Boundary Stones and House of Simon the Cobbler
Inscribed marble posts were used to mark the entrances to the Agora wherever a street led into the open square. Two have been found in situ, inscribed with the simple text "I am the boundary of the Agora," in letters that should date somewhere around 500 B.C. (Figs. 23, 24). The limits of the square had to be well marked for two reasons. First, people who were underage or who had been convicted of certain crimes (e.g., mistreatment of parents, failure to show up for military duty, impiety) were not allowed into the Agora. Second, markers were needed to define what was public land, to prevent encroachment by private buildings.
One such building, found just behind the northern boundary stone (horos, in Greek), produced bone eyelets and iron hobnails, suggesting that a cobbler worked here in the 5th century B.C., while a fragmentary drinking cup found nearby preserved the incised name of Simon (Figs. 25, 26). Diogenes Laertius records that Sokrates, when he wished to meet with those pupils too young to enter the Agora, would meet them at the shop of Simon the cobbler, which lay near the square. The evidence is circumstantial, but we may well have here the remains of one of Sokrates’ informal classrooms.