Lawcourts

Underlying the north end of the Stoa of Attalos are the slight remains of a group of buildings dating to the 5th and 4th centuries B.C. (Fig. 50). Largely open courtyards, they seem to have served as the lawcourts of the city, designed to accommodate the 201 or 501 Athenians who regularly made up a jury. As in the American system, these courts had the final say as to the legality and interpretation of any law, and essentially represent the sovereign power of the state.

The identification is based largely on the discovery of a container made of drain tiles set on end holding seven of the inscribed bronze ballots used by jurors to render their verdicts (Fig. 51).

Figure 50. Plan of the lawcourts under the north end of the Stoa of Attalos. (5th–4th centuries B.C.)
"As Euboulos says in Olbia, you will find everything sold together in the same place at Athens -- figs, summoners, bunches of grapes, turnips, pears, apples, witnesses, roses, medlars, haggis, honeycombs, chickpeas, lawsuits, puddings, myrtle, allotment machines, lambs, waterclocks, laws, indictments." (Athenaios 14.640b–c)
Figure 51 (right). Ballot box found underneath the north end of the Stoa of Attalos.
Excavations in the Athenian Agora are conducted by the American School of Classical Studies.
Primary funding is provided by the Packard Humanities Institute (PHI).