Location: In front of the Stoa of Attalus, in the eastern side of the Agora. No. 35 in the Agora plan of the Guide: Μc 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.
Date of Construction: early 2nd cent. AD.
Periods of Use: Roman


This small circular structure in front of the north section of Attalus’ Stoa, in the East side of the Agora, has been identified as a fountain.  It was built in the beginning of the 2nd cent. AD.  It was excavated in 1936, while supplementary excavations were carried out in 1951.


The Monopteros lies on front of the N section of the Stoa of Attalus, in the East side of the Agora. It was excavated in 1936, while supplementary excavations were carried out in 1951.  It is a building with a circular ground plan, 8.10m in diameter.  Part of its foundations, which take up half of the circle’s circumference and consist of a single line of hard limestone, were unearthed in their original position. Its superstructure consisted of ten unfluted columns of green marble, with inlays of dark green and white colour; these pillars supported capitals of a composite type and epistyles of Pentelic marble. Richly adorned pedestals were also discovered in the vicinity. The epistyle is intricately decorated with dentils and a superjacent astragal, while the brow is adorned with a relief flourish of shoots and blossoms. The sime is decorated with lotus leaves which alternate in two with lions’ heads. The building supported a brick vault, a material which left several traces: the mud bricks were arranged horizontally and are concave on the inside. Based on the pottery unearthed on the site as well as on the building and decorative techniques employed, the structure is dated to the 2nd cent. AD, and such use of mud bricks for the roofing of the dome is quite rare for this period.

A curved marble architectural member was discovered in close proximity to the building, dated probably to the 2nd cent. BC; it is thought that it surrounded an altar or some other prominent feature of the Monopteros’ interior.  It is, however, possible that it is unrelated to this particular structure.

Although the excavators adopted the term ‘Monopteros’, employed also by Vitruvius to describe similar buildings, its use as a temple is not certain. The view that it is a fountain is well-founded, fort in its southern side traces of a lead water pipe were discovered.

The building was completely destroyed in the late 3rd or in the early 4th cent. AD.


Mc CAMP II, J., The Athenian Agora: A Guide to the Excavation and Museum, 4th ed., Athens 1990.
SHEAR, T.L., «The Campaign of 1936», Hesperia 6 (1937), pp. 333-381, table IX (especially pp. 354-357). 
THOMPSON, H.A., «Excavations in the Athenian Agora: 1951», Hesperia 21 (1952), pp. 83-113, table 19-31 (especially 102-103).
THOMPSON, H.A., WYCHERLEY, R., The Agora of Athens. The American Excavations in the Athenian Agora, vol. XIV, American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Princeton 1972, p. 203.

Monopteros, Representation in VR environment

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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