Agora of Athens Museum

Ostraca. Each has bears the name of"Themistokles"

The Archaeological Museum of the Athenian Agora is hosted in the Hellenistic Stoa of Atallos. The Stoa was rebuilt in the 1950's from the ground up with the purpose of storing the artifacts unearthed in the Agora excavations, and to house the museum where the most important items can be exhibited.

The museum highlights include art dating all the way back to the stone age, every-day life objects, and artifacts directly related to the Athenian democratic functions during the Classical period. Large boards with text provide explanations, and reproduction drawings accompany many important artifacts.

It is a small museum, prone to getting crowded in mid-day, and most of the artifacts are displayed behind glass. The museum's portico is a beautiful area In Ancient Greece, this part of the Stoa would be busy with merchants bartering with buyers behind their benches, and today it is a nice area where one may find refuse from the sun and to get some rest from sightseeing among some beautiful statues from the Greco-Roman era.

Photo Gallery

  • The Agora Museum is located on the ground floor of the restored Stoa of Attalos.
  • Base of a sculpture with a relief carving depicting a man getting on and off a chariot. This was a typical event in the Panathenaic festival, and this monument was apparently erected in the honor of one of the winners.
    4th c. BCE.
  • Fragment from a monument to a winner in equestrian games.
    Circa 360 BCE
  • Two female, marble statues.
  • Statue of a goddess (probably Aphrodite).
    Early 4th c. BCE
  • Statue of a Nymph holding an hydria (water jar), from the Nymphaeum.
    Created in the 2nd century AD, but modeled after a well-known 5th century Aphrodite type.
  • Votive female statue from Apollon Patroos.
    Circa 330 BCE
  • Mosaic floor from the Agora, on display at the museum.
  • Two burnished conical jars. Burnishing the fired jar by hand sealed the surface and gave it a high sheen.
    3200-2800 BCE
  • Beaker jug with glaze and two handles.
    1400-1375 BCE
  • Two ceramic vessels from the 15th century BCE. The one in the back has an ogival canopy decoration, and the one laying on its side is from Canaan.
  • Black-burnished ceramic jar (left), and a two-handled spouted jar with dark on light decoration.

    Between the two jars there is a fragment from a neolithic stone figurine found in the Agora excavations.
  • Fragmented neolithic statuette depicting a reclining female figure.
    4th millennium BCE
  • Ceramic bowl with three handles and a decoration representing lilies.
    1400 BCE
  • Three examples of Protoattic pottery.
    Back: Oipe with lion's head decoration.
    Circa 675 BCE
    Left: Neck of a hydria with a decoration depicting ten dancing women.
    700-675 BCE
    Right: Amphora fragment with bird decoration.
    Circa 650 BCE
  • Two beaked jugs (ewer) with spiral decorations.
    Circa 1400-1350 BCE
  • Wine cooler. Once submerged, the holes on its side allowed water to circulate and to speed up cooling of the wine inside it.
  • Ash urn with a single-handled cup used as a lid. It was found during excavations of a burial of a affluent, pregnant female.
    Circa 850 BCE
  • Pyxis with a lid handle in the form of three horses.
    Late Geometric period, 725-700 BCE.
  • Kylix, with the work of Chairias painter, depicting a kneeling woman.
    Circa 510-500 BCE
  • Fragment of a kylix with a painting of a warrior.
    Circa 480 BCE
  • Statuette depicting Caryatid around a column.
  • Statuette of Apollo Patroos
  • Head of a Herm stele from the northwest corner of the Agora.
    2nd c. BCE
  • Perfume bottle in the form of a kneeling athlete knotting the diadem--a ribbon that identifies him as a winner--on his head (diadumenos).
    Circa 540 BCE
  • Bronze head of a Nike.
    420-415 BCE
  • Marble statuette of Aphrodite from the Hellenistic period.
  • Marble statuette of Heracles of the Farnese type, from the Roman period.
  • Clay statuette of a female figure in a long dress.
  • Marble statue of Satyr holding a goat.
    Circa 150 BCE
  • Bust of Antoninus Pius
    138-161 BCE
  • Statue of Nike from the acroterion of the Stoa of Zeus Agoraios.
    Circa 415 BCE
  • Head of a Triton from the Odeion of Agrippa.
    Circa 150 CE
  • Stele with a report of the State Auctioneers (pletai). It records the leasing of mines near Lavrion.

    367-6 BCE

  • One of the more controversial policies of Athenian democracy was Ostracism. This blunt instrument of the state allowed its citizens to vote for the ten-year expulsion from the city of a person they deem dangerous or undesirable. In many cases prominent Athenian citizens with valuable contributions to the state were forced to leave Athens. In many cases citizens would ostracize a citizen out of fear that they might have amassed too much political power or influence, and in many more cases they became the victims of overzealous political opponents.

    Themistocles, the hero of the Persian Wars is one striking example of a prominent Athenian citizen who despite his contributions was forced to leave Athens and to die in exile.

    In the museum there are several examples ostraca. In this photo, the top fragment bears the name of Pericles, the middle one was cast by someone who wanted Kimon ostracized, and the bottom one reads "Aristeides of Lysimachus".
  • The first photo here is a fragment from a kleroterion, which was an allotment machine that allowed for the random selection of citizens to the various civic offices. On the bottom corner of the same photo are examples of the bronze tickets (pinakia) that were inserted into the slots. An attached mechanism to the left of the slots allowed for the random selection process.
  • Bronze ballots used by jurors to vote on a case. These are typical of the 4th c. BCE, and similar ones were use up until the 2nd c. BCE.

    In this photo, note how the bottom-left ballot has a hollow axle, otherwise it is identical to the others. This insured secrecy during the voting process because, ballots being identical otherwise, it was easy for a juror to conceal the ends of the ballot with their fingers as they cast their vote for guilt or innocence.
  • Oil lamps.
  • Necklace and gold jewelry.
  • Athenian coins: an Obol from the 6th century BCE (top left), a 5th century Tetradrachm (top center), a 5th century drachma (top right), and partial view of a 4th century Tetradrachm (bottom center).
  • Gold signet ring with representation of Minotaur leading two female captives.
    1400-1375 BCE