Commercial Agora

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The Commercial Agora is located at the end of Curetes Street near the Celsus Library. It is the smaller of the two agoras in Ephesus. The Commercial Agora was first constructed during Lysimakhos’ time, in the 1st century AD. The ruins from the Roman Agora were first revealed during an excavation of Marble Street between 1901-1907. The original market place from the Hellenistic period was discovered below the current site during excavations in 1977. The Hellenistic Agora was only half size of its successor.

The Commercial Agora was one of the most significant trade centers in the ancient world. It would have been the shopping and trade center of Ephesus. Goods would have been brought in from cities all over through the harbor. The Commercial Agora was also where the slave market operated. Ephesus had the second largest slave market of the Ancient World.

The Agora a 110 x 110 meter area with a large courtyard and shops on either side. A large pedestrian walkway with a covered ceiling surrounded the area. The Agora was originally was built with granite columns but these were replaced with marble columns during a renovation in the 4th century AD. A large sundial and water clock would have rested in the middle of the Agora. The water clock drained out every twenty minutes. It was primarily used in court proceedings held in the agora to make sure the same speaking time was allotted to each person. Rectangular rooms would have been around the sides of the structure. At the end of the 1st century BC these rooms were enlarged. Most of these would have been used for shopkeepers to trade, but some would have been utilized as political meeting places.

An inscription along the wall of the agora is dedicated to the market supervisor. It reads: “The people of Ephesus express their gratitude to agronomy, Eutuches, son of Menecrates, for having pre-empted a rise in the  price of bread”.

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