The Ancient City of Athens
The Roman Agora & the Tower of the Winds

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The Roman Agora (Market of Caesar and Augustus) is located on the north side of the Acropolis, and a short distance to the east of the Greek Agora, with which it was connected by a paved street. An inscription (IG II2 3174) on the architrave of the monumental Gate of Athena Archegetis ("Athena the Leader") tells us that Julius Caesar and Augustus provided the funds for its construction in the 1st century B.C. The Roman Agora consists of a large, open-air courtyard surrounded by colonnades on all four sides. On the eastern side, there were also a series of shops. On the southern side was a fountain. The main entrance was on the west (Gate of Athena Archegetis), and there was a second entrance (or propylon) on the east, leading up to a public latrine and the "Tower of the Winds." The Roman Agora apparently became the main market of the city, taking over many of the commerical functions of the Greek Agora, which had become something of a museum (or archaeological park) by that time.

The Tower of the Winds (or the Horologion of Andronikos of Kyrrhos), is a tall, octagonal building  immediately east of the Roman Agora. It was designed by a famous astronomer (Andronikos of Kyrrhos) to be an elaborate water clock (on the inside), sundial (on the outside), and weather vane (on the top). The nickname "Tower of the Winds" is derived from the personifications of the 8 winds carved on the 8 sides of the building. Scholars used to think that the Tower of the Winds was built in the 1st century B.C. (that is, during the early Roman empire), but many archaeologists now prefer a constuction date in the mid-2nd centry B.C. (during the Hellenistic period).

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Select Bibliography: The Roman Agora (Market of Caesar and Augustus)
  • Hoff. M. 1988. "The Roman Agora," (diss. Boston University)
  • Hoff, M. 1989. "The Early History of the Roman Agora at Athens," in The Greek Renaissance in the Roman Empire, eds. S. Walker and A. Cameron, London, pp. 1-8.
  • Hoff. M. 1994. "The So-Called Agoranomion and the Imperial Cult in Julio-Claudian Athens," Archäologische Anzeiger 109, pp. 93-117.
  • Walker, S. 1997. "Athens under Augustus," in The Romanization of Athens, ed. M.C. Hoff and S.I. Rotroff, Oxford, pp. 67-80.

Select Bibliography: The Tower of the Winds (Horologion of Andronikos)

  • Kienast, H. "The Tower of the Winds in Athens: Hellenistic or Roman?" in The Romanization of Athens, ed. M.C. Hoff and S.I. Rotroff, Oxford, pp. 53-65.
  • Noble, J.V., and de Solla Price, D.J. 1968. "The Water Clock in the Tower of the Winds," American Journal of Archaeology 72, pp. 345-355.
  • Robinson, H.S. 1943. "The Tower of the Winds and the Roman Market-Place," American Journal of Archaeology 47, 291-305.
  • Röttlander, R., Heinz, W., and Neumaier, W. 1989. "Untersuchungen am Turm der Winde in Athen," Jahresheft des Österreichischen Archäologischen Instituts, pp. 55-92.
  • von Freeden, J. 1983. OIKIO KYRRESTOU: Studien zum sogenannten Turm der Winde in Athen, Rome.

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