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ROMAN ATHENS

 86 BCE - AD 267

 

THE AGORA 

   In the Roman period many new buildings were built in the Agora. The Romans honoured Athens decorated the city with elegant public buildings. The first Roman emperor, Augustus, made the first steps for this. With his order the classical Temple of Ares it was transported there, while his general Agrippas built in the middle of the Agora the Odeion.

   Here follows a presentation of the most important monuments of the Roman period Agora.

To see the images in full screen, just click on them!

General view of the Agora. 1. SE Temple, 2.Nymphaion, 3. Library of Pantainos, 4. Stoa of Attalos, 5. Odeion of Agrippa, 6. Temple of Ares, 7. Monopteros, 8 Basilica, 9. Poikile Stoa, 10. NW Temple, 11. SW Temple, 12. Middle Stoa, 13.Temple of Hephaistus.

The Odeion of Agrippa (15 BCE)

   The Odeion of Agrippa was dedicated by the Roman general Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa during his visit in Athens in 16-14 BCE. It was intended for musical shows and could accomodate 1.000 individuals. The South side was joined with the Middle Stoa thus creating the one of two entrances. The central room was 25 metres long and did not had any interior columns. This led to a roof collapse 160 years later (150-175 BCE). Immediately extensive repairs followed. The north facade was decorated with the statues of Giants and Tritons that are still visible in the area. The central room became smaller and the capacity was limited to 500 spectators. As a result the Odeion was used only for philosophic lectures, as the same time a new Odeion was built in the southern slope of the Acropolis, The Herodeum.

The Odeion of Agrippa in his first phase from the Northeast.

The Temple of Ares (440 & 15 BCE)  

   The temple of Ares was a classical temple built in the 5th c. BCE together with the other three almost identical temples (Temple of Hephaistus in the Agora, Temple Poseidon in Sounio and theTemple of Nemesis in Ramnous). In the end of the 1st c. BCE,  the temple was transported from some other point of Attica in pieces and was reconstructed in front of  Agrippa's Odeion. During the reign of Augustus, the transportation of classical buildings to Athens was a usual phenomenon . The place from where it was transported is not certain. However, the latest studies show that it may have been originally built in ancient Pallini and was initialy dedicated to Athena. There the foundations of a temple of the same dimensions were found but without any traces of the actual building.

The Temple of Ares from Northeast. On the left is the Odeion of Agrippa.

Monopteros - Basilica

    The Basilica of the Agora  was constructed during the reign of Hadrian. It was the characteristic type of a Roman Basilica and was used for commercial reasons or counsil meetings.

    Monopteros was a circular building that was built in the beginning of the 2nd century AD. Its use is uncertain. Possibly it was a small temple or a fountain.

General view from south. On the left is the eastern wall of the Odeion of Agrippa, then the Poikile Stoa, the Basilica, the Monopteros and the Stoa of Attalos.

The Monopteros in front of the Basilica and the Stoa of Attalos

The Library of Pantainos (AD 98-102)

     The Library of Pantainos was built by the Athenian Titus Flavivs Pantainos between AD 98 and 102. It was a building used as a library which is obvious from the two inscriptions found in the area. According to one of them, Pantainos with his son and daughter gave the books, the equipment and dedicated the building to the emperor Trajan. It is very likely that the building it preexisted and that Pantainos added the stoas around it and the internal colonnade. Another inscription reads: "No book shall come out of the library because we gave an oath. The library will be open from the first to the sixth hour".

The Library of Pantainos from above. On the left is the southern end of the Stoa of Attalos.

The Library of Pantainos from northwest. On the background, the Acropolis.

The road between the Library of Pantainos and the Stoa of Attalos that connected the Agora with the newly built Roman Agora of Caesar and Augustus.

Nymphaion and SE Temple

The Nymfaion was a monumental fountain that was constructed around AD 140. It had a semicircular form and in the arches of the northern facade stood statues of the imperial family. In the big pedestal in front, stood the statue of Hadrian that can be found today in the Eastern part of the Agora, just under the Temple of Hephaistos.

The temple next to the Nymphaion was built in the beginning of the 1st c. AD. For his construction was used material from a classic building that was transported by another region of Attica. A lot of members were found in the nearby postheroulian wall. These materials were probably part of a Doric building of Thorikos. In the interior of the temple were found pieces of a big woman's statue. Thus the Temple can be possibly identified with the Temple of Demeter that was reported by Pausanias.

General Views of the Roman Period Agora

View from the east. On the left is the propylon of the Odeion of Agrippa and on the right, is the Temple of Ares. In the boackground is the Metroon and on the hill, the Temple of Hephaistos.

From the Northeast. On the left is the Odeion of Agrippa and on the right, the Temple of Ares.

The Middle Stoa in the Roman times. The Soouth Stoa II and the Aiakeion were destroyed during the sack of the city by the Roman general Sylla in 86 B.C. and were not buuilt again.

The southwest Temple and the buildings that were perhaps used as government offices. The southwest Temple was also constructed from materials of another classical building (probably from the Temple of  Athena Sounias) and was possibly dedicated to the imperial family.

View of the central Agora.From left to right: The Temple of Ares, the Odeion of Agrippa and the SW Temple.

View from the North towards the Middle Stoa.

For other monuments of Roman Athens click below:

 THE ACROPOLIS - SOUTH SLOPE OF ACROPOLIS

ROMAN AGORA - LIBRARY OF HADRIAN

OLYMPIEION - GATE OF HADRIAN

 

 
 
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