The Agora Museum is located in an archaeological site of ancient Agora of Athens. The museum is housed inside the imposing Stoa of Attalos and shelters artifacts unearthed in the vicinity. The exhibitions shed light on the political and commercial life of ancient Athenians.
The Museum: Description and Significance for Visitors
The ancient Agora remained an influential place for centuries, so it is natural that the plethora of archaeological artifacts can fill a museum on their own.
The Agora museum is located in the Stoa of Attalos, which is a faithful reconstruction of the original Hellenistic era building.
The exhibition includes many every-day objects that shed light in the life of ordinary citizens for Athens, as well as many objects that shed light on the political and administrative processes of the city.
Alongside these, you will find exceptional pieces of art that were dedicated on the Agora by prominent officials or the state.
In the Agora Museum you will see objects ranging from the stone age to late Roman times.
Some of the most exciting objects to see include the multitude of “ostraca” on display.
Ancient Athenians invented and used ostracism as a way to remove from the city anyone who could be a threat to Democracy. Every athenian citizen would cast a piece of broken pottery after scratching on it the name of a person they believed needed to be exiled.
This was a secret ballot, and they used pottery shards because they were plentiful (a way of recycling) on the grounds. After the ostraka where counted, the person whose name appeared most times was exiled from the city of Athens for 10 years.
It’s heartbreaking to see how many ostraka in the museum display the names of prominent Athenians who were considered heroes even in their own time: Themitokles, Perikles, Kimon, Aristides, and many more.
Read the who’s who names of ancient Greece in these unassuming pieces of broken pottery and ponder the sophistication of a society that invented such direct political process.
Visiting the Agora Museum
You can visit the museum of the ancient Agora at the same time you go to the archaeological site. It is located in the imposing Stoa of Attalos–a faithful reconstruction of the original Hellenistic building.
You may visit the museum as part of our suggested (free) walking tour of ancient Athens
A casual visit to the museum would take about half an hour.
Other sites of interest nearby
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