Library of Pantainos

Lying partially under and behind the Late Roman wall are the remains of a building identified by its inscribed marble lintel block as the Library of Pantainos, dedicated to Athena Archegetis, the emperor Trajan, and the Athenian people in the years around A.D. 100 (Figs. 43, 44). It consists of a large square room and a paved courtyard, surrounded by three stoas that had shops behind their colonnades. As a cultural and educational building, the library reflects the role of Athens as the principal university town of the Roman empire. The dedicator, Titus Flavius Pantainos, was the son of the head of a philosophical school and refers to himself as a priest of the philosophical muses. A second inscription preserves the library rules: "No book is to be taken out because we have sworn an oath. [The library] is to be open from the first hour until the sixth" (Fig. 45).

Figure 43. Plan of the Library of Pantainos, ca. A.D. 100.
Figure 44. The north stoa of the Library of Pantainos, looking east toward the Gate of Athena.
Figure 45. Rules of the Library of Pantainos: "No book is to be taken out because we have sworn an oath. (The library) is to be open from the first hour until the sixth."

The northern stoa runs eastward, along the south side of a marble street that led in Roman times from the Agora to the Doric gateway of the market of Caesar and Augustus, also known as the Roman Agora. Destroyed by the Herulians in A.D. 267, the northern stoa was eventually rebuilt as part of a new large two-storeyed structure in the 5th century A.D. (Fig. 46), and the western stoa of the library was incorporated into the Late Roman fortification.

Figure 46. Reconstruction of the marble-paved street and stoa of the complex east of the Stoa of Attalos, ca. A.D. 420. At left is the Gate of Athena, the entrance to the Roman Agora.
Excavations in the Athenian Agora are conducted by the American School of Classical Studies.
Primary funding is provided by the Packard Humanities Institute (PHI).