The agora was the central marketplace in most Greek city-states. Typically the agora was located in the center of town. Governmental buildings, such as the council building and courts, surrounded the agora in Athens. There were also two temples on the edge of the agora in Athens.
The agora was more than a marketplace. People came to the agora to discuss politics, meet with friends, as well as buy items from the market. Rich women were not seen in the agora; instead, their husbands or slaves would do the shopping for them. Only poor women, who had no help, would go to the market alone.
In Athens, three different officials were elected to insure fair trade. A metronomoi checked weights and measures to insure traders were not shortchanging their customers. An agoranomoi checked the quality of goods, while a sitophylakes oversaw the grain trade.
As is the case in most Greek cities, modern buildings have been built over the agora of Athens. In 1924, the Greek government decided to excavate the Athens agora site. The numberof houses on the excavation site was more that the Greek government could afford to buy. In 1928, millionaire John D. Rockefeller donated $250,000 to finance the excavation of the site.
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