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The Prytanikon/ Tholos (Dome)

The Prytanikon is believed to have replaced an older group of buildings, burned down by the Persians.

  1. Modern and Contemporary era (1821 - )

    1933 Beginning of excavation.

  2. Ottoman era (1453- 1821)

  3. Byzantine era (331 AC- 1453)

  4. Roman era (30 BC- 330 AC)

    267 μ.Χ. Despite the fact that it survived the invasion of the Heruli, the Tholos bore signs of destruction by the Visigoths (396 AD).

  5. Hellenistic era (322- 31 BC)

  6. Classical era (478-323 BC)

    470 BC Built around 470-460 BC, during Kimon's rule.

  7. Archaic era (800-479 BC)

  8. Geometric era (-1100- 800 BC)

  9. Prehistory (-1100 BC)

What I can see

The Tholos (i.e. dome) or Skias is a circular building, from which only the foundations survive. We can also see the foundations of the portico, which were constructed a few centuries later (Late Hellenistic period).

What I can't see

Pausanias places the Prytanikon/ Tholos in the southwest corner of the Agora. It had a conical roof and replaced an older group of buildings, burned down by the Persians. It was of a different architectural order but was probably used for the same purpose. It had six interior columns. As for the roof, it used diamond shaped tiles that were made specifically for the building. In the Hellenistic period, a bronze roof was probably added. The interior served as a meeting place and a dining room for the 50 prytaneis (executive commitee) and as a storage space for the official weights and measures of the city. The prytaneis were elected annually to serve a 36- day term and had executive as well as certain administrative powers, after decisions had been taken by the 500 deputies, and offered various sacrifices. The position of chairman (Supervisor of the Prytaneis) rotated daily. His responsibilities were to hold the keys to the public treasury, the sanctuaries and the seal of the State and to receive the ambassadors. His mandate resembled that of the President of the Republic but only lasted for 24 hours. Tholos was associated with the Thirty Tyrants, who sentenced their fellow citizens to death from the headquarters they set up there.


Foka Ι., Valavanis P., (1994), Περίπατοι στην Αθήνα και την Αττική, τόποι, θεοί, μνημεία [Strolls in Athens and Attica, places, gods, monuments], Kedros


Christopoulou Th., (2012), Θόλος Αρχαίας Αγοράς, [The Dome of Ancient Agora], Odysseus, Ministry of Culture,

Last visit 11/9/2013


Camp J., (2001), The Archaeology of Athens, Yale University Press, New Haven and London


Travlos J., (1980), Pictorial Dictionary of Ancient Athens, New York: Hacker Art Book