During the raid of the Heruli in 267 in Athens, most of the buildings of the Ancient Agora, like the Odeion and the large Hellenistic stoas were completely destroyed. Architectural members from these buildings were used in the construction of a defensive enclosure, the so-called Late Roman Wall, which coursed the east side of the Agora and enveloped the city’s northern part. In the late 4th century, Alaric and his Visigoths caused further, extensive damages to the city.
In the 5th and 6th centuries, however, there is renewed building activity in the area. We have the construction of some large building complexes, like the ‘Gymnasium’ to the south –an educational institution with classrooms, a library, a palestra and baths; large residences were erected north of the Areios Pagos (House C), in the area of the Tholos and east of the Stoa of Attalos. Some of these houses (for example, the ones in the south part of the Agora towards the Areios Pagos) are identified as schools of philosophy or educational institutions.
During Justinian’s reign, teaching in the schools of philosophy was suspended (529) and, according to the sources, several architectural members were taken from the buildings to be used in the erection of the Hagia Sophia church. The Slav incursion of 582 caused yet more devastation in the Agora.
New building activities dating to the late 7th century, like the conversion of the Hephaesteion to a church dedicated to St George and the construction of a complex east of the Stoa of Attalos, are probably related to the visit the Byzantine Emperor Constans II made to Athens in 662/663.
As can be gathered from the excavational data, in the 8th and 9th centuries the city goes through a period of decline. The first signs of a recovery become manifest in the following century. As can be inferred from the growing number of private residences in the area of Ancient Agora, the population levels are rising and the first churches are built, like the church of Aghion Apostolon (SS Apostles), later named Solakis’ church – an exquisite example of Middle Byzantine architecture, dated to c.1000.
In the north part of the Agora and the hill of Agoraios Kolonos, east of the Theseion, an extensive and densely populated district develops between the 10th and the 12th centuries. This part of the mediaeval city has been studied thoroughly and gives us a fuller picture of this type of district. Apparently, no town planning was applied. Houses are strung out successively on either side of a narrow street leading from north to south. These residences comprised small rooms arranged around a courtyard, which was usually white-washed and sometimes featured a shed on one of its sides.
Usually three chronologically overlapping building phases are observed. Wells situated in the courtyards provided water, while earthenware jars planted into the floor were used for storing foodstuffs. These buildings were rather shoddy, and generally only their foundations remain, rendering the reconstruction of their storeys impossible. Among these houses there stood small buildings housing workshops and commercial ‘stores’.
A large square building with rooms arranged perimetrically has been discovered, possibly a roofed marketplace or an inn, or, according to a third view a textiles workshop. The situation described above changes rapidly in the early 13th century following the 1203 raid led by the ruler of Nauplion, Leon Sgouros, and especially after the capture of the city the Franks in 1204. In the later years of the period of Frankish rule in Greece, few of the districts were preserved, while in quite a few of these there are signs of fluctuation between habitation and desolation.

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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