In antiquity, basilicas were used as judicial and commercial centres. The Roman poet Martialis once recorded that lawyers would bring an entourage of common folk alongside them to the basilicas to cheer or heckle during trials.

The ancient Greeks originally built Agora’s basilica as single-storey, two-gallery stoa, complete with a basement. The Romans later added two additional storeys. The great earthquake of 178 AD brought it to the ground. It was later re-built.

What makes the basilica stand out is all of the graffiti that has survived on its walls. It gives us a glimpse into how the Romans lived.

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