Late Roman Fortification Wall

East of the East Building and Mint we arrive once again at the Panathenaic Way, which in this area is lined along its eastern side by a massive wall built in the 3rd century A.D. (Fig. 42). The wall was constructed in the years following the sack of Athens by the Herulians in A.D. 267; it starts at the Acropolis with a new gate, runs north down the east side of the roadway, takes in the ruins of the Stoa of Attalos, and then turns eastward toward the Library of Hadrian. The old Agora, former center of town, is not even within the fortified limits of the Late Roman town, which lay to the east.

The wall is made up almost entirely of reused architectural pieces taken from buildings and monuments destroyed by the Herulians: marble architrave blocks, Ionic and Doric columns, inscriptions, and statue bases were all used to make two solid faces, while the interior was filled with rubble. Square towers, now largely dismantled, projected from the face of the wall at regular intervals.

Figure 42. Late Roman Fortification Wall, ca. A.D. 280–290, with many reused architectural blocks from buildings destroyed by the Herulians in A.D. 267.
Excavations in the Athenian Agora are conducted by the American School of Classical Studies.
Primary funding is provided by the Packard Humanities Institute (PHI).