most beautiful of the Ionian Islands. Its spectacular scenery and sophisticated tourist amenities make it an internatioanl holiday center. There are beautiful villas, romantic Venetian castles and early 19th century Georgian architecture dating from the British occupation. The 16th century Cathedral is dedicated to St Spyridion, the island’s patron saint. Marvellous water sports facilities and an 18 hole golf course. Daily flights from Athens take less than two hours.

Mykonos is the most popular tourist island in the Cyclades and attracts many artists and international celebrities. It is a maze of winding streets, sparkling white-washed houses, domed churches, windmills and sun-drenched cliffs rising sheer from the sea. It is 5 hours by boat from Piraeus. Delos is five miles across the sea from Mykonos.

A small, arid island, it was important as the legendary birthplace of Apollo. Acres of ruins and statuary attract archeologists, and precious relics are preserved in the museum. Thira (Santorini); clmb up above its cliffs to the crater of the volcano whose mighty eruption buried Minoan civilization. Milos, where the Venus de Milo was found, and Paros, famous for its white marble, are also in the Cyclades group.

Mediterranean Sea: The heart of the Old World

Mediterranean Sea: The heart of the Old World

The Mediterranean Sea was the heart of the Old World; the important lands of the early history of civilization were grouped about its richly indented shores, generally decreasing in respect of culture as they receded from it. The northeastern part of the Mediterranean, because of its many islands, having an even greater proportionate coast-line, was the centre of the countries ennobled by Hellenic civilization.

Separating and uniting at once, like all the waters of the earth, the Aegean Sea formed the boundary between the two chief races of Greek intellectual life–the Dorians and the Ionians; while it was, at the same time, the favoring medium of exchange for the productions of their genius. European Greece, with its predominating Doric population, and the almost exclusively Ionic coasts of Asia Minor, equally looked upon this sea as their own, traversing it with thousands of ships, and gaining more from the trackless waters before them than from the interior lands of the immense continents whose seaboard alone they were content to occupy.

In Asia the Greeks were restricted to the countries upon its uttermost western border; in European Greece the development was chiefly directed towards the eastern coast, paying even less attention to their own shores on the Adriatic than to the early colonized ports of Magna – Graecia and Sicily. The Archipelago itself provided convenient strongholds and outposts in every direction. The numerous harbors and anchoring – places of its many islands offered protection against the notorious treachery of the Aegean main–a protection imperatively necessary for the primitive seafarers of antiquity. But, as in the history of all civilization, the currents of Greek intellectual and artistic progress moved distinctly from east to west.

The European (Doric) culture was in itself less calculated to influence Asia than the Asiatic (Ionic) to affect the younger continent. It was, as decided by nature, upon European soil, upon Attica–the most advanced promontory of European Greece–that the two branches of the Greek race united, and bore in Athens that double fruit at which we marvel. The Dorians, displaced, in some measure, by the rapid growth of Ionic Asia and Europe, turned still farther westward, and settled upon the shores of Sicily and the Gulf of Tarention, where imposing monuments still attest the extent of their power.

The legends of the wanderings of Hellenic tribes, and especially of the so-called Doric migration, were based upon the busy currents of intercourse between Asia and Europe, over seas and straits, and between the European continent and the Morea, the Island of Pelops. The relations and the quarrels of Hellenic and semi-barbaric peoples upon each side of the Aegean are illustrated by the tales of the Argonauts and their voyage, and of the Trojan War, both of which bear the stamp of a certain piratical rivalry.

The fatal lack of unity, resulting from the separate development of neighboring districts, could not be more distinctly characterized than by the fact that the Greek races, although they felt themselves divided from other nations — from barbarians — by an impassable gulf, and were aware of their own absolute intellectual superiority, yet lacked any comprehensive designation for themselves: the name Greeks, or Hellenes, is of comparatively recent origin.