The Agora and its Denizens
So much for the physical setting of the Agora: of far greater interest surely are the people. The whole square is abounding with noisy activity. If an Athenian has no actual business to transact, he will at least go to the Agora to get the morning news. Two turns under the "Painted Porch" will tell him the last rumor as to the foreign policy of Thebes; whether it is true that old King Agesilaus has died at Sparta; whether corn is likely to be high, owning to a failure of crops in the Euxine (Black Sea) region; whether the "Great King" of Persia is prospering in his campaign against Egypt. The crowd is mostly clad in white, though often the cloaks of the humbler visitors are dirty, but there is a sprinkling of gay colors,—blue, orange, and pink. Everybody is talking at once in melodious Attic; everybody (since they are all true children of the south) is gesticulating at once. To the babel of human voices is added the wheezing whistle of donkeys, the squealing of pigs, the cackle of poultry. Besides, from many of the little factories and workshops on or near the Agora a great din is rising. The clamor is prodigious. Criers are stalking up and down the square, one bawling out that Andocides has lost a valuable ring and will pay well to recover it; another the Pheidon has a desirable horse that he will sell cheap. One must stand still for some moments and let eye and ear accustom themselves to such utter confusion.
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