Northwest Corner and the Hermes
The area of the northwest corner is where the Panathenaic Way, leading from the main gate of Athens, the Dipylon, entered the Agora square (Figs. 58, 59). This was accordingly the appropriate place for Herms, primitive markers used by the Athenians to mark all entrances. These took the form of rectangular shafts of marble with a set of male genitalia carved halfway up and a likeness of the god Hermes at the top. Several dozen examples of these very conservative monuments have been found in the excavations in this area, ranging in date from the early 5th century B.C. to the 2nd century A.D. (Fig. 60).
"Menekles or Kallikrates in his work on Athens writes, 'From the Stoa Poikile and the Stoa Basileios extend the so-called Herms. Because they are set up in large numbers both by private individuals and by magistrates they have acquired this name.'" (Harpokration)