© 1998 Bernard SUZANNE   Last updated September 23, 2000 
Plato and his dialogues : Home - Biography - Works and links to them - History of interpretation - New hypotheses - Map of dialogues : table version or non tabular version. Tools : Index of persons and locations - Detailed and synoptic chronologies - Maps of Ancient Greek World. Site information : About the author.

Map of Athens intra muros
in Socrates and Plato's time

Click on any location in the Agora or Acropolis to go to a more detailed map of that section.

Gymnasium (palæstra) in the northern suburbs of Athens located in a park along the bank of the Cephisius dedicated to the hero Academus. It is in a grove next to that gymnasium that Plato established his school, that took the name "Academy" from it. But before that time, Socrates probably frequented the place, like many palæstræ in Athens, as can be induced from a mention of Plato at Lysis, 203a.
Name, meaning in Greek "higher city", given by the Athenians to the sacred rock in the center of Athens. Initially, the Acropolis was the city itself (Thucydides, II, 15, 3) and the center of public life, but when the city grew and democracy replaced kingship, public life move to the Agora and Pnyx and the Acropolis was restricted to a mostly religious role.
That part of Athens which was both the market-place and the center of public life in the time of Socrates and Plato. The Greek word "agora" comes from the verb "ageirein meaning "to gather" and designated initially the assembly of the whole people, as opposed to the council of chiefs (boulè). From there, it came to designate the location of that assembly and what happened on this location, hence its later meaning of "market-place". This is the place where Socrates probably spent most of his life, talking with whomever he chance met in the kinds of discussions Plato's dialogues so vividly depict.
Name of a hill of Athens dedicated to Ares (the name in Greek means "hill of Ares") on which met an assembly of elders which took its name. In the time of Socrates and Plato, the Areopagus had been deprived of most of its power after the reforms of of Ephialtes, around 462 B. C. (for more on the Areopagus, see the section on the history of Athens' institutions).
Name of a public square and a suburb of Athens that owed its name to the fact that it was the potter's district (the Greek word for potter is "kerameus", from the word "keramos" meaning "clay"). The Ceramicus was also the place of burial for soldier dead in wars.
Attic deme.
Attic deme.
A Greek word meaning "double gated", used as a name for the Thriasian Gate, on the northwest of Athens, leading toward the deme Thria and Eleusis.
Attic deme and location of famous mystery cults to Demeter ; see entry on that location
Long Walls
System of defense of Athens linking the city itself to its harbor in Piræus by two parallel walls, in order to protect the communication between the city and the sea against potential ennemies, that is, the link of the city with its food supply and naval forces. The Long Walls were built between 459 and 457 B. C. at the instigation of Pericles. Another wall further east was linking Athens to another one of its harbors, Phaleron.
A gymnasium (palæstra) in the eastern suburbs of Athens, named after the nearby temple to Apollo Lycean (from the Greek name "lukos", meaning "wolf", an animal dedicated to Apollo). The Lyceum seems to have been a favorite palæstra of Socrates , if we are to judge by the many mentions of it in Plato's dialogues : the Lysis takes place after Socrates is stopped while on his way from the Academy to the Lyceum (Lysis, 203a) ; in the Euthyphro, Euthyphro greets Socrates by refering to his habit of haunting the Lyceum (Euthyphro, 2a) ; at the end of the Symposium, Socrates is said to have left Agathon's house in the early morning, leaving everybody else drunk and sleeping, to go strait to the Lyceum (Symposium, 223d) ; and the discussion of Socrates with the sophists Euthydemus and Dionysodorus retold in the Euthydemus takes place in the Lyceum (Euthydemus, 271a). It is near that gymnasium that Aristotle established his school, which, for that reason, became known as the Lyceum.
Attic deme and location of a famous victory of Athens over the Persians ; see entry on that location
Attic deme ; see entry on that location
Odeum of Pericles
A public building in Athens built by Pericles in 445 B. C. and initially dedicated to musical performances (the name "Odeum" comes from the Greek word "ôdè" meaning "song"). It hosted musical contests during the yearly festival of the Panathenæa. It was later used also for various other purposes, serving as a tribunal, a meeting room for the assembly and more.
The temple of Olympian Zeus.
Panathenaic Way
The road leading from the Dipylon to the Acropolis through the Agora, that owed its name to the fact that it was the road followed by the solemn procession (pompè) that constituted the high point of the festival of the Panathenæa, in which a new dress (peplos) was brought to the goddess in her temple of the Parthenon (see Plato's Euthyphro, 2c for a reference to this procession, that also inspired Phidias for the famous frieze of the Parthenon). The Panathenæa, celebrated in honor of Athena each year in the summer (during the month of hecatombæon, that is rouhgly July, the first month of the Athenian calendar), with a more solemn festival every four years (the "Great Panathenæa"), was one of the most important festivals of Athens. It was said to have been instituted by Erichthonius or Theseus at the time when he gathered all Attic tribes (the so-called synoecism) in one "city" and was a memorial of the Athenians' autochtony, their coming from the soil of Attica itself, as was the case with Erichthonius whose birthday was celebrated druing the festival. The Great Panathenæa included sports events and musical contests (Plato's Ion is supposed to take place when the raphsode Ion comes to Athens to compete in one such contest : see Ion, 530b) and were the occasion of a large gathering in Athens of people from all parts of Greece, especially from Athens' colonies. It is during one of these festivals of the Great Panathenæa that Parmenides and Zeno were supposed to have come to Athens and to have had with Socrates the discussion reported in Plato's Parmenide (Parmenides, 127a) and during another one that the discussions reported in Plato's Timæus and Critias are said to have been held (Timæus, 21a and 26e).
See commentary on the map of Acropolis for more on the Parthenon.
Harbour of Athens ; see entry on that location
Main harbour of Athens ; see entry on that location
The hill of Pnyx was the location where formal assemblies of the people (the ecclesia) were held.
Sacred Gate
The gate northwest of Athens, next to the Dipylon, so called because it was through it that the Sacred Way leading to Eleusis was leaving the city.
Sacred Way
The road leading from Athens to Eleusis and further to Delphi. It was followed, during the celebration of the Great Mysteries of Eleusis, by the solemn procession leading officials and faithfuls from the Eleusinion, the temple of Demeter at the foot of the Acropolis, to the Telesterion, her temple in Eleusis.
Island facing Piraeus in the Saronic Gulf ; see entry on that location
Cape at the southern tip of Attica ; see entry on that location
Theater of Dionysus
The theater dedicated to Dionysus, at the southern foot of the hill of Acropolis, where dramatic contests were held during the festival of the Great Dionysia. It started, toward the middle of the VI century B. C., when the cult of Dionysus was introduced in Athens and a wooden statue (xoanon) of the god was brought from Eleutheræ and placed in a temple built on the sacred ground (temenos) consecrated to the god, as a simple round square near that temple that was used during the festival in honor of the god for the ritual dithyrambic dance performed in circle by masked men disguised in he-goats while the crowd was watching from the slopes of the hill. It evolved along with the evolution of the Dionysia that were the matrix from which comedy and tragedy were born in the Vth century B. C. Tiers and a stage, both initially made of wood, were added, probably soon after the Persian Wars, at a time when the festival included full blown theatrical performances, and it is not until 330 B. C. (that is, after Plato's death) that the wooden seats were replaced by stony tiers as we know them today. It is in this theater (probably the first theater in the world) that the masterpieces of Æschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes were performed for the first time.
Temple dedicated to Theseus that was an asylum for slaves. The temple now called the Theseion, on a hill west of the Agora, was in fact a temple to Hephæstus, or Hephæstion. The actual location of the Theseion is not known.

Plato and his dialogues : Home - Biography - Works and links to them - History of interpretation - New hypotheses - Map of dialogues : table version or non tabular version. Tools : Index of persons and locations - Detailed and synoptic chronologies - Maps of Ancient Greek World. Site information : About the author.

First published December 13, 1998 - Last updated September 23, 2000
© 1998 Bernard SUZANNE (click on name to send your comments via e-mail)
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