Monday, November 9, 2009

Hadrians' theater at Tivoli

This evening, I regret starting a blog about theaters, and not about Hadrian. But fortunately, he ordered the construction of a small theater as part of his villa at Tivoli. I have visited the villa (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) in 2004, and it was a thrill to stand in the oval room of his private appartments. Undoubtedly, Marguerite Yourcenar created my image of the Emperor, nevertheless I am fully enslaved to that fascinating period of time. Not only when visiting Hadrian's wall in England, but also when visiting the Louvre, his tomb in Rome or the Archeological museum in Cairo. Reading 'his' memoires in a small café near the Acropolis in Athens in 1989, and visit the agora of Athens the day after, made a livetime impression.
Despite its name, the Greek Theater has the typical semicircular form of a Roman theater and was for 'private' use, while it could only contain about 500 people. At the summit is a small rectangular space which probably served a sacred function: a small temple is described by Pirro Ligorio in the 16th century which, in the 18th century is recorded on Piranesi's map. The picture of the model above, is at display at the Museo della Civilta Romana in Rome.

This sculpure of Hadrian is part of the collection of the Vatican Museum.

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