The Agora

4th-3d century  BCE

At the beginning of the Hellenistic era some small buildings were constructed as Athens struggled to reach its former glory. For the first time after the destruction of the city by the Persians in 480 BCE, the temple of Patroos Apollo was rebuilt. A big square peristyle building was constructed in the east side on the spot of the previous open-air courthouse. Also, the Athenians built a new fountain house west of the Aiakeion and the monument of the Eponymous Heroes was transferred in front of the Bouleuterion.

Άποψη της Αγοράς τον 4ο αι.π.Χ. 1. Το τετράγωνο περιστύλιο 2. Ο ναός του Πατρώου Απόλλωνα 3. Το μνημείο των Επώνυμων Ηρώων 4. Η νοτιοδυτική κρήνη.

The Agora in the 4th century BCE: 1. Square Peristyle, 2. The temple of Patroos Apollo, 3. The monument of Eponymous Heroes, 4. The southwest fountain house.


2nd century BCE

During the 2nd century BCE the Agora was significantly transformed with the addition of new big Stoas which dominated the place. These stoas were all donations of Hellenistic Kings and decisively changed the plan of the site to look more like the agoras of the newest cities of the Hellenistic kingdoms.


Πανοραμική άποψη της Ελληνιστικής Αγοράς. Σημειώνονται με τους αριθμούς: 1.Στοά Αττάλου, 2.Μέση Στοά, 3.Νότια Στοά ΙΙ, 4.Αιάκειον, 5.Θόλος, 6.Νέο Βουλευτήριο, 7.Μητρώον, 8.Ηφαιστείον, 9.Οπλοστάσιον, 10, Ναός Απόλλωνα Πατρώου και Ναός Διός, 11. Στοά Ελευθερίου Διός, 12.Βασίλειος Στοά.

A top view of the Hellenistic Agora. 1.Stoa of Attalos, 2.Middle Stoa, 3.South Stoa II, 4.Aiakeion, 5.Tholos, 6.New Bouleyterion, 7.Metroon, 8.Hephaisteion, 9.Arsenal, 10, Temple of Apollo Patroos and Zeus, 11.Stoa of Eleutherios Zeus, 12.Royal Stoa (Basileios).

The Stoa of Attalos (159-138 BCE)

The Stoa of Attalos was a donation by the King of Pergamon, Attalos II (159 BCE – 138 BCE) as an inscription on the entablature proves. It was two-storied, of Doric order, and was 120 metres long with 45 columns in the western side. In the Eastern one, it had 21 rooms that were used as shops. In noth and south ends  staircases led to the second floor.


Άποψη προς νοτιοανατολικά. Αριστερά η Στοά του Αττάλου και δεξιά η Μεσαία Στοά. Σε πρώτο επίπεδο, ο Βωμός των 12 Θεών και στο βάθος η Ακρόπολη.

View towards the southeast. On the left is the Stoa of Attalos and on the right, the Middle Stoa. In the foreground is the altar of the 12 Gods and in the background the Acropolis.

The Stoa was destroyed by the Heruli  in 267 AD and became a part of the postherulian wall of Athens. The remaining structural materials were used for the construction of the two medieval towers in the Propylaia of Acropolis. The Stoa was completely restored between 1953-1956 by the American School of Classical Studies in order to accomodate the Museum of Ancient Agora.

South Stoas

Middle Stoa (c.160 BCE)

The Middle Stoa was probably constructed by the king of Cappadocia Ariathes V around 160 BCE. It was 147 metres long and 17.5 m. wide. It had 160 Doric columns all around and was separated in the interior by 23 Ionic columns. It was completely destroyed by fire during the raid of Heruli in 267 AD.

South Stoa II (c.150 BCE)

The South Stoa II (c. 150 AD) was built from the materials of the unfinished Square Peristylion, which was demolished in order to build the Stoa of Attalos in its place. It was a simple stoa with thirty Doric columns in its northern side, while a small fountain stood in the southern wall. It was destroyed during the siege laid by the Roman general Sylla in 86 BCE. On its ruins marble workers and ironworkers settled their industries by using the ruins. During the reign of Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD), these industries were removed and the site was cleaned. A building (Eastern Building) linked the Eastern end of the South Stoa II and the Middle Stoa, creating an enclosed space which served as commercial market.


Western Agora

Works in a smaller scale were also realised in the western part of the Agora. The Old Bouleuterion was demolished giving its place to a bigger building, the Metroon (c.130 BCE). In the Metroon were kept the official documents of the city. It had many rooms and in one of them was the sanctuary of the Mother of the Gods, as a memory of the archaic temple (Metroon) that was destroyed by the Persians. Also, the Royal Stoa acquired two small wings in both of its ends, for the placement of the slabs with the laws. Finally, north of the Temple of Hephaistos, a big rectangular building was erected which probably served as an Arsenal.


Η Δυτική πλευρά της Αγοράς. Το κτήριο με την Ιωνική κιονοστοιχία στα αριστερά είναι το Μητρώον. Στον λόφο Αγοραίο Κολωνό, δίπλα στον Ναό του Ηφαίστου βρίσκεται το οπλοστάσιο.

The west side of the Agora. The ionic building on the left is the Metroon. On the hill, next to the temple of Hephaistos is the big Arsenal.

For other monuments of Hellenistic Athens click below: