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Stoa Poecile


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(‘painted’). Known from over 50 literary testimonia, and excavated from 1981, it lies in the NW part of the Athenian agora; see athens, topography. It measures 12.5 by c.36 m. (41 x 118 ft.), made of various limestones, with Doric exterior columns, and Ionic interior columns with marble capitals (see orders), and is finely jointed. It dates from c.475–450, part of the Cimonian improvement of the area. The name ‘Poecile’ derived from the panel paintings it housed. Pausanias 3 gives the fullest account, mentioning scenes of the Athenians arrayed against the Spartans at Oenoē near Argos (perhaps an error for the Attic deme Oenoe and preparations for Marathon; see marathon, battle of), the Amazonomachy, the sack of Troy, and, most famous, the battle of Marathon. Sources name the painters as Micon, Polygnotus, and Panaenus.

The Poecile had no single function, being used for proclaiming the Eleusinian mysteries (see eleusis), and occasional legal matters; shields from Sphacteria were displayed (see pylos). Zeno (2) frequented it so much that his followers became known as ‘Stoics’; see stoicism.

Subjects: Classical Studies.


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