Interactive tour at the Ancient Agora of Athens
Athens, the city of the goddess Athena, the city symbol of the political, intellectual and artistic achievements of Hellenic culture. Welcome to the Agora, the heart of the ancient city. A smooth slope at the foothills of the Acropolis which rises majestically on the south. On the west Aeropagus hill and Kolonos hill, while on the north is the river Iridanos. Here gathered the citizens for their commercial transactions and their political conflicts. It was the seat of administration and justice, but also the bustling centre of the intellectual and religious life of the area.
Even though it was inhabited already from 3000 BC the area started to assume its public character in the 6th century BC, particularly after its destruction by the Persians in 480 BC. On the west and north of the large open square they erected buildings with administrative and religious function, while on the south they erected buildings that were related to the commercial and economic life of the city.
Then follows an interactive tour to the Ancient Agora in the different periods.
Interactive happening in the Ancient Agora of Athens
A merchant, an archaeologist and a director discuss amongst the visitors of the virtual collection.
The virtual tour reached the Panathenaea way. The comments spoken by the museum educator refers to the procession of the Great Panathenaea as an introduction to the happening that will follow. Music starts playing in the beginning softly and later it becomes louder.
The comment elaborates on the peplos of the goddess Athena, what it depicted and the colors used, what it symbolized, what course it followed.
With the help of the actors (who are “invisible” in the specific happening) the peplos of the goddess Athena (which was created with scenes from the Gigantomachy) proceeds to move within the hall. From the actors’ hands it passes to the audience, which in this way it participated in the celebration. From hand to hand the peplos returns to the actors at the basis of the “Tholos”.
It takes place at the Stoa if Attalos (Hellenistic Period)
People: Architect, Merchant, Citizen, Athenian woman
The virtual tour reaches the Stoa of Attalos, where the above people appear and talk about the construction and the importance of the Stoa.
The statue of Hadrian (Roman Period)
People: Rhetor, Athenian 1, Athenian 2, Athenian woman
These people talk about the constitution of emperor Hadrian to the architecture of the Agora and the role played by the Romans during that period.
Persons: Herald, Citizen 2, Citizen 3, Citizen 4
The virtual tour reached the “square” of the Agora (from which it had passed before but now we stop. The environment of the Agora changes and becomes Classical again). The spectators participate in an ostracism and interact with the virtual environment, learning about the importance of ostracism in ancient Athens.
“Athena at the Ancient Agora”
Night time. A giant appears from afar carrying with difficulty a heavy piece of uncut marble over his shoulder. His steps are weary and he reaches a city whose buildings glimmer in the moonlight. He crosses the hushed city heading towards the sacred rock on which Acropolis towers. He lays down the piece of marble with a clamour and moves away treading slowly towards the city and the night. An old man appears and watches the giant moving away. The old man touches the marble with excitement. He picks up a chisel and a hammer and starts shaping the marble. When he finishes, he steps back to observe his creation. The statue of goddess Athena. The old man collects his tools and leaves. Daybreak. The light of day reveals the statue set up on the Acropolis. The statue of the goddess ‘comes to life’
Amidst the ruins
Athens pays for her unwillingness to bow to the Great King in the fumes of destruction. Because she supported the rebellious Greek cities of Asia, and Sardis went down in flames. Although it managed to ward off Darius’ great host in Marathon once, the message “we have won” that Pheidippides breathless carried to the city was not enough. Xerxes’ troops fell upon the vacated city seeking to wreak vengeance and subdue. The destruction in the Agora was absolute. Monuments and temples levelled to the ground, the courthouses and the Boule in ruins. Statues torn down from their pedestals, the ones, that is, not carried as spoils to Susa. The stoas, piles of rubble, goggling like the eyes of a blind man, stare beyond the ashes and the orphanhood. An effortless bravery it is to rage against unguarded gods, a vainglorious audacity to win without a battle. For Salamis is close and Nemesis lurks for the invaders in Plataea, only two steps away from Athens’ smouldering ruins.
The rock of Athens
Everything is born in the night and the murk! Amidst the darkness of destruction, the rock of the Acropolis springs out. The temple burnt down, the treasures looted, the few defenders of the wooden walls put to the sword. But of the night and the earth that gave birth to giants, titans and gods, man carves out his hope for the future. With fortitude art overcomes cruelty, with self-sacrifice freedom repels tyranny. With its will, its reason and its laws, the small democracy will stand up to the despotism of ridicule. Like the goddess, emerging through the rock once more in her favourite city, from the chaos of the ruins a new, more radiant and renowned Athens is to be born. Monuments in honour of the gods and the demos will rise from the ashes, and the rose-fingered dawn of history will breathe light. This dawn, in the dusk of ideas and centuries, has never ceased accompanying the thoughts and feelings of the world.