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The Scale of Athenian Public Buildings

The scale of Athenian public buildings varied according to the amount and kind of space required to fulfill their function. The complex of buildings on the agora's southwestern edge,1 for instance, consisted of modest-sized structures such as that in which the city-state's council of 500 held its frequent meetings and the public archives were kept. The larger meetings of the assembly2, for which 6,000 attendees seems to have represented a quorum, did not take place in a building at all but rather convened in the open air on a hillside above the agora.3 There the architectural modifications were minimal: a speaker's platform hewn from the rock of the hillside, a retaining wall built up at the rear of the meeting area, and, eventually, a portico along the sides of the open area.

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