The city of Athens, situated almost in the middle of the Attic plain, at the southeast end of Sterea Hellas, and within close distance from the sea, developed from a very early time and gradually grew to become a prime cultural centre of the ancient Greek world. Apart from the socio-political dynamics which occurred in the flight of centuries, its crucial geographic location, the diversity of its natural environment, as well as the exceptional mild climate of the area played a significant role in this evolution. Both the gradual formation of the poleodomic web of the city and the general changes of its physiognomy have been the offspring of a series of long-standing processes and interaction on the level of social structure, political activity, economic organization and artistic creation.  

ΑDARK AGES (1.150/1.100 - 900)

As in the rest of mainland Greece, in Attica the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization marked the beginning of a long period of social upheaval and of various transformations.
The recomposition of the picture of the settlement and social organization in Athens during the sub-Mycenaean phase (13th cent.) is not an easy task, since our knowledge about this period is restricted to a few evidence which come almost exclusively from material remains of limited number and range (ruins of tombs and wells, bronze objects, iron weapons and tools and, mainly, pottery). In parallel, we have the first indications for systematic habitation north of the Acropolis, at an area later occupied by the Agora, which continued to be in use also for burials. In the sub-Mycenaean (1.100 - 1.025) and proto-Geometric periods (1.025 - 900) this organized cemetery was extended until the Dipylon and in the Geometric period (900 - 700) covered almost the whole of the area of the Agora and of the Dipylon. In addition, sub-mycenaean and geometric graves were found in other spots of Athens, in their grand majority on both sides or near streets, a discovery which contributed to the tracing of the street-plan of ancient Athens.
On the same wavelength, the historical sources, which have been the object of propaganda of the Roman imperial period, do not mention the period under examination but only within the framework of a mythical narration, as happens for instance in the case of the – both of settling and of political character – synoikesmos (settlement) of the Attic komai (small towns) by Theseus or in relation to the nurture of the idea that the Athenians were autochthonous (indigenous) and did not experience the so-called ‘Dorian invasion’.  In particular, as far as the first fact is concerned, according to the latest excavation results the synoikesmos dates back to the beginning of the 9th century, following  the completion of the settlement of a part of the Athenian population in Ionia after the middle of the 10th century. 
The upward trends in the amount of graves and wells from the 10th to the 8th cent. are probably indicative of the constant increase of the population of Athens in this period, while the contents of the graves are suggestive of a social stratification similar to that of the Archaic period, when the aristocratic class held the reins of government. It seems that already from this phase fundamental political and constitutional changes were under way, which radically influenced the course of Athens in the forthcoming centuries.

Β.  GEOMETRIC PERIOD (900 - 750/700)

The 8th cent. was marked by the emergence and establishment of a new socio-political formation, the city-state, while the contacts of the Greek world with the East were intensified at the same time. Writing was restored in Greece after a silence of five centuries, and the outset of Greek literature (Homer, Hesiod) is dated in the same period. The sanctuary of Zeus Ombrios on Mt. Hymettus and a geometric oinochoe (jug) from a tomb of Kerameikos offer us some of the earliest examples of writing in mainland Greece. In the 8th cent. a small temple dedicated to Athena was built on the Acropolis, at the place of the older Mycenaean palace, which had been entirely ruined. The Athenians showed and preserved devoutly some primeval ‘sacred symbols’ of the gods’ presence in the vicinity of the temple, such as the olive-tree planted by Athena, the signs of Poseidon’s trident on the rock, the Kekropion (burial monument of Kekrops), the Erechthiis thalassa and others.      
In the 8th and 7th cent. we have the first indications of worship in many of the sanctuaries of Attica (sancturary of Demeter and Kore in Eleusis, sanctuary of Artemis in Brauron, sanctuary of Athena on Sounion), which in the following periods were enriched through the erection of new temples and of other edifices and were adorned by numerous sculptures and other offerings. Traces of habitation have been discovered at the fringes of the later Agora, while burials have continued north of the hill of Areopagus.
The end of the 8th cent. is characterized by the sudden and rapid interruption of the intense activity of the previous years in Athens. The archaeological record of the 7th cent. is quite scanty compared to that of the 8th cent. The number of burial monuments in Athens and, generally, in Attica is distinctly smaller than before. A similar picture we get with regard to the wells, most of which fell into disuse in the area of the later Agora, while at the same time signs of intense use of space are observed at the sanctuaries of Ombrios Zeus on Hymettus and of Artemis in Brauron. The evidence converge on the hypothesis that around the end of the 8th cent. Athens suffered a heavy blow, perhaps on account of a drought followed by famine and epidemic diseases. It is beyond doubt that the city went through a phase of upheaval and great decline in the years around and just after 700. It was then that the amounts of imported pottery in Attica outnumbered by far those of exported local pottery, a unique phenomenon in the age-old history of Athens.

CARCHAIC PERIOD (750/700 - 480/79)

The written testimonies preserved for Geometric Athens are very few and the same is valid for the next period; however, along with the oral traditions bequeathed to the next generations, they reveal important institutional changes in the government of the city. During the Late Geometric period (8th cent.) but mainly in the beginning of the 7th cent. the inhabitants of Athens did not participate actively in the colonization which had been inaugurated by several other Greek cities. Nevertheless, it would not be incongruous to allege that an internal ‘colonization’ took place in Athens, since the significant incoming quantities of raw materials and the progress of local craftsmanship led to the gradual formation of the first organized quarters of the city. The death of the last patriarchic king of Athens Kodros in 684/3 signaled the final abolition of kingship (monarchy). From the following year the exercise of political power passed on to the hands of elective officials of aristocratic origin, amongst which the Nine Archons were the main administrative body while the Boule of Areopagus were in control of the judicial authority.      
The population of Athens in this period was divided in three social and vocational classes or ethne, the eupatrides (aristocrats), the geomoroi (farmers) and the dimiourgoi (artisans). The latter of these classes has been the cradle of a wealthy category of merchants and craftsmen who, being indignant against the demands of the aristocrats, desired to vindicate political rights – it is not fortuitous that from this period on the written sources refer to the Athenians as to a united political body. Kylon attempted to take advantage of the emerging conflict and strived to set up a tyrannical regime in the year when Megakles the Alkmaeonid was the Eponymous Archon of the city (636). Yet, his supporters were slaughtered while they were moving away from the altar of Athena Polias. This incident went down in history as the Kyloneion agos and stigmatized Megakles and his Alkmaeonid descendants, one of which was Perikles.
Soon only a part of the existing social inequalities were dealt with thanks to the legislator Drakon who, while Aristaichmos was archon (621/20), was assigned the recording of the old rules and the constitution of a written body of laws, including penal-personal regulations. Solon, coming from the aristocratic family of the Medontidai and working as a merchant – he was also an accomplished poet – was entrusted with the correction of Drakon’s legal distortions and in 594/3 introduced a series of socio-economic and administrative measures. One of his most important legislative initiatives was the implementation of the apo timimaton politeia, an economic system of taxation based on the sole criterion of the possession of wealth. The Athenians were divided in four classes according to their annual income, the pentakosiomedimnoi, the triakosiomedimnoi or hippeis, the diakosiomedimnoi or zeugitai and the thitai. In parallel, until the beginning of the 6th cent. the demos of Eleusis, one of the biggest and most powerful districts of Attica, and its environs devolved completely to the Athenian state, while the control of the Eleusinian sanctuary, a place of panhellenic impact, constituted a determining factor towards the establishment of the Athenian power onwards.      
One part of these efforts was the building project put into practice by Solon through the transposition of the Agora, a task continued by Peisistratos. The new Agora, known in antiquity as Agora or Kerameikos (from the name of the homonymous demos, on the area of which it was founded), started its route as the epicentre of political life of Athens around the dawn of the 6th cent. (according to the accumulated material found in the graves and wells of the area). It was situated at the level ground east of the Agoraios Kolonos, between Areopagus and Eridanos River, near the old agora of Theseus, where the ancient cemetery of the city lay. It is possible that the same place was in use even from prehistoric times as a place for the congregation of the citizens and for the settling of common issues amongst them. The area was crossed by the main arterial road of the city, which joined Athens with the surrounding demoi and the rest of Greece; at the same place, close to the Eleusinion, in the southeast side of Athens, was the most important spring of the city, the renowned fountainhouse Kallirhoe.
Paradoxically, the archaeological evidence for the first three decades of the 6th cent. are limited. The only architectural remains which can be safely attributed to Solon’s time belong to tombs, wells and houses, while a remarkable lack of remains from temples, buildings of secular character or of other monumental constructions is noticed. One of the earliest buildings of the period, mentioned in written sources of later times, was the Prytaneion, which descriptions place somewhere on the north foot of the Acropolis, below the later Tholos at the north side of the Agora; most probably it sheltered copies of Solon’s laws. The oldest examples of secular buildings in the Agora must have been the so-called Buildings C and D (early 6th and shortly after the middle of the 6th cent. respectively), whose positions were occupied by certainly public buildings in the future. At that time, as some researchers believe, the foundation of the sanctuary of Artemis Brauronia on the Acropolis should be sought for as well. The possibility of the erection of a new surrounding wall for the protection of the city cannot be ruled out, although there is no hint for its existence, nor are we able to know its exact placement. In broad outline, the city must have expanded considerably around the Acropolis and principally to its north side, to which consents the expansion of the Agora towards the same direction.  
At the neighbouring sanctuary of Eleusis one of the oldest buildings of religious character in Attica was built in the beginning of the 6th cent. B.C. This was the central chamber dedicated to the cult of Demeter, which was already flourishing there for at least a century, later incorporated in the Telesterion of the Classic period. Finally, the earliest samples of monumental sculpture in Athens and in Attica at large are observed at the sanctuary of Poseidon on Cape Sounion, at a time much earlier than the construction of the first temples in the area. 
Solon’s mediocre and counter-balancing reforms didn’t manage to silence in total the ongoing climate of restlessness which had been consolidated in Attica already from the previous century. In the next years the social categorization of the inhabitants of Attica took on a more organized character. In particular, the pedieis, namely those residing in the fields, the paralioi, those living at the SE coasts of Attica, and the diakrioi, those dwelling in mountainous pieces of land, belonged to three corresponding parties under the leadership of Lykourgos, of Megakles, son of Alkmeon and Agariste, and of Peisistratos respectively.
Peisistratos originated from the family of the Philaids and made three attempts (561/0, 559, 545) to establish a tyrannical ragime in Athens. In his third attempt he succeeded in doing so and ruled Athens for the following 18 years.  
After Peisistratos’s death in 527 the Athenians, having appreciated his work, confided the government of the city in his sons, Hippias, Hipparchos, Hegesistratos (widely known under the appellation ‘Thessalian’), and Hiophon. His successors are known as the Peisistratidai. Hippias was at the head of political planning, Hipparchos became known for his intellectual interests, while Hegesistratus was a man of military virtue. The fact which put their tyrrany under tottering was the assassination of Hipparchos at the Leokoreion in the Agora by Harmodios and Aristogeiton in 514. The motives for the murder were personal, since Hippias prohibited Harmodios’s sister participation as a kaneforos at the festival of Panathenaia of that year; however, the nomination of the two young men as glorious conveyors of the ideal of democracy (‘Tyrannicides’) and the erection of two statues in their honour in the Agora (490) imply that political causes, too, had a share in this violent act. Hippias continued to rule for 30 years thereafter, using violence frequently and under pressure to increase taxes, since the Persians forbade the exploitation of the rich deposits of Mt. Paggaeon. In 511 the Alkmaeoninds, with the aid of the Spartan king Kleomenes I drove Hippias to exile.      
During this whole period, the image of the city was enriched. A great emphasis was shown for the execution of public works, which now acquired monumental proportions.
At the sanctuary of the Acropolis, as at other contemporary sanctuaries, an intense building activity is noted. Amongst the preserved remains we can make out those of two temples of big dimensions: of the Old Temple of Athena (529 - 520 – according to a group of scholars this was the second phase of the temple after a former phase around 570); of the Hekatompedos (570 - 566), built at the north part of the rock, next to the older temple of Athena of the 8th cent., and rebuilt several times, the Parthenon being its splendid upshot. A rearrangement of the entrance of the Acropolis to the east and the foundation of a nearby altar to the cult of Athena Nike should be dated to the second quarter of this century. In parallel with the great temple or temples, there have also been found several architectural fragments and architectural sculptures of the mid-6th cent. which appertained to smaller structures of obscure position and function, the oikimata; in terms of morphology they are reminiscent of the treasuries of the panhellenic sanctuaries and might have sheltered offerings and valuable objects. Besides, in the 6th cent. the space of the Acropolis began to be rife with votive offerings (e.g the Korai ) which surpassed those of the preceding years in wealth, in size and in artistic value and demonstrated the city’s political power and economic prosperity. The establishment of the sanctuary of Dionysos Eleuthereus and the construction of a small temple in honour of the god at the South Slope of the Acropolis also dates back around the end of the 6th cent., in the governing of the Peisistratids or a little later.  
In the second and third quarter of the 6th cent. the Agora was extended gradually eastward and southward. Older wells were covered and earlier houses were demolished in order to facilitate the erection of new buildings and other structures at the place previously used for settlement and as a burial ground. The Altar of the Twelve Gods (522/1) at the northwest entrance of the Agora, placed at the junction of the main communication lines of the city, served as an asylum (place of refuge) and as a starting-point for the measurement of the road distances. Very close to the Altar traces of the Leokoreion were tracked down. At the south edge of the west side Building F (550 - 525), destroyed by the Persians in 480, might have been used as a palace or as headquarters of Peisistratos and his successors. At the southwest corner of the Agora square there was the lawcourt of Heliaia (middle of 6th cent.), while at the southeast corner, where some of the houses remained in use during the third quarter of the 6th cent., the Southeast Fountainhouse was built (530 - 520). In the centre of the Agora, an area which hosted various theatrical-dancing events and exhibitions, a circular Orchestra was constructed (6th cent.) where dramatic and musical competitions took place. Close to it, at the spot much later occupied by the Odeion of Agrippa, there might have been the shrine of Dionysos Lenaios. The Panathenaic Way crossed the Agora diagonally, thus connecting the northwest part of the city with the Acropolis. Two inscriptions from the Agora make mention of a repair of the Dromos of the Agora, which the great procession crossed during the celebration of the Panathenaic festival. The beginning of the Dromos must have been a little north of the Altar of the Twelve Gods, in front of the Hermai, and its end near the Eleusinion. Along with the erection of new buildings, an embellishment of the whole space of the Agora was attempted. In the last quarter of the 6th cent. a big sewage system, which flew into Eridanos river, was constructed at the west side of the Agora to drain away rain waters. Thus, during the second half of the 6th cent. the Agora acquired its basic form, on the plan of which it developed in the subsequent centuries.
Southeast of the Acropolis, in the area of thr Olympieion, the Peisistratids initiated the project of the erection of the huge temple of Olympian Zeus, emulating the gigantic temples of Samos, Ephesos and Miletos. The temple remained unfinished and was never completed in practice until the Roman times (in the reign of the emperor Hadrian, 2nd cent. A.D.).  At short distance from the Olympieion, near the bed of Ilissos River, an irrigation work of paramount importance was constructed, the so-called Enneakrounos (fountain with nine water-spouts), into which the water of the spring Kallirhoe was canalized. At the same side of the city Peisistratos the Younger consecrated a monumental altar to Apollo Pythios (522/1). Southwest of the later temple of Apollo Delphinios and in contact with it lay the Lawcourt at the Delphinion, a late archaic structure (around 500) which was repaired between the end of the 4th and the beginning of the 3rd cent. B.C.                 
The widening of the Athenian influence on the Greek political scenery during the second half of the 6th cent. is vividly reflected in Delphi as well. The aristocratic family of the Alkmaeonids, being antagonistic towards the tyrants, strived to obtain political benefits from their active involvement in the political life and in the external affairs of Athens; therefore they undertook the funding of a big part of the works for the erection of the fifth temple of Apollo (the denominated ‘temple of the Alkmaeonids’) between the years 525 - 505, after the destruction of its predecessor because of a fire in 548.   
By contrast to public architecture, the number and form of the private houses of this period cannot be determined but only approximately. With the exception of a few sporadic remains at the whole north side of Areopagus, no other traces of residences have come to light in the immediate environs of the Agora. Our knowledge of the layout of archaic Athens is equally limited. No concrete town planning appears to have existed; the streets of the city were in their majority narrow and irregular in shape, while the inhabitants built their houses arbitrarily (an inference also drawn from the extremely stringent rules issued by Hippias on this matter).      
It seems that from the beginning of the 6th cent. most of the burial spots had been transposed out of the city walls; the only organized (family) cemetery of these years has been located west of the Areopagus. From the middle of the century onwards another organized cemetery was in operation in the outer Kerameikos, near the Dipylon.
The periphery of the rest of Attica was treated with special care by the tyrants. The old sanctuary of Demeter in Eleusis was enclosed by a big surrounding wall, while an early temple was built at the sanctuary of Artemis in Brauron in honour of the goddess and the demos of Thorikos was adorned with the oldest known theatre of Attica (late 6th cent.). In the 6th cent. the three most famous Gymnasia of ancient Athens (those of Academy, of Lykeion, and of Kynosarges) were founded by the state at a considerable distance from the city.    
Through all these interventions and modifications, Athens began to achieve specific form as a city in the 6th cent. After the end of the tyrannical regime and the experience the citizens had on every type of institutional change, the transition to political stability and, finally, to democracy was to be undertaken by Megakles’s son and Alkmeon’s grandson Kleisthenes.  
After having eliminated his main political opponent Isagoras, in 508/7 Kleisthenes introduced a series of radical measures: in particular, he separated the Athenians in ten tribes named after the heroes of Attica and divided the state in three zones (asty, paralia, mesogaia) and in thirty apportioned trittyai or demoi, three demoi corresponding to each tribe, while he increased the number of the Athenian citizens by ceding political rights to a considerable number of metoikoi. In this way Kleisthenes succeeded in uniting the free citizens of Athens in tribes and in demoi without any social discrimination and in co-ordinating them towards common effort for the progress of their city. 
This period is characterized by the scheme for the social and political reorganization of Attica. As far as the city of Athens is concerned, in this whole period a startling development in population and in settlement rates took place which, unfortunately, could not be fully imprinted in the archaeological record because of the evacuation of the city, the movement of its population to Troizen, to Salamis and to Aegina and the subsequent destruction of the city by the Persians in 480/79. From the excavation data we are informed that in the lower city new public buildings were raised to shelter various branches of the new polity, thus rendering the Agora the political nucleus of Athens on permanent basis. The limits of the Agora were formally defined by a series of marble boundary stones, the horoi(ca. 500), which were placed at the entrances of the square and served religious and practical expediencies. The Old Bouleuterion (ca. 500), along the west side, was destined to accommodate the members of the Athenian Boule of the 500. At the northwest corner of the Agora, the Royal Stoa (around 500 – according to others in the mid-6th cent. or even after 480) constituted the seat of the archon-king, the second in hierarchy official of the city; close to it the elaborate Altar of Aphrodite Ourania was built (around 500), yet it is unknown whether it was accompanied by a temple. A new place for the gathering of the Athenians was established on the Pnyx Hill, where the citizens’ Assembly would hold their meetings at regular dates thereafter. What is more, apart from the old temple of Athena south of the later Erechtheion, whose construction is dated to these years by some researchers, numerous votive offerings adorned the Acropolis.       
After the events of the Ionic Revolution (499 - 443), to which Athens and Eretria had limited but excellently conducted contribution on the diplomatic level, and the fall of Miletos it was obvious that the Greek-Persian conflict was about to break out. However, after the battle of Thermopylai, the end of the Persian Wars and the final victory against the Persians under the guidance of eminent men such as Miltiades at Marathon, Themistokles at Artemision and especially at Salamis, and Xanthippos at Mykale, the Athenians proved that they were the first and foremost power to be reckoned with in Greece and were called out to promote anew collaboration on panhellenic level in order to achieve the final repulse of the Persian threat and to reinforce democracy, given that before the Persian Wars the tyrannical regimes were the large majority amongst Greek cities. After the discovery of a new vein of silver at the mines of Laureion, which allowed for the creation of a powerful fleet, the Athenians were able to have in their hands all the strings for dominance in the Greek territory on the vehicle of economic potency and to set the basis for the foundation of the 1st Athenian or Delian League (478). Yet, real democracy was substantiated only in the 460s through the reforms of Ephialtes and of Perikles.            
In the echo of the decisive prevalence of the Greeks over the Persians at Marathon (490), a series of buildings were constructed in Athens in commemoration of the glorious victory. 
At the field of Marathon, where the great battle took place, the dead Athenians were cremated and buried at the spot where they met death; a massive mound covered their remains as a tumulus (Tomb of Marathon), and at the same time a victory trophy was set up at the same area. A second burial place, discovered at the neighbouring region of Vrana, has been reluctantly identified as the Tomb of the Plataians, allies of the Athenians at Marathon. Miltiades, the leader of the Greek army during the battle, who might have been buried at the battlefield as well, dedicated his bronze helmet at the sanctuary of Zeus in Olympia in token of his gratitude to the god. 
The cults of several minor divinities, semi-gods and heroes (e.g. Theseus, Pan, Nemesis) were in blossom after 490, as they were thought of by the Athenians as helpers of the Greeks during the battle of Marathon. One of them was Pan, to whose cult was dedicated a small cave on the North Slope of the Acropolis. Herakles, who was very popular in Athens already from the time of Peisistratos and his sons, acquired an extra bond with Marathon; not only had the Athenians encamped at Herakles’s sanctuary before the battle, but also the spring of the area was named Makaria after Herakles’s daughter.    
Soon after 490 a new temple was raised on the Acropolis in honour of Athena, the Pro-Parthenon, predecessor of the classical Parthenon which occupied the space where the latter was later built. The sanctuary of Zeus Polieus on the rock must have been founded around these years, too. On the contrary, reduced mobility is observed in the Agora.  
Aside from Marathon, important projects were implemented in the rest of Attica and outside it. On cape Sounion the erection of the temple of Poseidon was inaugurated, while the sanctuary of Nemesis in Rhamnous was adorned with a small Doric temple which housed the marble cult statue of Nemesis made by Agorakritos. At the panhellenic sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi we find around these years the Treasury of the Athenians (others claim that it had been dedicated already from 507), as well as bronze statues which depicted Apollo, Athena, old kings of Athens and the general Miltiades along the Sacred Way.

DCLASSIC PERIOD (480/79 - 323)

The new Persian invasion of 480 in deserted Athens brought about large-scale ravages, which were intensified by a second sack of the city by the commander-in-chief of the Persians Mardonios soon after (479) the Greek victory at the naval battle of Salamis in 480. The peribolos (surrounding wall) which protected the city was torn down. All grandiose temples (‘old temple’ of Athena, Pro-Parthenon, early temple of Athena Nike, oikimata) and offerings (Korai, other sculptures, etc.) on the Acropolis suffered serious damages, while we find clear indications of almost complete devastation in the lower city, where all secular buildings of the Agora lay in ruins. The situation was similar in other parts of Attica: the Telesterion of Eleusis, the unfinished temple of Poseidon on Sounion and the small archaic temple of Rhamnous were also demolished.    
After the triumphal victory of the Greeks at Plataeai and at Mykale (479) and the final repulse of the Persians, the gradual establishment of Athens as leading power (hegemony) and the new demands that occurred set the conditions for the development of a new circle of intense economic activity in the city. The gradual augmentation of the population, the influx and assimilation of foreign elements and the policies adopted had a major effect on the form and the aims of the projects which were put into practice.
In the three decades which followed the Persian Wars, only a few non-defensive works were carried out; priority was given to the fortification of the city and to the reconstruction of the inhabited centres, while the few new buildings were predominantly due to individual initiative. Some of the exceptions to this rule were the Stoa of the Athenians in Delphi (478 or 456) – the only known Athenian project of this period outside Attica – and the poros temple of Athena Nike on the Acropolis, monuments via which the citizens expressed their restrained pride for the resounding successes of the city.
At Themistokles’s recommendation, Athens and the north part of the Acropolis were surrounded hastily with a new fortification wall (Themistokleian wall, 478), for whose erection building material from older structures and offerings was used. After the reconstruction of the city walls, Kerameikos was split into two parts, the ‘Outer Kerameikos’ (outside the walls), which continued to function as a burial place, and the ‘Inner Kerameikos’ (within the city’s boundaries), which was gradually equipped with several public buildings. Simultaneously, Themistokles persuaded the Athenians to complete the fortification of the ports of Piraeus, a task which himself had initiated as an archon in 493/2 and which was brought to conclusion by Kimon a few years later. Thus, a rapid transformation of Attica’s agricultural population into urban population of Athens – a policy realized by the other powerful man of that time, Aristeides – and finally into ‘professional’ took place; in other words, all citizens of the democracy were provided for from the public treasury and, consequently, they were able to dedicate themselves to the exercise of political activity in the city.     
The erection of the temple of Artemis Aristoboule in the demos of Melite, west of the Agora,  is generally put around these years, definitely prior to the ‘ostracism’ of Themistokles in 472.
The temples on the Acropolis and the other sacred edifices of Attica were left in ruins and were not replaced for almost a generation thereafter, apparently in compliance with the oath taken by the Athenians at Plataiai neither to restore the damaged buildings nor to raise new ones so as to keep alive the memory of the war and of the ravages it caused. Only a few buildings were repaired roughly in order to ensure the continuation of worship or to prolong their use wherever necessary. In their vast majority, the ruins of the Acropolis were left as sacred relics and were buried in situ, thus filling the rock’s cavities and preparing the temenos for its most brilliant period. Two more unidentified small shrines of Athens, a small cella southeast of the peribolos of the temenos of Dionysos Eleuthereus on the South Slope of the Acropolis and a bigger one in a broader triangular temenos of Melite (sanctuary of Herakles Alexikakos? temenos of Dionysos en Limnais?) are likely to be dated to the years between 479 and 468. In the Agora the Prytaneion was arranged with no special care as a room whose central part was used to cover institutional needs. Works were also under way at the sanctuaries of Poseidon and of Athena on Sounion, while in the demos of Flya (ca. modern Chalandri) the so-called Telesterion of the Great Gods was repaired.       
The overall image of Athens remained almost unchanged, giving the same cumulative impression as in the past, which presented irregular arrangement of the constructional elements, the ways of the roads and streets still adjusted to the topographical singularities of the city. Several destroyed houses were repaired and others were rebuilt on their older foundations; most of the houses of this period continued to be used within the pre-existing road system, while there were only sporadic efforts for a more systematic arrangement of the settlement environment. A distinct case is that of Piraeus, where the experts experimented with new methods and innovative architectural patterns were applied.
The victory of the Athenian expeditionary force at Eurymedon River (470) yielded big economic profit to Athens, which permitted a more comfortable and systematic organization of the various activities. Even more Greek city-states voiced their desire to join the Delian League, while the Peloponnesian League, Sparta standing out as the main rival of Athens, were trying to organize a resistance movement against the new –  in essence Athenian – status quo. By favouring ambitious building projects, Kimon put emphasis on works which aimed at the fulfillment of organic needs and at the embellishment of the city as well as at the elevation of the standards of living. Works relevant to the memories of the Persian Wars were not absent, like the temple of Artemis Eukleia (468 - 461), built on the North Slope of the Acropolis, near the Eleusinion.          
In these years there was also a progress in the construction of the Long Walls (Phaleric and North Wall, 459 - 456), through which the safe communication of Athens with the ports of Phaleron and of Piraeus was accomplished. At the same time, the south part of the Acropolis, which had been left unfortified, was surrounded by a new peribolos (Kimoneian wall).   
Even though the works for the erection of the Parthenon were not proceeded with, the rearrangement of the Acropolis within the framework of the Kimoneian building project cannot be examined independently of the planning for the construction of the big temple of Athena (the Parthenon). A group of scholars suppose that the erection of the new Parthenon started in this period, was interrupted on account of Kimon’s death and was continued by Perikles. Another work attributed to Kimon is the configuration of the Klepsydra, an underground fountain of considerable proportions at the northwest slope of the Acropolis. 
After the successful outcome of the Athenian expedition on Skyros, Kimon decided the translation of Theseus’s relics from the island to Athens, where the Thisseion was founded for their safe-keeping a few hundred metres east of the Agora. In the space of the Agora important buildings were raised. The most famous one is the Poikile (Painted) Stoa or Peisianaktos Stoa (475 - 450), a multifunctional structure decorated with paintings which represented scenes from the mythical and historical military exploits of the Athenians. Just behind the Stoa, in a narrow alley, a carefully constructed aqueduct (ca. 475 - 450), similar to the one which supplied for the Southeast Fountainhouse, was designed to carry water outside the city to the northwest, leading straight to the direction of Academy whose gymnasium was repaired. Other buildings in the agora were: the Tholos or Skias (470 - 460), south of the New Bouleuterion and of the Metroon, which was used as a dining-hall and was also the seat of the executive committee (Prytaneis) of the Boule. The Stoa of the Herms, where the three Herms (Hermaic stelai) dedicated by Kimon to celebrate his victory on Skyros were exposed, lay at the spot of the main, northwest entrance of the Agora but has not been identified up to date; it was probably identical either with the Poikile or with the Basileios Stoa. The plantation of the Agora and of the Academy by Kimon is another indication of his attempt to beautify Athens.
As for the environs of Athens, one of the many different phases of the Telesterion and one of the phases of the fortification wall of Eleusis have been attributed to the age of Kimon as well. Two external Ionic colonnades were added to the east and south side of the temple of Athena on Sounion. Other works took place at the sanctuary of Artemis Brauronia in Brauron and outside Attica. On Delos the Athenians catered for the erection of the second temple of Apollo (after 478 - after 303 respectively) between the Naxian Oikos and the first, poros temple of the god.      
At the same time, the victory of the Spartans at Tanagra (457) accelerated things; as a result, the common treasury of the Delian League was transferred from Delos to Athens (454). The Delian League absorbed the vibrations from the clash with the Peloponnesian League in all the preceding years (461 - 446), not without casualties, since the peace of Kallias between Athens and Persia (449) was not enough to prevent Kimon’s death on Cyprus (446) and the defeat at Koroneia (447), due to which the Delian League lost control of Boeotia. Nevertheless, the role of Athens in Greece remained predominant thanks to the thirty-year peace treaty concluded with Sparta (445). Perikles took advantage of the following period in order to promote his policy and several measures in various sectors, while in parallel an unprecedented building and artistic project was put into practice.   
Along with the evidence for the start of this new project, which was brought to fruition rather unhindered, there are indications that some older projects were abandoned. Many of the important works which were implemented in this period do not seem to be related – at least not directly – with the policy of Perikles, and it is absolutely legitimate to assume that, apart from the execution of works of public benefit, there were also other initiatives driven by inclinations parallel or diverge to those of Perikles.
The construction of the Long Walls was brought to an end with the erection of the so-called South Wall or dia mesou (in between) wall between the North Wall and the Phaleric Wall.    
The corner-stone of the perikleian building project was the Acropolis, the rearrangement of which took place on all the surface of the sacred rock and was realized on a premeditated plan. The new building phase was introduced in 447 with the commencement of the erection of the Parthenon (447 - 432), which housed in its cella the gold and ivory cult statue of Athena Parthenos by Pheidias already before the completion of the temple. North of the Parthenon there was a workshop (?) which obviously served the needs of the temple. The Altar of Athena, already in existence on the Acropolis from the age of Homer for the worship of the goddess and of Erechtheus, east of the later Old Temple, continued to be in use in order to cover the demands of the new temple of Athena (the Parthenon). The Parthenon was followed by more structures: the Propylaia of Mnesikles (437 - 432), the monumental entrance at the west side of the rock, occupied the place of the older ones with slightly different orientation of their axis; works east of the Propylaia (434 - 432), which obviously were meant to serve the rearrangement of the west part of the Acropolis between them and the Parthenon so that the construction of the new Propylaia could go on; the marble temple of Athena (Apteros) Nike (437 - 424, according to another view 426 or later-soon before 421); the Erechtheion (421 - 415 and 409/8), the sacred spot par excellence on the Acropolis rock and to its west the Pandroseion; the sanctuary of Artemis Brauronia; the Chalkotheke (mid-5th cent., with additions of the 4th cent. or of the first decade of the 4th cent.); the sanctuary of Pandion, at a position where presumably there was an earlier sanctuary which had been buried under the landfills of the beginning of the 5th cent.; a refurbishment of the sanctuary of Zeus Polieus northeast of the Parthenon; the Arrephorion (5th cent.); the colossal bronze statue of Athena Promachos (ca. 465 - 450). The south wall of the Acropolis was completed, while the Enneapylon disappeared, lending its place to a wide rising road which started from the Panathenaic Way and ended at the space in front of the Propylaia. Around the Acropolis and along the Peripatos, older sanctuaries were repaired and new ones were established, close to which several other structures sprang up.           
On the southeast foot of the rock the Odeion of Perikles was built (447 - 443/2), where initially musical and later also theatrical competitions took place.  
The remarkable turn towards religious-cult structures was coupled by a reverse shift of the interest for the lower city, which now appears to be partly neglected. What little attention it received was confined mainly to cult buildings, such as the Stoa of Zeus Eleutherios (430-420) and a small triangular sanctuary (of Hekate?) at the southwest corner of the Agora, which must have existed there since the 7th cent. and was renovated. The small quadrangular enclosure at the crossroads of the northwest corner of the Agora (third quarter of 5th cent.) was identified as the Leokoreion, the house of the daughters of Leos (= of the people) which in the past sacrificed their lives to save the city at a time of a great epidemic disease. The Leokoreion was in use already from the 6th cent.; in the end of the 4th cent. it came out of use, yet there are signs of continuity of the worship there in later times. South of the Agora, next to the street which led to the district west of the Areopagus, an unidentified structure of limestone of the mid-5th cent. was discovered. The only certainly secular-administrative buildings of the time of Perikles are the trapezoidal Strategeion (?), a little south of the Tholos, which was the seat of the Athenian generals, and the Hipparcheion, also used for activities of military nature. The remains of a building of the mid-5th cent. outside the southwest corner of the Agora have been attributed to the unidentified public prison of Athens, while others consider it as a building of commercial character or as a hospice.
Amongst the monuments of the lower city a special place was reserved for the impressive marble temple which crowns the hill of Agoraios Kolonos, the so-called Hephaisteion. It is the best preserved ancient Greek temple on Greek soil. Although it was not a part – strictly speaking – of the wider project of reconstruction, it is relatively contemporary with other perikleian buildings (somewhere between 460 and 450 - 448), while in a later phase its upper part was completed and the cult statues of Hephaistos and Athena (421 - 415) were set up in its interior. Amongst the houses near the southwest corner of the Hephaisteion there might have been another sanctuary, the Eurysakeion.  
In Kerameikos the sanctuary of the Tritopaters (Tritopatreion) was recognized amongst other monuments thanks to inscribed horoi of the late 5th cent. Epigraphic evidence inside the sacred temenos attest to its existence already from the 6th cent. Another distinct area in periklean Athens was the so-called ‘Demosion Sema’, ‘Polyandrion’ or simply ‘Mnema’, a renowned place inextricably related to Kerameikos in antiquity, extending in front of the Dipylon at the wayside of the road to the Academy, which constituted the official public burial place of the Athenians deceased at war.
In the area of Ilissos, south of the Olympieion, the temple of Apollo Delphinios (?) was built in the middle of the 5th cent. (ca. 450). A small temple at the left river-bank of Ilissos, dating to 445 - 435, has been identified either with the sanctuary of Artemis Agrotera or with the Metroon in Agrais where the minor Eleusinia, preparatory of the Great Eleusinia, are said to have been performed. Somewhere in the vicinity there was also the sanctuary of Aphrodite ‘en Kipois’ (440 - 430?), the exact place of which remains unidentified in modern research.   
At the nearest to the city gymnasium of Athens, the Lykeion, significant works took place. Vague epigraphic evidence and archaeological findings bear witness to the execution of several minor works of public interest (construction of baths, repairs of fountainhouses) in the city with the aim to cover basic needs such as the lack of adequate water supply. Special attention was paid by the Athenians to the embellishment of the city through the configuration of large groves and gardens in the Agora, at the three big Gymnasia and elsewhere. The sanctuary of Apollo Delios in Phaleron (432/1) might have appertained to a minor building project achieved through the common contribution of the state and of individuals. Amongst the small-scale works undertaken at the suggestion and under the surveillance of Perikles is included the ‘Stoa Alphitopolis’ in Piraeus, a space used for the storage and trade of imported grains.
Unavoidably, the impact of the periklean building project influenced the rest of Attica. At the sanctuary of Eleusis, the space of the temenos was enlarged to the south and subsequently the peribolos of the early 5th cent. was extended for its better protection; the Telesterion, the temple of the mystic cult of Demeter and the Kore, already in use for several decades and gone through different building phases until its destruction by the Persians, was reconstructed acquiring huge dimensions. On Cape Sounion, the erection of the new temple of Poseidon (ca. 449/8 - 440) was followed by a refurbishment of the whole sanctuary in the last quarter of the 5th cent., while at the sanctuary of Athena a second temple in honour of the goddess was built. The new temple of Nemesis in Rhamnous (before 450/49, works persisted in the 430s and 420s), whose construction was interrupted at the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War in 431, was practically left unfinished but was in operation for a long time. In the second half of the 5th cent. we can also list the unfinished Stoa of Thorikos, a building of unusual shape and insufficiently studied.          
In conclusion, one more marble Doric temple was constructed in Attica in this period. In Roman times (1st cent. A.D.) it was transferred literally in its entirety from the place where it stood initially (Acharnai or Pallene) to the Agora, where it was recomposed on new foundations and was dedicated to the cult of Ares (440).   
As for the private residences of this period we do not know much. Their main bulk concentrated around the Acropolis and the Agora, occupying almost all the city area. It seems that in the third quarter of the 6th cent. Athens had expanded so much that it reached the borders of the new fortification walls. On the eve of the Peloponnesian War, at the triangular space shaped between the city wall and the Sacred Gate, the so-called Building Z was built (Z1, ca. 430), succeeded by the Building Z2 (fourth quarter of 5th cent.) and Z3 (mid-4th cent.) as well as by two more buildings (Z4 and Z5) in the 3rd cent. Even though it is possible to discern some shared characteristics of the Athenian houses, their shape presents irregularities, their internal layout varies and their density at different parts of the city is not homogeneous. By contrast with Piraeus, where the circumstances allowed for the realization of a standardized building plan, notwithstanding the constant increase of the population, the city of Athens continued to lack an organized town-plan and to develop freely and unevenly.        
However, this relatively ‘unclouded’ period would not last long. The dispute between Corcyra (Corfu) and Corinth in 433 and the Megaric Resolution provided the occasion – but were not the actual causes – for the declaration of the Peloponnesian War (431). The invasion of the Spartans in Attica in the next year and the subsequent loimos (epidemic disease) were fatal for a lot of – distinguished or not – Athenians, including Perikles.
Especially the plague (loimos) which broke out in Athens (429 and 427/6) generated serious upheaval, disorientated the citizens and had a negative effect on the events that followed. The ambitious building project of Perikles was temporarily suspended; as a result, many edifices remained half-finished (Propylaia, temple of Nemesis in Rhamnous, et al.) or their completion was delayed considerably (Erechtheion, Hephaisteion, Telesterion of Eleusis).    
At the west part of the Acropolis, just below the tower of Athena Nike, several traces confirm the existence of a sanctuary of Aphrodite Pandemos, close two which the twin cults of Gaia Kourotrophos and Demeter Chloe were sheltered. On the North Slope we find the sanctuary of Aphrodite and Eros, the cave of Aglauros and in a westward direction, between the cave of Pan and the Klepsydra, the caves of Apollo Hypoakraios and of Olympian Zeus. On the South Slope of the rock, between the Odeion of Perikles and the east part of the Pelargic wall the sanctuary of Asklepios and Hygieia was consecrated by the individual Telemachos (420). Pausanias makes mention of a temple of Themis and of the tomb of Hippolytos west of the Asklepieion, yet none of the two monuments has been uncovered. Between the Asklepieion and the temple of Themis lay a small fountainhouse. On the same side, at a little lower level, a space surrounded by a simple enclosure was dedicated to the Nymph (Nymphaion), along with an altar of raw stones of 650 - 625 (the earliest known altar of Athens). The Theatre of Dionysus of the 5th cent. has not survived. Moreover, in the area of Ilissos was situated the sanctuary of Kodros, Neleus and Nymph Basile (second half of 5th cent., ca. 418/7).   
Except for the new cult facilities, building activity persisted within the city walls throughout the war, the emphasis now laid on public structures. The Basileios Stoa, damaged during the Persian invasion, was repaired in the 5th cent., perhaps in this period. In 416/5-409/6 a New Bouleuterion was erected in the Agora, west of the Old one. The cult of the mother of gods Rhea, previously housed in an archaic temple just north of the Old Bouleuterion which was destroyed by the Persians, was transferred to the Old Bouleuterion which was renamed as the Metroon (409 - 405). Thus, the Metroon-Bouleuterion-Tholos complex constituted the actual core of Athenian democracy, sheltering several key administrative functions. In connection to the Metroon and to its permanent archival collection lay the nowadays lost pedestal of the Eponymous Heroes (ca. 420?) used for provisional information of the citizens and for ephemeral record-keeping; only parts of its foundations have been preserved. North of the Old Bouleuterion (Metroon), on the east descend of Agoraios Kolonos, the Synedrion, an additional meeting place of the citizens was instituted in these years and remained in use until the late 4th cent. Aside from the buildings of political, administrative and legislative character, more public buildings were raised in the Agora: the South Stoa I (430 - 420), along the south side, was used for commercial purposes; two building complexes, at the northwest and southeast corner of the Agora respectively, probably functioned as lawcourts. Outside the borders of the Agora square we also meet private buildings, such as workshops of metalworkers, sculptors and marble-workers, a shoemaking industry and wine shops. 
Perhaps on the occasion of the loimos, the Athenians dedicated a statue of Apollo Alexikakos, made by Kalamis, and another one in honour of Herakles Alexikakos at the heroe’s sanctuary in the Agora. In the same period, the cult of Asklepios was introduced in Piraeus along with that of Bendis, a healing deity of Thracian origin.  
Artemis was given special tribute, too; her sanctuary in Brauron was adorned with an impressive Doric stoa (around 425), while a phase of the temple of Artemis and a bridge constructed above Erasinos River are thought of as contemporary to the stoa. A later inscription informs us of the repair of at least seven monuments of the sanctuary. In Oropos the sanctuary of the deified hero Amphiaraos (Amphiaraeion), to whom curative virtues were attributed as well, acquires monumental form for the first time via the erection of a small temple and two altars (second half of 5th cent.). In the area of Daphni two more sanctuaries, dedicated to Apollo and to Aphrodite, seem to have existed.  
Another strong indication of the unpleasant atmosphere created in Athens because of the loimos and of the diffusion of the cults of healing deities was the situation on Delos, birthplace of Apollo, whose sanctuary was under Athenian control in this period. In an attempt to propitiate the traditional destroyer-redeemer god Apollo, the Athenians disinterred and transferred all burials to the neighbouring Rheneia and raised a new Doric temple (around 425) to adorn the sanctuary.
The main events in the period following the death of Perikles were Kleon’s increasing reputation after the intrigues at Pylos and at Sphakteria (425) and the Peace of Nikias (421). If the Peloponnesian War in its first phase, the Archidameian War (431 - 421), gave Sparta the opportunity to declare to its enemies and allies that it was the power which would try to subjugate ‘tyrannic’ Athens and to ‘free’ Greece, on the level of military operation and strategy the results of this phase of conflict were of minor significance compared to the humiliating defeat of the Athenians during the expedition on Sicily (415-413). During the second half of the war, the fortification of Dekeleia by the Spartans, after the advice of Alkibiades, was an enormous threat for Athens. Consequently, great interest was shown for the fortification of the city in order to resist to the attacks of the enemy. The west access to Athens had already been protected before the beginning of the war through the construction of the durable wall of Eleusis, so was the northwest access through the peribolos of Oinoe. From 413 onward more Attic demoi of the east coastal zone of Attica were fortified so as to ensure free passage of the maritime routes to Euboea and to the Black Sea; therefore, walls were raised in Sounion (412), in Rhamnous (probably in 412) and in Thorikos (411). 
Τhe oligarchic regime of the Tetrakosioi (= 400) which was established in 411 lend Athens a short-lived hope for recovery through the military successes in the operations at Kynos Kephalai (411), at Kyzikos (410) and at Arginousai (406), yet the treaty between Sparta and Persia in 407 and the naval battle at Aigos Potamoi (405) brought the aspirations of both Athens and Sparta for hegemony to an end: of Athens because the oligarchy of Theramenes and of the Thirty Tyrants which followed the end of the war (404/3) proved to be extremely cruel in its policies and practices; of Sparta because it brought the Persian factor to the limelight – and to the backstage – of military operation and diplomacy once more. The year 404 sounded the military defeat of Athens as well as the end of an unparalleled period of political, economic, intellectual and, at large, cultural blossoming of the city which lasted for about fifty years (pentekontaetia).        
After the termination of the war (404) and until the end of the 5th cent. no remarkable building activity is attested in Athens. The most characteristic of all is the example of the Acropolis, where from that point up to the end of antiquity no public structures were added to the older ones, with the exception of the small monopteral temple of Rome and Augustus (end of 1st cent. A.D.). The Athenians were obliged by the Lakedaimonians to demolish all the city walls (of the asty, of Piraeus and the Long Walls) and to dissolve their fleet. On the other hand, the Thirty Tyrants did not possess enough power to promote any considerable building project. According to the written sources, they established their headquarters in the Tholos and took action for the reconfiguration of the space of the Pnyx, the old meeting-place of the Assembly. We also know that about 1.400 people were put to death by the Thirty Tyrants after trials which took place in the Basileios Stoa.
In 403, the restoration of democracy in Athens by Thrasyboulos and the quick recovery of the city from the tribulations of war created new potential for development. Nevertheless, the dedication of the Athenians to the effort to maintain their strong position in the Greek political-military nexus in comparison with Sparta and Thebes and to achieve an advantageous balance on the level of alliances in order to gain control of the administration of Delphi deprived Athens from notable building projects.     
The Spartans who fell in the battle in support of the oligarchic party of Athens were buried in a prominent position of a large burial ground (Tomb of the Lakaidemonians) which flanked the road which led from Dipylon to the Academy where Plato had sheltered his homonymous philosophical school. The Mint (around 400) at the southeast corner of the Agora, close to South Stoa I and perhaps in relation to it, is one of the few samples of building activity in Athens in the last decade of the 5th cent. In the years around 400 the Pompeion was erected in the area of Kerameikos, between the Dipylon and the Sacred Gate, the starting-point of the Sacred Way (21 - 22 km. long) which ended at the sanctuary of Demeter in Eleusis.    
If the 5th cent. marked Athens’ characterization as an ‘empire’ and the Hellenistic years as a ‘school’, the 4th cent. was something in between: democracy was reinstated in 403 by Thrasyboulos an the changes brought about because of this institutional turn were accepted by the Athenians uncomplainingly and under normal conditions. The desire for change was such that, unlike in the past, when changes were always related to a certain person, no new protagonist was distinguished in the political scene. Yet, the permanent residents of Athens – which then totalled 36.000 who lived in 6.000 residences – were not going to enjoy the restoration of democracy of a long time. This happened because on the diplomatic level Athens of the time of Konon and Iphikrates soon was forced to confront the Spartans at the Boeotian-Corinthian War of 395 - 387, yet this time having by its side an old enemy, Persia, within the spectrum of the Peace of the Basileus (‘Antalkideios’, 387). In particular, at the naval battle of Knidos (394) Konon stood out as a real leader of a fleet which was basically financed by the Persians. All these facts have left their imprint on numerous burial monuments of the Kerameikos; the grave stele of Dexileos (394/3) is one of the most representative examples. After the Athenian victory over the Spartans at the naval battle of Knidos, the city walls were reconstructed by Konon.       
The constant struggle against Sparta resulted in the attempt for the establishment of the 2nd Athenian League in 378, whose overall appraisal was characterized by mixed feelings, regardless of the panegyrics of orators such as Isokrates. Thebes, whose power was ascending, had adhered to the League up to the moment of its defeat by Sparta at Leuktra (371), which led to the precipitation of the convergence between Athens and Sparta, in spite of the aggressiveness revealed on the part of Athens through the double attempt to re-occupy Amphipolis and the establishment of an Athenian klerouchia on Samos (366). With regard to the poleodomic data of the period, the institution of the 2nd Athenian League didn’t suffice for Athens, which had not recovered fully from the past turbulence. Therefore, during the first half of the 4th cent. building activity in the city is poor. The appreciable but secondary role of Athens in the arena of foreign policy and the intense antagonism between the Spartans, the Thebans and the Thessalians for primacy in Greece rendered indispensable the fortification of the gap known as the Dema between Mt. Parnes and Mt. Aigaleos so as to close the natural invasion route into Attica from the plain of Eleusis.  
The battle at Mantineia (362), along with the developments in the insular parts of the Aegean and the War of the Allies (358 - 355), which led to the break-up of the Athenian League anew and to the outburst of the 3rd Sacred War, wavered the cohesion of Athenian diplomacy; as a result, when in 351 Demosthenes attempted to shift the focus of attention for the first time to the forthcoming menace from the north, and in pariculat to Philip II of Macedonia, it was too late to reverse the situation to the benefit of Athens. The Peace of Philokrates (346), just after the final loss of Amphipolis, offered the Athenians a sense of ease only temporarily.     
Prosperity returned to Athens no sooner than the middle of the 4th cent., when the systematic exploitation of the mines of Laureion yielded considerable economic profit to the city. During the reign of Philip II of Macedonia (359 - 336) and of his son Alexander the Great (336 - 323), new grandiose building projects were under way in Athens, the state’s concern focusing once more on the surroundings of the Acropolis.
After the defeat of the combined Athenian and Theban army by Philip II at Chaironeia (338) and under the threat of Macedonian expansionism, the reinforcement of the defensive works of Athens was the first priority for the city. It was perhaps at this time that the outer wall or proteichisma and dry moat were added to the pre-existing fortifications, outside the line of the original city walls.


The battle of Chaironeia, although not damnatory for the institution of the city-state in general or for Athens in particular, undoubtedly marked the end of an era. In the following decades Athens, under Euboulos and Lykourgos, was a different city, which strived to find a new role in Greek reality. Using education as a vehicle, it turned into a distinct intellectual centre and it managed to preserve its previous glare and to prepare as well as possible for the oncoming dramatic period of the Lamian War and of the Macedonian conquest. 
In the third quarter of the 4th cent., while Alexander turned his attention to the East campaigning against the Persians, Athens went through a phase of relative calmness and economic growth. Under the guidance of Euboulos, new plans were put into practice for the reconstruction of older buildings and the erection of new ones, which were completed by Lykourgos, thus providing the city with structures proper for the hosting of various religious, military and other cultural activities. Other projects of minor range have been connected with the two men, yet there is no clear evidence about them.   
On the South Slope of the Acropolis the sanctuary of Asklepios was enriched through the addition of an altar, of a small temple and of an imposing two-storeyed stoa. The big Theatre of Dionysos was refurbished, while a second temple was built – at a spot different from that of the first temple – in honour of the god at his sanctuary (late 4th cent.), which became full of decades of trophies from theatrical and musical competitions. Indirectly connected with the Theatre of Dionysos, lay the Street of the Tripods, which led from the sanctuary of Dionysos Eleuthereus to the east and around the Acropolis, heading to the Prytaneion. Along the street were set up a series of tripods which had been awarded as prizes to the choregoi (patrons) of victorious theatrical productions; amongst them only the Choregic Monument of Lysikrates (335/4) has reached us in good state of preservation.
The cardinal meeting-place of the Athenians, the Pnyx, already in use from the end of the 6th cent. and reoriented at the time of the Thirty Tyrants (404/3), went through a third building phase (345/0 - 335/0). A large stepped speaker’s platform, the Bema, was chiseled out of the hill’s surface at the southwest to serve the needs of the speakers more efficiently, supported by a strong retaining wall which was raised to sustain the area reserved for the gathering of the auditorium. To these were added two stoai, presumably for the protection of the audience, which were never fully carried out.
In the Agora, where interest in new constructions was limited also in this period, several buildings were erected. The temple of Apollo Patroos at the west side (2nd half of 4th cent., perhaps around 330), between the Stoa of Zeus Eleutherios and the Metroon, was founded upon the relics of an older building of the 6th cent., which probably belonged to an archaic predecessor of the temple. The remains of a small building, contemporary with the temple of Apollo, between the temple and the Stoa of Zeus, have been identified with the small temple dedicated to the cult of Zeus Phratrios and Athena Phratria. Around 330 a second monumental pedestal of the Eponymous Heroes was raised along the west side, at the spot where it is seen today. It seems logical to assume that a series of rectangular structures at the northeast corner, some of which were not finished, functioned as lawcourts. A rare example of a monumental water-clock (klepsydra, second half of 4th cent.), found during the excavations, might have been used for the measurement of time of the speeches delivered in the lawcourts. Its only parallel was found in Oropos, where it has been preserved almost intact. A new irrigation facility, the Southwest Fountainhouse, was constructed in 350-325 at the southwest corner of the Agora square. Taking into account the excessive care shown by the Athenians in the construction of other irrigation works, it is reasonable to claim that in the second half of the 4th cent. the city faced a period of intense drought: another public fountainhouse was built next to the Dipylon gate (perhaps replacing an older fountainhouse of the 5th cent.) and a new aqueduct was made for the water-supply of the city from springs on the feet of Mt. Parnes.        
Many of the athletic contests of the Panathenaia, which until then were hosted in the Agora together with theatrical shows, were transferred to the southeast side of Athens, near the Ilissos River. There, at a physical gorge between two hills, the Panathenaic Stadium was built; its constructional details cannot be determined with precision because of the marble stadium of the 2nd cent. which lies above it. At the same area, north of the sanctuary of Kodros, Neleus and Nymphe Basile, several remains of the end of the 4th cent. have been excavated and have been identified by some researchers with the Lawcourt at the Palladion. Great emphasis was laid also on the development of the Gymnasium of the Lykeion, where Aristotle founded his philosophical school in 335.
Piraeus, the main haven of Athens, was furnished with military facilities in the years of Lykourgos. Its three ports (Kantharos, Zea, Mounichia) were supplied with ship sheds for the protection of the Athenian triereis, replacing older structures which the Athenians were compelled to dismantle by the regime of the Thirty Tyrants. The Skeuotheke at Zea, where the detachable parts of the ships (sails and ropes) were stored, falls within the spectrum of these works. A great interest for the development of Piraeus was shown also by Demetrios Falireus (317-307).        
Similar attention was paid to the protection of the Athenian army. The walls in the areas which had been fortified already from the years of the Peloponnesian War (Eleusis, Rhamnous, Thorikos, Oinoe, Sounion, Phyle, Dekeleia, Panakton, Eleutherai) were preserved, reinforced by new supplementary facilities.               
Last but not least, a huge marble prosthoon (porch) was added to the east façade of the Telesterion of Eleusis (works probably started in the 350s and were completed later by Lykourgos), while according to epigraphic evidence the irrigation facilities at the sanctuary of Amphiaraos were refurbished and another fountainhouse was repaired in Oropos. With all the aforementioned works, the site-planning of Athens was brought to completion, despite the threats which would be brought into play by the forthcoming situations (Demetrios Poliorketes, Galatic danger).

At the dawn of the 3rd cent., on account of the simultaneous crystallization of its poleodomic network and of the flourishing of all aspects of intellectual and philosophical life (Epikouros, Zenon), Athens succeeded in preserving a significant part of its past identity and to safeguard its presence in the new environment which arose after the death of Alexander the Great.