Location: Left of the Poikile Stoa (No. 28 in the Agora plan of the Guide: Mc Camp II, J., The Athenian Agora, A Short Guide to the Excavations, Excavations of the Athenian Agora, Picture Book no 16, American School of Classical Studies, Princeton 2003, pp. 2 and 24-25), in the N end of the Agora.
Date of Construction: after 303-302 BC
Periods of Use: Hellenistic, Roman


Of the Hellenistic Gate which allowed access to the Agora from the North, situated as it was W of the Poikile Stoa and East of the Altar of Aphrodite, few traces survive. Together with a trophy, it was dedicated in 303/302 BC, to commemorate the victory of the Athenians and Demetrius the Besieger over the Macedonians in Peloponnesus. Today only the bases of the gate's pylons remain. 


During the excavation of the site of the Poikile Stoa, in the early 1980s, two pilasters were discovered, which formed the base for the pylons of a robust gate, which allowed access to the area of the Agora from the north. The eastern pilaster, whose foundations lie on the steps of the stereobate of the Poikile Stoa, measures 2.5 Χ 3.3m.  These foundations consist of eight large limestone blocks, placed in fours in each layer.  Two and a half meters to the west are the foundations of the second pilaster, which survives in a much worst state: the upper stone layer is missing altogether and from the lower level a number of stones have been taken to cover a nearby duct.  Of the western pilaster a pair of limestone slabs survives; these are more finely dressed and belong to the gate’s superstructure.  These foundations to the west support today a much later ionic column. 

The distance between the two pilasters indicates that the gate was rather narrow and could not have been one of the main entrances to the area of the Agora. 

Pausanias (1.15.1) mentions a gate immediately before discussing the Poikile Stoa, and this allows us to safely identify this gate as the monument excavated in 1981 and 1982.  On the gate stood a trophy with which the Athenians celebrated the victory achieved by Demetrius the Besieger and the Athenian cavalry which accompanied him over the Macedonian cavalry of Pleistarchos, Cassandros’ brother, in the year 303/302 BC in Peloponnesus.

The reconstruction of the monument is clearly tentative: the excavators think that this was an archway (arched/vaulted gate). At its top stood the trophy and possibly a gilded statue of a figure on horseback, which represented king Demetrius himself. Of this monument survives a sandaled left leg, part of the creases of the garment and a sword in its sheath, in natural size. All three fragments bear grooves in which the leafs of gold were fixed. The statue was discovered in a well, 26m south of the Gate; this well was filled with material dating to 200 BC.  Alternatively, these could be the remains of another statue of Demetrius, mentioned in an inscription, which was put up close the Complex of the Tyrranicides. In either case, the monument was destroyed and buried around 200 BC, when the Athenians wished to erase all things reminding of the period of Macedonian rule in their city.

Mc CAMP II, J., The Athenian Agora: A Guide to the Excavation and Museum, 4th ed., Athens 1990. p.109.
Mc CAMP II, J., The Athenian Agora: Excavations in the Heart of the Classical City², Cambridge University Press 2001), pp. 198-200.
SHEAR, T.L., «The Athenian Agora: Excavations of 1980-1982», Hesperia 53 (1984), pp. 1-57, table 1-11 (esp. 19-24).

Hellenistic gate, 3D representation

The project "Virtual Reality Digital Collection 'The Ancient Agora of Athens'" has been co-funded in a percentage of 80% by the European Regional Development Fund and in a percentage of 20% by state funds in the framework of the Operational Programme "Information Society" of the 3rd Community Support Framework.

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