Abstract: A Sicilian Greek Agora

The year 2015 marks the sixtieth anniversary of the start of U.S. excavation at the Sicilian Greek city of Morgantina, where the agora was an early major discovery. This is one of the largest public spaces in the western Greek world.  In the third century BCE it became the scene of an ambitious architectural program that encompassed fifteen new public buildings. The landscape was itself reshaped to give these a coordinated scenographic setting.  The buildings constitute a catalogue of typical Hellenistic institutions, including a theater, fountain house, meeting places for the assembly and council, public offices including a bank, granaries, and rented commercial shops.  Recent research has resulted in the discovery of a prytaneion and shrine of Hestia, the common hearth of the city, and—although a fountain house may be a typical presence in the Greek agora, the one at Morgantina was evidently unique in being fed entirely by rainwater.  The agora of Morgantina offers the fullest surviving picture of the public institutions of a western Greek city in their intended setting. 

 

Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

Website at Morgantina.org/

M. Bell, “Excavations at Morgantina, 198-1985: Preliminary Report XII,” American Journal of Archaeology 92, 1988, 313-342.

M. Bell, “Spazio e istituzioni nell’agora di Morgantina, in Agora greca e agorai di Sicilia,  Pisa 2012, 111-118.

R. J. A. Wilson,  “Agorai and fora in Hellenistic and Roman Sicily, an  Overview…,” in Agora greca e agorai di Sicilia,  Pisa 2012, 245-267.    

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