We take a closer look at the most ancient theatres in Greece and what impact they had on history.
It was between the 6th and 2nd century BC when ancient Greek drama flourished in Athens, Greece. Its origins include the Hellenistic period, the religious practices of ancient Greeks, and the Orphic Mysteries.
There were three types of dramas popular in ancient Greece, namely satyr, comedy, and tragedy. These were played during the festival of Dionysus, the event held in honor of Dionysus, the Greek god of festivity, wine, and ecstasy.
During the peak of ancient Greek drama, the notable selection of performance venues built to host these artistic masterpieces are made up of four primary parts. These include the orchestra or the dancing space, the parodoi or passageways, the theatron or viewing place, and the skene or scene.
The entire space was later on called “theatre” which represents a place where live performers embody the dynamic and energetic representation of an important event.
The following are some of the most popular and celebrated ancient theatres in Greek that are as rich in history as the dramas performed in them:
1. Delphi Theatre
Delphi Theatre was constructed using the local limestone of Parnassus. It can accommodate approximately 5,000 spectators and is located above the Temple of Apollo. Based on Greek mythology, the theater was the site of the Delphic Oracle. It was also dubbed as the earth’s “Omphalos,” which means navel or center of the world.
2. Dodona Ancient Greek Theatre
Dodona located in Epirus was the oracular center built to commemorate Mother Goddess. Aristotle also referred to it as the place of birth of Greek civilization. King Pirros, the king of Epirus, ordered the construction of Dodona during the 3rd century BC. This is also one of the most well-preserved ancient theatres in Greek.
3. Epidaurus Ancient Theatre
Polykleitos the Younger designed Epidaurus during the 4th century BC. It can seat up to 15,000 spectators and is popular for its amazing acoustics. Various worldwide prestigious actors and theatre groups have performed their plays in this ancient theatre.
4. Odeon Of Herodes Atticus
Odeon of Herodes Atticus is the current host of one of Greek’s most important cultural events – the Athens and Epidaurus Festival. It also hosts a significant number of ancient Greek comedies and tragedies, concerts, and theatrical plays. It is named Odeon because it was originally used exclusively for music events. Odeon was constructed during 161 AC.
5. Theatre Of Dionysus
The Theatre of Dionysus was built on the south slope of the Acropolis around 500 BC. It is also the first-ever theatre that was constructed on the planet and is also the oldest one found in Greece. This is a stone-built theatre that represents the birthplace of Greek tragedy.
6. Theatre Of Sikyona
Built around 303 BC, the Theatre of Sikyona is located 4 kilometers southeastern of the town of Kiato in Corinth, a city-state of antiquity. The theatre’s name, a Greek term that means cucumber, was derived from the widespread production of cucurbitaceous in the region. Today, the theatre is sometimes used for hosting specific events.
7. Theatre Of Thera
This theatre is located in the ancient town of Thera in Santorini and was built around the 3rd century BC. Currently undergoing restoration, the Theatre of Thera offers panoramic views of the sea. It had enough room for 1,500 spectators that were made up of Santorini residents, people from neighboring islands, or travelers.