Thursday, May 14, 2009

Aphrodisias' theater

In 1990, during my hitchhiking tour through Europe, and in 1999, I visited the very well-preserved theater of Aphrodisias. It had an estimated seating capacity of 8,000. Its horse-shoe shaped cavea had two, possibly, three diazomata. Of its seats, which were divided into 11 cunei, 27 rows remain. According to an inscription, the stage-building was constructed at the expense of a late 1st century BC notable, Julius Zoilos. A former slave, he played an active part in the affairs of the city at that time.

In the northern parados the wall of the stage-building and the adjoining analemma are covered with inscriptions, letters and decrees which date from the period of the late Republic to the middle of the 3rd century AD. 

Various factors have permitted the date of the construction to be narrowed down to the period between 39 BC and 27 BC. There were six vaulted chambers behind the stage. Names on the doorframes suggest that these were the dressing rooms used by some of the more important performers.


Originally constructed in the late Hellenistic period, the theater was modified considerably during the second half of the 2nd century AD. By removing some of the lower rows of seats, dropping the level of the orchestra and erecting protective barriers and a parapet, it became possible to use it for gladiatorial contests and wild-beast shows. At the same time proedrial and a lode were added. Because of these alterations it was necessary to raise and widen the stage. Wild beasts were kept in secure cells underneath the stage before being released into the arena.
More pictures of Aphrodisias can be found: here!

1 comment:

  1. so baeutiful, full of history...!
    Like to learn more of this place...


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