Picture Books

The Athenian Agora Picture Book series, started in 1951, aims to make information about life in the ancient commercial and political center of Athens available to a wide audience. Each booklet describes a particular aspect of everyday activity, as revealed through the work of archaeologists and historians. The authors are all experts in their fields and many of the books are written by the original excavators. The texts are illustrated with material from the Agora excavations, much of which is either on display at the site or in the museum.

Physical copies of these books are easy to obtain from our distributors in either the USA or UK. By clicking on the associated links, you will be transferred to your nearest outlet. Class sets can be ordered via bookstores.

You can also immediately download low resolution PDFs by clicking on the download links. These are free for personal use. For permission to use in course packs, or for other commercial purposes, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01983, USA; Tel: 978 750 8400; Fax: 978 750 4250; http://www.copyright.com.

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Pots and Pans of Classical Athens


Authors: Sparkes, B., Talcott, L.
Publication Date: 1958
ISBN: 0876616015
Picture Book: 1

By mingling images on well-preserved Greek vases with the more fragmentary ceramics recovered during excavations at the Agora, the authors show how different vessel forms were used in Classical Athens. By linking the shapes of pots with their social functions, this book gives meaning to the ancient names, such as skyphos, olpe, kantharos, lekane, and hydria, that one encounters when visiting museums. The booklet is illustrated with over 60 black and white photographs.

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The Stoa of Attalos II in Athens


Author: Thompson, H. A. T.
Publication Date: 1992
ISBN: 0876616341
Picture Book: 2

Named after its donor, the King of Pergamon, the Stoa of Attalos was originally built around 150 B.C. Between 1953 and 1956 this long, columned, marble building was rebuilt by the American School of Classical Studies to store and display finds from the Agora excavations. Using original materials and techniques, the modern builders learned much about the construction and purpose of stoas, a ubiquitous classical building type. This heavily illustrated account presents some of their findings.

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Miniature Sculpture from the Athenian Agora


Author: Thompson, D. B.
Publication Date: 1959
ISBN: 0876616031
Picture Book: 3

Small sculptured figures of humans and animals have been found all over the Agora, ranging in date from the earliest occupation of Athens to the end of the Late Roman period. This booklet presents a representative sample of these carvings, ranging from elegant ivory figures of Apollo to small toy horses recovered from children’s graves. Illustrated with almost 80 black and white photographs.

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The Athenian Citizen. Democracy in the Athenian Agora


Author: Lang, M.
Publication Date: 2004
ISBN: 0876616325
Picture Book: 4

The artifacts and monuments of the Athenian Agora provide our best evidence for the workings of ancient democracy. As a concise introduction to these physical traces, this book has been a bestseller since it was first published almost 20 years ago. Showing how tribal identity was central to all aspects of civic life, the text guides the reader through the duties of citizenship; as soldier in times of war and as juror during the peace. The checks and balances that protected Athenian society from tyrants, such as legal assassination and ostracism, are described. Selected inscriptions are illustrated and discussed, as are ingenious devices such as allotment machines and water clocks, which ensured fairness in the courts. The book ends with some of the lasting products of classical administration; the silver coins accepted around the known world, and the standard weights and measures that continue to protect the consumer from unscrupulous merchants. Now illustrated entirely in color, with updates and revisions by the current director of excavations at the Agora, this new edition of an acknowledged classic will inform and fascinate visitors and students for many years to come.

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Ancient Portraits from the Athenian Agora


Author: Harrison, E. B.
Publication Date: 1960
ISBN: 0876616058
Picture Book: 5

Although the famous bronze statues seen by the Roman tourist Pausanias have been melted down, the Agora preserves a number of fine portraits in stone. While a few of these are named, most of the portraits in this booklet represent ordinary men and women; priests, athletes, and officials. Referring to over 40 black and white photos, the author discusses hairstyles, clothing and facial expressions to shed light on the individuals depicted.

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Amphoras and the Ancient Wine Trade


Author: Grace, V. R
Publication Date: 1961
ISBN: 0876616198
Picture Book: 6

Although this booklet is based on broken pottery found during the excavation of the Agora, the author ranges far beyond the confines of Athens in her discussion of the purpose and significance of different amphora types. She shows how chronological variations in shape and the geographical clues offered by stamped handles make amphoras a fascinating source of economic information. The booklet illustrates many different forms of amphora, all set into context by the well-written text.

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The Middle Ages in the Athenian Agora


Author: Frantz, A.
Publication Date: 1961
ISBN: 0876616074
Picture Book: 7

The story of the Agora did not end in A.D. 267, when the Herulians invaded the city. This booklet illustrates the ornate Early Christian carving and colorful green and brown glazed pottery that distinguished medieval Athens. Finds and architecture from the private houses that covered over the Classical remains are discussed, and the book ends with a survey of the Church of the Holy Apostles, the 11th-century church that stands at the southeast corner of the Agora.

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Garden Lore of Ancient Athens


Authors: Burr Thompson, D., Griswold, R. E.
Publication Date: 1963
ISBN: 0876616082
Picture Book: 8

In the spring, the ground of the Agora archaeological park is covered in poppies and daisies while poplars and oaks shade many of the pathways. Some of these plants are wild and some were deliberately introduced to Athens in Classical times. This booklet presents evidence for ancient horticulture in the Agora (for example, structured antique gardens were uncovered around the Temple of Hephaistos). Its color plates also provide a useful guide to identifying modern Greek vegetation.

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Lamps from the Athenian Agora


Author: Perlzweig, J.
Publication Date: 1963
ISBN: 0876616090
Picture Book: 9

At night, the darkness of the ancient Agora would have been pierced by the lights of oil lamps, and thousands of fragments of these distinctive objects have been found. This booklet presents the development of different styles of lamps and includes a very useful identification guide. The author discusses the manufacture of lamps in Athens, a major industry with over 50 known workshops in the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D. She also provides illustrations of particularly fine examples, including ornate festival lamps with many nozzles and bizarre shapes.

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Inscriptions from the Athenian Agora


Author: Meritt, B. D.
Publication Date: 1966
ISBN: 0876616104
Picture Book: 10

Many types of written records are found in the Agora, and this booklet presents a sample of more than 10,000 inventoried inscriptions on stone. The texts illustrated include diplomatic agreements, commemorative plaques for athletic victories, records of court judgements, boundary stones identifying different buildings, and fragmentary inscriptions featuring names (over 30,000 individual Athenians are now recorded). In a city of letters, even the problems faced by the librarians of the Library of Pantainos seem familiar: “No book shall be taken out for we have sworn an oath. Open from the first hour to the sixth.”

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Waterworks in the Athenian Agora


Author: Lang, M.
Publication Date: 1968
ISBN: 0876616112
Picture Book: 11

Preserved beneath the surface of the Agora are thousands of terracotta pipes, stone drainage channels, and lead pressure lines. These form a complex chain of waterworks, constructed and repaired over many different periods. This book discusses the complex engineering that channeled fresh water into the Agora and disposed of waste water, and shows some of the ornate wells and fountain houses where ancient Athenians gathered to drink and bathe.

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An Ancient Shopping Center: The Athenian Agora


Author: Burr Thompson, D.
Publication Date: 1971
ISBN: 087661635X
Picture Book: 12

As well as being a political center, the Agora was the focus of a noisy and varied commercial life. This booklet illustrates the archaeological, documentary, and pictorial evidence for such diverse trades as shoe-making, fishmongering, weaving, and the manufacture of luxury goods and perfumes. Shopping was just one aspect of this public space: ancient Athenians would also have received medical treatment, been married and buried, made sacrifices, and received education in the Agora. The material remains from all of these activities are also discussed. Vivid illustrations and useful resources, such as a table of prices and coinage, bring the bustling marketplace to life.

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Early Burials from the Agora Cemeteries


Author: Immerwahr, S. A.
Publication Date: 1973
ISBN: 0876616139
Picture Book: 13

Before the creation of the Agora as a civic center in the 7th century B.C., the region northwest of the Acropolis was a vast cemetery. Over 150 ancient burial places have been found by excavators, and a few of the more remarkable are described here. These range from a wealthy Mycenaean chamber tomb, filled with the vases and jewelry of a rich noblewoman, to the poignant pithos burial of an infant from around 725 B.C., accompanied by eight tiny vases. As well as describing the assemblages found, the author discusses the symbolism of funeral rites and the information about social status and identity that burials reveal.

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Graffiti in the Athenian Agora


Author: Lang, M.
Publication Date: 1988
ISBN: 0876616333
Picture Book: 14

“Return the stamnos to Philippa’s brother Philip,” “cheap wine,” “Alkaios seems beautiful to Melis,” “Of Tharrios I am the cup.” Like fragments of overheard conversations, the thousands of informal inscriptions scratched and painted on potsherds, tiles, and other objects give us a unique insight into the everyday life of the Athenian Agora. Some are marks of ownership, or the notes of merchants, but many are sexual innuendos, often accompanied by graphic illustrations. Using her wide contextual knowledge, the author suggests why these scraps of sentences were written, and what they can tell us about one of the first widely literate societies.

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Greek and Roman Coins in the Athenian Agora


Author: Kleiner, F. S.
Publication Date: 1975
ISBN: 0876616155
Picture Book: 15

Over 75,000 coins have been found during excavations at the Agora, many minted in the city but others brought from Athens’s far-flung commercial contacts. In addition to the mostly bronze and copper coins themselves, a building that may have served as the Athenian mint is described in this booklet. After describing the physical techniques of production, the author takes a chronological approach and includes numerous black and white photographs, making this concise guide a useful aid to the identification of lower-value Greek and Roman coinage.

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The Athenian Agora, A Short Guide in Color


Author: Camp, J.
Publication Date: 2003
ISBN: 0876616430
Picture Book: 16

In a newly revised version of this popular site guide, the current director of excavations in the Athenian Agora gives a brief account of the history of the ancient center of Athens. The text has been updated and expanded to cover the most recent archaeological discoveries, and the guide now features numerous color illustrations. Each monument still visible on the site is described in turn, and helpful maps and plans are a particular feature of this edition. Birthplace of democracy, the Agora remains one of the most fascinating archaeological sites in the world, and this is the essential companion for any visitor.

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Socrates in the Agora


Author: Lang, M.
Publication Date: 1978
ISBN: 0876616171
Picture Book: 17

As far as we know, the 5th-century B.C. Greek philosopher Socrates himself wrote nothing. We discover his thoughts and deeds entirely through the writings of his followers, disciples who accompanied him on his walks through the Athenian Agora or engaged in dialogue with him in the Stoa Basileios. Rather than examining his ideas in abstract, this stimulating little book aims to place Socrates in his physical setting, using textual references to follow his progress through the material remains still visible. The author not only sheds new light on the great philosopher’s life, but also provides a vivid reconstruction, through following the career of one of its most famous citizens, of daily life at the center of classical Athens.

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Mediaeval and Modern Coins in the Athenian Agora


Author: Kleiner, F. S.
Publication Date: 1978
ISBN: 087661618X
Picture Book: 18

From the thousands of pieces of Late Roman “small change” discovered trodden into beaten earth floors and dropped into wells to the hoards of 19th-century A.D. silver French francs discovered beneath modern houses, many post-classical coins have been discovered during excavations at the Agora. This booklet presents Byzantine, Frankish, Venetian, Turkish, and modern Greek coins, with many pieces illustrated with clear black and white photos of both obverse and reverse.

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Gods and Heroes in the Athenian Agora


Author: Camp, J.
Publication Date: 1980
ISBN: 0876616236
Picture Book: 19

Religion played a part in almost every aspect of civic life, so shrines, temples, altars, and dedications are conspicuous at almost every turn during a visit to the Agora. The author of this booklet shows where and how the major Olympian gods were worshipped, and then turns his attention to lesser known deities, such as Hekate, the triple-bodied goddess of the crossroads. He argues that the cults of heroes, such as Theseus, one of the legendary founders of Athens, were much more popular than the official state religion focused on the Olympian gods.

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Bronzeworkers in the Athenian Agora


Author: Mattusch, C. C.
Publication Date: 1982
ISBN: 0876616244
Picture Book: 20

The conspicuous Temple of Hephaistos, Greek god of metalworkers, prominently situated on the western side of the Agora, reflects the esteem in which bronzeworkers were held by the Athenians. Although many of the objects these craftsmen produced have now been melted down, the statues, lamps, and vessels that remain testify to the high standards of their craftsmanship. As well as illustrating some of the surviving finished products, the author discusses the techniques used to cast bronze and the level of skill involved in producing complex metal statuary.

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Ancient Athenian Building Methods


Authors: Camp, J., Dinsmoor Jr., W. B.
Publication Date: 1984
ISBN: 0876616260
Picture Book: 21

While this booklet is illustrated solely with materials from the Athenian Agora, it also provides a concise introduction to building styles and techniques that will be useful to anyone interested in ancient Greek architecture. From financing to tools, and from mason’s marks to the clamps that held blocks together, no detail is ommitted in this well-illustrated text. The different parts of monumental buildings, from the foundations to the tile roofs, are all discussed with clear drawings to indicate how the whole was constructed.

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Birds of the Athenian Agora


Authors: Lamberton, R. D., Rotroff, S. I.
Publication Date: 1985
ISBN: 0876616279
Picture Book: 22

As well as the Little Owl, or glaux, so often seen accompanying the goddess Athena, many other birds played an important role in Greek art and symbolism. This booklet describes the ways in which the Greeks viewed birds, from useful hawks and fowl to exotic parakeets and peacocks. Some of the birds most often depicted are imaginary—from the griffin to the “phallos bird,” whose head and neck consisted of an erect penis. The book ends with a birder’s guide to species likely to be seen on a visit to the Agora archaeological park today.

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Life, Death, and Litigation in the Athenian Agora


Author: Lang, M.
Publication Date: 1994
ISBN: 0876616376
Picture Book: 23

Athens was a famously litigious city in antiquity, as the sheer quantity of evidence for legal activity found in the Agora makes clear. Every kind of case, from assault and battery to murder, and from small debts to contested fortunes, were heard in various buildings and spaces around the civic center, and the speeches given in defence and prosecution remain some of the masterpieces of Greek literature. As well as describing the spaces where judgments were made (such as the Stoa Basileios, office of the King Archon), the author discusses the progress of some famous cases (known from the speeches of orators like Demosthenes), such as the patrimony suit of a woman named Plangon against the nobleman Mantias, or the assault charge leveled by Ariston against Konon and his sons.

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Horses and Horsemanship in the Athenian Agora


Author: Camp, J.
Publication Date: 1998
ISBN: 0876616392
Picture Book: 24

This concise and beautifully illustrated book demonstrates the many roles played by the horse in the lives of the Greeks, from its place in myth and early history to its significance as a marker of social status and its use in warfare, transportation, games, and festivals. From their arrival in Greece, at the start of the Middle Bronze Age (ca. 2000 B.C.), horses were a powerful symbol of rank. Bridles and other horse trappings are often found in graves, alongside vases depicting horses grazing, racing, and parading. Sculpture is also full of horse imagery, from monumental equestrian statues (a bronze leg and gilded sword are all that remain from one of these) to tiny terracotta figurines, perhaps a child’s toys. As well as presenting many examples of horse imagery found in the Agora, the author reports on recent finds near the ancient hipparcheion, the stables of the Athenian cavalry.

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The Games at Athens


Authors: Neils, J., Tracy, S. V.
Publication Date: 2003
ISBN: 0876616414
Picture Book: 25

This attractive book presents a general introduction to the Greater Panathenaia, the week-long religious and civic festival held at Athens every four years in honor of the city’s patron goddess, Athena. The highlight of the city’s festival calendar, with its musical, athletic, and equestrian contests, tribal events, processions, sacrifices, and other activities, the Greater Panathenaia involved all the residents of Athens—not just adult males but women, children, metics (resident aliens), foreigners, and even slaves. The facilities, administration, program events, prizes, and associated monuments are described.

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Women in the Agora


Authors: Rotroff, S., Lamberton. R.
Publication Date: 2006
ISBN: 0876616449
Picture Book: 26

Using evidence from the Athenian Agora, the authors show how objects discovered during excavations provide a vivid picture of women’s lives. The book is structured according to the social roles women played—as owners of property, companions (in and outside of marriage), participants in ritual, craftspeople, producers, and consumers. A final section moves from the ancient world to the modern, discussing the role of women as archaeologists in the early years of the Agora excavations.

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Marbleworkers in the Athenian Agora


Author: Lawton, C.
Publication Date: 2006
ISBN: 0876616547
Picture Book: 27

The 5th-century B.C. poet Pindar remarked on the rich sculptural decoration of the Athenian Agora, and, indeed, over 3,500 pieces of various types of sculpture have been uncovered during its excavation. This full-color guide sheds new light on the marble industry in and around the Agora, including rich evidence for sculptors’ workshops, their tools, and techniques. The text discusses the works of both famous and anonymous artists.

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Excavations in the Athenian Agora are conducted by the American School of Classical Studies.
Primary funding is provided by the Packard Humanities Institute (PHI).