The Athenian Agora and the experiment in democracy

We recognize ancient Greece as the birthplace of democracy, but what did democracy really mean to the Greeks?



Site plan of the Agora of Athens in the Classical period

Site plan of the Agora of Athens in the Classical period, creator: Tomisti, CC BY-SA 4.0

  1. Leokoreion
  2. Altar of Twelve Gods
  3. Royal Stoa (Stoa Basileios)
  4. Temple of Zeus, later Stoa of Zeus
  5. Old and new Temple of Apollo Patroos
  6. Old Metroon
  7. Bouleuterion
  8. Aiakeion (not Heliaia as previously thought)
  9. SE fount (often Enneakrunos)
  10. Eleusinion (outside the map)
  11. Stoa Poikile
  12. Temple of Hephaestus
  13. New Bouleuterion
  14. Prytanikon, later Tholos
  15. Monument of Eponymous Heros
  16. Altar of Zeus Agoraios
  17. Temple of Zeus Phratrios and Athene Phratria
  18. Strategeion
  19. House of Simon & agora boundary stone
  20. South Stoa I
  21. Mint
  22. Columned court

Additional resource

Athenian Agora Excavations by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens with resources on the history of excavations and democracy, guide to the site, research, and publications

Smarthistory images for teaching and learning:

[flickr_tags user_id=”82032880@N00″ tags=”agora,”]

More Smarthistory images…

Cite this page as: Dr. Steven Zucker and Dr. Beth Harris, "The Athenian Agora and the experiment in democracy," in Smarthistory, December 15, 2015, accessed December 4, 2023,