In this article, the author seeks to understand the place of the demosion sema, the public cemetery of Athens, within the Athenian physical and cognitive landscape. The archaeological and literary evidence shows that the cemetery was established ca. 500 B.C., along the road from the Dipylon Gate to the Academy. This was an area with few pre-Classical burials but strong religious and civic associations. Here the nascent democracy shaped a new space for corporate self-definition by juxtaposing the public cemetery with the district further to the east, around the road leading to Hippios Kolonos, which had long been a center for aristocratic display.
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