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Ancient Athenian Agora

Agoras in ancient times were districts, usually at the center of a city or town, where judicial-religious activities took place. They were sacred areas. They were also good locations to sell one's wares since such places got a lot of foot traffic.

 

The map to the right is dated by experts at 150 CE and greets visitors as they enter Athens' ancient Agora.   

 

The map below shows the Agora at approximately 391/390 BCE, the period when Sophronikos, Son of Sokrates takes place.

    Details from the maps are shown below:

Temple of Hephaistos

Panathenaic Way

Agora Boundary Stone

    Main Drain

House of Simon the Cobbler

       Simon's Cup

        Heliaia (Court)

         Athens' Prison

   Medicine vessels

       Perirrhanterions

      Altar of the Twelve Gods

                         

Athenian Agora Today

Temple of Hephaistos

Panathenaic Way leading to the Acropolis

 

 

 

 

 

                         

                         

 

Great Drain

Monument of the Eponymous Heroes

See a model of the

monument, here.

Marble posts marked the Agora's sacred boundaries. One marker was located near the house of Simon the Cobbler, which history tells us was an acquaintance of Sokrates. Sokrates would often come to Simon's home (shown below) to meet with the young who were not old enough

to enter the Agora.

 

To the right are objects found in Simon's house: bone eyelets, iron hobnails, and the base of a black kylix (drinking cup) with Simon's name inscribed on it.

 

Agora Museum

When entering a temenos (sacred space) it was customary to sprinkle and purify oneself with lustral water contained in a basin (perirrhanterion).

 

The pieces to the left are on display at the Archeological Museum in Sparti. The stand to the right, the Delphi Archeological Museum.

It was in the Court (Heliaia) shown below that Sokrates was tried and convicted of impiety and given the death penalty. 399 BCE

Literally a stone's throw from the Court was the Athenian prison. Here (center left above the road marker) is where Sokrates spent his last month before drinking hemlock.

To the right, hemlock cups used in the

execution of Athenian prisoners.

Agora Museum.

A favorite photo.

Unfortunately, what's left of the Altar of the Twelve Gods. From this sanctuary all distances in Attica were measured. You'll find a drawing reconstructing it here.

The Acropolis of Athens by Leo von Klenze

 

Now, on to the Kerameikos!