Plaster model of the Agora, Athens, as it might have appeared in the 2nd century AD
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The Agora was an open "place of assembly" in ancient Greek city-states. Early in Greek history (900s–700s BCE), 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 in Greek history, the agora served as a marketplace where merchants kept stalls or shops to sell their goods amid colonnades.
Classical Athens boasted a large agora (Agora of Athens) in the heart of the city. Under the Athenian dictators Pisistratus and Hippias, the agora was cleared to a rectangular open area of about 600 by 750 yards, bordered with grand public buildings.
The word agoraphobia, the fear of critical public situations, derives from agora in its meaning as a temple.