ANCIENT AGORA OF ATHENS

I begin this video with a quote from Seneca the Younger; a Roman philosopher who lived centuries after the Temple of Hephaestus was built, but who certainly lived at a time when the agora of Athens was very much alive with activity. I chose his quote because, one, I live by it in many ways, and two, Seneca was a stoic, and the stoics’ roots are in the stoas of the agora in Athens. It’s where they gathered, and where they get their name: stoas —> Stoics.

Stoas were excellent places within the agora to congregate because they provided protection from the elements; e.g. rain, or relentless sunshine during hot summer months. While Socrates, pre-eminent among Greek word-merchants, was out in the hot Sun dousing his listeners with wisdom, the stoics sat comfortably in the cool shade of the Painted Stoa in the agora … which, given what stoicism is supposed to be all about, I find rather ironic.

Anyone can search for information on the agora online, so I try to offer what I think might be unique tidbits here & there not mentioned elsewhere; at least not conveniently. For those who are interested in watching the video below, look closely as I walk by the Doric columns. Bullet holes can be seen in some, no doubt solemn remnants of the Greek War of Independence (“The Agonas”) of the early 19th century CE.

Also, you’ll note blackened ceilings in the Temple of Haphaestus; this is from years of pollution; soot I imagine, from the incomplete combustion of petrol. There are Byzantine graffiti marks, marks from soldiers holed up in the temple during the war, and shifted column blocks from past earthquakes; the temple truly carries the scars of history like no other.

I doubt anyone visits this obscure website, but if so, I hope you enjoy the short video below