What Goods Were Sold at an Ancient Greek Agora?
Agoras were bustling hubs of activity in ancient Greece. Originating from the Greek word for "open place of assembly,” the agora was centrally located and surrounded by various municipal and religious structures. Ancient agoras acted as meeting places for public speeches, political elections, sporting events, religious services and theatrical performances. In addition to setting the stage for various ceremonial events, agoras became public marketplaces where artisans and vendors could produce, sell and trade a variety of goods.
1 Linens and Other Things
Clothing and handmade textiles were sold at ancient agoras. Artisans and vendors sold a variety of homespun fabrics that could be used to make bedding, draperies and other household items. Ancient Greek fabrics typically came in bright colors with decorative designs. Ready-made clothing was also sold. Ancient Greek women wore ankle-length frocks made of linen or wool that were covered by fabrics draped over one or both shoulders. Men wore similar styles as women, with their garments being knee-length or above. Ancient Greek men and women occasionally wore hats, and women wore girdle-like undergarments around their waists.
2 Cobblers' Creations
While archeologists suggest that ancient Greeks traditionally went barefoot, advancements in shoemaking after 146 B.C. made shoes more commonplace. Cobblers and shoemakers set up shops and sold their wares at ancient agoras. Sandals, slippers and boots were available in various styles and colors. Leather, cloth and wood were common shoemaking materials, with wealthier ancient Greeks sporting more expensive gold-plated footwear.
Archaeologists have unearthed remnants of pottery materials from ancient agora sites in Athens, Greece. Pottery sold at agoras included cookware, serving bowls and dinner plates. Clay vases, figurines, bottles and honey jars were part of everyday life and were sold at ancient marketplaces. Pottery-making was prevalent in ancient Greek society, with artisans often decorating their creations with culturally relevant paintings and designs.
4 Greek Cuisine
Farming and agriculture were important parts of everyday life in ancient Greece. Garden-grown fruits and vegetables, along with meat, fish and Greek cheese, were sold at ancient agoras. Honey-laden pastries and candy were also available for purchase. Olive trees were sacred to the ancient Greeks, with olives and olive oil a common item to purchase. Vendors also offered spices, sesame seeds and grains for bread-making. Wine was popular in ancient Greece, with wine vendors also selling their products to shoppers.
- 1 Ancient History Encyclopedia: Agora
- 2 The American School of Classical Studies at Athens -- Athenia Agora Excavations: The Athenian Agora
- 3 University Press Inc. -- Ancient Greece: Culture & Society
- 4 Fashion Encylopedia -- The Ancient World -- Greece: Greek Footwear
- 5 University Press, Inc. -- Ancient Greece: Ancient Greek Pottery