The Agora and the Civic Basilica


About the Site

Ca 130 AD - End of the 3rd century AD

Although this vast part of the ancient city has not yet been excavated, two key structures have been identified here which, along with the nearby North Theatre/Bouleuterion, would have made this the civic center of Jarash, a layout commonly found in the Greco-Roman world. The Agora was an open air meeting place where citizens would assemble and the Basilica was a huge public building that was used for various purposes, including official gatherings, court discussions, and it is possibly where the city archives were stored. In its heyday this part of town would have been bustling with life every day, as citizens and officials alike met and went about their daily business.

The Agora was accessed through any of three entrances off the Cardo and one off the North Decumanus. Beside it, and opposite the North Theatre, is a very large Basilica with a hall that was more than 30 meters wide and stretched 100 meters long. You can still see the huge side wall of the Basilica today. Two rows of column bases line the length of the structure, indicating a typical basilica plan. The Basilica and Agora were possibly designed during Trajan's reign and built during Hadrian's. The charred remains suggest they may have been destroyed by a violent fire in the late 3rd century, possibly when Gerasa was raided and destroyed by looters.


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