The Great Theatre in Ephesus

The Great Theatre in Ephesus
Writers in the 10th century BC, record the founding of Ephesus by Androklos, son of Kodros, King of Athens. The Bible refers to it as Yavan. In the 7th century it was attacked by Cimmerians, prosperous in the 6th century BC, fell under Lydian rule, then Persian rule and then captured by Alexander the Great in 334 BC. His general, Lysimachos, is said to have brought most of the art to Ephesus. It later became under Roman rule and in 262 AD was attacked and destroyed by the Goths.

This is the most magnificent structure in Ephesus ancient city. The Great Theatre is located on the slope of Panayir Hill, opposite the Harbor Street, and easily seen when entering from the south entrance to Ephesus. It was first constructed in the Hellenistic Period, in the third century BC during the reign of Lysimachos, but then during the Roman Period, it was enlarged and formed its current style that is seen today.

It is the largest in Anatolia and has the capacity of 25,000 seats. The cavea has sixty six rows of seats, divided by two diazoma (walkway between seats) into three horizontal sections. There are three sections of seats. In the lower section, Marble pieces, used for restoration, and the Emperor's Box were found. The seats with backs ,made of marble, were reserved for important people. The audience entered from the upper cavea.

The stage building is three-storied and 18 meters high. The facade facing the audience was ornamented with relieves, columns with niches, windows and statues. There are five doors opening to the orchestra area, the middle one of which is wider than the rest. This enhanced the appearance of the stage, giving it a bigger, monumental look.

The theatre was used not only for concerts and plays, but also for religious, political and philosophical discussions and for gladiator and animal fights.

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