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agora

agora (ăgˈərə) [key] [Gr., = market], in ancient Greece, the public square or marketplace of a city. In early Greek history the agora was primarily used as a place for public assembly; later it functioned mainly as a center of commerce. Usually in a readily accessible part of the city, it was often surrounded by the public buildings, such as the royal palace, the law courts, the assembly house, and the jail. A favorite architectural device was the colonnade surrounding the agora. One of the highest honors was to be granted a tomb in the agora. The agora was similar to the Roman forum.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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