The Theatre of Dionysus

theater of dionysus athensNext to Pericles Odeum stands the theater of Dionysus. Look at the ruins of the theatre and try to imagine it in its entirety. The theatre was associated with the worship of god Dionysus in classical Athens. Theatrical performances took place only as part of Drama contests during the large feast in honor of the god, the city or the Great Dionysia.

The Great Dionysia took place during the ancient month Elaphebolion (end of March -beginning of April) and lasted for six days. Theatre was born from the rituals of the Dionysian cult. As theatre developed and assumed its final form, so did the area in which it was performed. This theatre is the oldest theatrical building of the world. It started to take shape from the end of the 6th century. During the 5th century the seats and the stage were wooden. During that period the works of all the great tragic poets were performed here. In the 4th century the wooden seats were replaced by stones ones. During the Hellenistic period a marble foreground was added to the stage . The actors appeared now on the foreground, in order for those that were seated far away to be able to see them. The marble thrones of the first row were constructed in the 1st century BC and were to be used by the priests of Dionysus and the city noblemen.

During the Roman period, the floor of the orchestra was covered with marble and the stage was reconstructed becoming massive and imposing.

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