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Athenian Agora - The Precinct of the 12 Gods

The small but important Precinct of the Twelve Gods is located on the north side of the Agora. (Only the southern portion of the enclosure is visible, as the rest is covered by the modern railway that runs immediately to the north).

altar of the 12 godsThe precinct was probably erected in 522/21 BC by Peisistratos the Younger, the grandson of the Tyrant. It consisted of a simple stone fence on a low stone sill and must have had an altar in the center. While hardly monumental, the sacred precinct was considered the central point of ancient Athens. Here suppliants would approach the Athenians to ask for help, for instance in case of war. It was also the point from where distances to the city were measured, as shown by a Classical milestone which states that 'the distance to the altar of the twelve gods from the harbor is forty-five stades'. In 490-470 BC a certain Leagros added a bronze statue to the precinct. The statue is long gone, but the base has been preserved. The inscription on it reads: 'Leagros the son of Glaukon dedicated this to the 12 gods'. This confirms the identification of the enclosure as that of the Twelve Gods (probably the Twelve Olympian Gods).

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