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Athens in the Hellenistic Period 4 th – 2 nd century BCE "Hellenistic" Defines the period of Macedonian rule Lasts from 4 th century BCE (when Philip II defeats Athens) until 2 nd century BCE Philip II of Macedon Leader of Macedonia Wanted to expand Macedonian territory

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Athens in the Hellenistic Period

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athens in the hellenistic period

Athens in the Hellenistic Period

4th – 2nd century BCE

  • Defines the period of Macedonian rule
  • Lasts from 4th century BCE (when Philip II defeats Athens) until 2nd century BCE
philip ii of macedon
Philip II of Macedon
  • Leader of Macedonia
  • Wanted to expand Macedonian territory
  • 338 - Defeated Thebans and Athenians at Battle of Chaironeia in Boeotia
  • Respected Athen’s distinguished history

Athenians were still hostile toward Macedonians

    • Posted a decree in 337 BCE:
    • “If anyone rise up against the Demos for tyranny or join
    • in establishing the tyranny or overthrow the Demos of Athenians or the democracy of Athens, whoever kills him who does any of these things shall be blameless.
  • Philip II was assassinated 336 BCE, but not in Athens
alexander the great
Alexander the Great
  • Succeeded Philip
  • Was also inclined to treat Athens with respect
  • Busy with conquests in the east
new developments in athens
New Developments in Athens
  • Athenians were able to recover some lost fortunes
  • Mined silver at Laureion to the southeast
  • Able to build:
    • New Stadium for Panathenaic games
    • Theatre in Precinct of Dionysus
    • Some new structures at the Agora
new stadium
New Stadium
  • 330 - Lycurgus (important civic figure) had new stadium built
  • To the southeast of the city
  • Simple structure but was built over later
    • 2nd century AD by Herodes Atticus
    • 1896 for modern Olympic games
theatre of dionysus
Theatre of Dionysus
  • On the southeast slope of acropolis
  • Originally built around 500 BCE
  • Lycurgus builds first permanent stone theatre in Athens
    • Skene (background building) was made of stone
      • Roof and columned façade
      • 46 m long
  • Auditorium could hold audience of 14,000
    • Divided into wedges by stairways
  • Also constructed a new temple to the south of older, smaller temple to Dionysus Eleuthereus
new building endeavors at agora
New Building Endeavors at Agora



  • Southwest corner of square
  • Major addition to Athenian water supply
  • Possibly marked period of drought
  • Against north face of old lawcourt
  • Flotation device measured water level as it drained
  • Kept time for trials, market opening and closing, etc.
temple of apollo patroos
Temple of Apollo Patroos
  • Along west side of Agora
  • Small plain structure
    • Ionic columns in antis
    • 10 x 16.5 m
  • Contained several statues of Apollo by various artists

Alexander died 323 BCE

  • Successors war over territories
  • Lamian Wars
    • Athenians and other Greeks rebel
    • Short-lived
  • 317 – Cassander gains control of Athens
    • Aristocratic government
  • 307/6 – Demetrios Poliorcetes
    • Liberates Athens
    • Democracy is restored, new tribes
civil wars
Civil Wars
  • 3rd century BCE
  • 307 – 261 BCE – government changes hands 7 times
  • Disputes between pro-Macedonians and nationalists
  • Bouleuterion shows signs of damage
  • Almost no new buildings in city
    • Square Peristyle – never finished
    • Arsenal
philip v of macedon more war
Philip V of Macedon: More War
  • New war between Philip V and Greeks toward end of 3rd century
    • First Macedonian War
  • Romans aided Athens against Macedonians
  • Philip attacked and damaged buildings/graves outside city walls
  • 2nd century: Rome defeats Philip
    • Ushered in period of relative stability and independence in Athens
    • With new stability, could undertake civic building projects
reorganization of agora
Reorganization of Agora
  • Attempt to impose sense of order and regularity
  • Stoa of Attalos II
  • New South Stoa (South Stoa II)
  • Middle Stoa
  • East building
  • New area known as the south square
stoa of attalos
Stoa of Attalos
  • Attalos II of Pergamon
  • Show of gratitude
  • Two-storey
  • Marble façade, walls of stone from Peiraeus, terra cotta roof
  • Rooms behind colonnades were probably shops
  • Stoa recreated in the 20th century

Outer ground floor columns are Doric

  • Inner ground-floor

and upstairs are Ionic

middle stoa constructed ca 180 bce
Middle Stoa – constructed ca. 180 BCE
  • Built at right angle to Stoa of Attalos
  • Single-storey
  • Doric colonnades on all sides
  • Inner ionic colonnade divided stoa into two aisles
  • Middle Stoa, East building, and South Stoa II to form South Square
east building
East building
  • Connected to both South Stoa II and Middle Stoa
  • Divided in two length-wise
    • Eastern section faced Panathenaic way and consisted of one room
    • Western section faced the direction of the Agora and had five square rooms
  • Helped form a new area called the South Square
south stoa ii
South Stoa II
  • Parallel to the Middle Stoa
  • Doric single-aisled stoa
    • North side 30 columns
    • Walls on south, east, west sides
  • Replaced an earlier structure (South Stoa I)
    • Was angled differently than the earlier building
    • An attempt to regularize the area
  • Connected to old law court building at west end
south square
South Square
  • Area closed-off by Middle Stoa, South Stoa, and East building
  • What was function?
    • First labeled as a commercial agora
    • New buildings were erected here just as old law court enclosures were abandoned for Stoa of Attalos
    • In the middle there are two rectangular foundations for small temples dated to 100 BCE
closing thoughts
Closing thoughts…
  • When Athens was independent from foreign rule, civic architecture flourished
  • Conversely, during periods of war and instability there was little architectural development
  • Agora was a center of architectural development in Hellenistic period
  • Camp, John M. – The Athenian Agora: Excavations in the Heart of Classical Athens
  • Tomlinson, Richard – From Mycenae to Constantinople
  • Wycherley, R.E. – The Stones of Athens
  • Perseus Building Catalogue: