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1. Type of Ancient Greek portico of limited depth but great length, with a long wall at the back and a colonnade on the front, usually facing a public space, used for promenades, meetings, etc. Some were of two storeys, e.g. Stoa of Attalus, Athens (C2 bc—restored), with Doric columns on the lower storey and Ionic above.

2. Temple portico with the front columns so much in advance that an extra column is needed between the colonnade in front and the structure behind, i.e. a deep prostyle portico.

3. Byzantine hall with its roof supported on one or more parallel rows of columns.


Coulton (1976);
Cruickshank (ed.) (1996);
Dinsmoor (1950);
D. S. Robertson (1945);
Sturgis et al. (1901–2);
Wyoming (1962)

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stoa (stō´ə), in ancient Greek architecture, an extended, roofed colonnade on a street or square. Early examples consisted of a simple open-fronted shed or porch with a roof sloping from the back wall to the row of columns along the front. Later stoas were often immense, running to two stories, each with a colonnade of a different order and having a ridged roof supported on internal colonnades; rows of shops or offices lined the back wall, which was sometimes decorated with paintings. Such stoas surrounded the agora or marketplace of every large city and were used for public meetings. The Stoa Poecile on the north side of the agora of Athens was the favorite meeting place of the philosopher Zeno of Citium; hence his followers are called Stoics and his system Stoicism.

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sto·a / ˈstōə/ • n. a classical portico or roofed colonnade. ∎  (the Stoa) the great hall in Athens in which the ancient Greek philosopher Zeno gave the founding lectures of the Stoic school of philosophy.