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This article is about the ancient marketplace. For other uses, see Agora (disambiguation).
Stoa of the ancient agora of Thessaloniki
Agora of Tyre

The Agora (/ˈæɡərə/; Ancient Greek: Ἀγορά Agorá) was a central spot in ancient Greek city-states. The literal meaning of the word is "gathering place" or "assembly". The agora was the center of athletic, artistic, spiritual and political life of the city.[1] The Ancient Agora of Athens was the best-known example.


Early in Greek history (18th century–8th century BC), free-born male land-owners who were citizens would gather in the agora for military duty or to hear statements of the ruling king or council. Later, the agora also served as a marketplace where merchants kept stalls or shops to sell their goods amid colonnades.

From this twin function of the agora as a political and commercial space came the two Greek verbs ἀγοράζω, agorázō, "I shop", , agoreúō, "I speak in public". The word agoraphobia, the fear of leaving a certain area or public situations, derives from the meaning of agora as a gathering place.

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  1. ^ Ring, Salkin, Boda, Trudy, Robert, Sharon (January 1, 1996). International Dictionary of Historic Places: Southern Europe. Routledge. p. 66. ISBN 978-1-884964-02-2. 

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