What is the use of Agora?
agora, in ancient Greek cities, an open space that served as a meeting ground for various activities of the citizens. The name, first found in the works of Homer, connotes both the assembly of the people as well as the physical setting.
It was applied by the classical Greeks of the 5th century BCE to what they regarded as a typical feature of their life: their daily religious, political, judicial, social, and commercial activity. The agora was located either in the middle of the city or near the harbour, which was surrounded by public buildings and by temples.
Colonnades, sometimes containing shops, or stoae, often enclosed the space, and statues, altars, trees, and fountains adorned it. The general trend at this time was to isolate the agora from the rest of the town. Earlier stages in the evolution of the agora have been sought in the East and, with better results, in Minoan Crete (for instance, at Ayiá Triádha) and in Mycenaean Greece (for instance, at Tiryns).
In the 5th and 4th centuries BCE two kinds of agora existed. Pausanias, writing in the 2nd century CE, calls one type archaic and the other Ionic. He mentions the agora of Elis (built after 470 BCE) as an example of the archaic type, in which colonnades and other buildings were not coordinated; the general impression created was one of disorder.
The agora of Athens was rebuilt to this type of design after the Persian Wars (490–449 BCE). The Ionic type was more symmetrical, often combining colonnades to form either three sides of a rectangle or a regular square; Miletus, Priene, and Magnesia ad Maeandrum, cities in Asia Minor, provide early examples. This type prevailed and was further developed in Hellenistic and Roman times. In this later period the agora influenced the development of the Roman forum and was, in turn, influenced by it. The forum, however, was conceived in a more rigid manner than the agora and became a specific, regular, open area surrounded by planned architecture.