History of the Ancient Ephesus
Celsus Library in Ephesus
Great Theatre in Ephesus
Hadrian Temple in Ephesus
Goddess Artemis of Ephesus
Map of the Ancient Ephesus
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THE GREAT THEATRE
It is situated
on the slope of Mount Panayýr. It was first built in the Hellenistic
times and renovated in the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. Theatre is the
largest one in Turkey and its seating capacity is 24.000. The
theatre, like others, consisted of three main parts; skene (the stage
building), cavea (the section where the spectators sit) and the
orchestra (the place where the performances are carried out). The cavea
had consisted of three superimposed sections. The stage building, the
ruins of which can be seen today, was three storied and rose to a
height of 18 m. The ground floor of the skene consisted of a long
corridor with 8 rooms and five large doors leading to the stage. Niches
replace these doors in the second and third stories. The third story
was rebuilt in the 2nd Century A.D. The facade was subdivided with many
highly ornate niches. The cavea has a horseshoe shape of 220 degrees
and a diameter of 151 m. The uppermost row of the cavea is 30 m
above the orchestra.
The plays were being performed early in the
morning and before the plays they were sacrificing animals to Dionysus.
All the performers were male and they were wearing masks. The theatre
was the scene of gladiatorial fights during the late Roman period.
the early years of the Christianity, St.Paul who came to Ephesus to
spread Christianity and he wanted to address to the crowd at the
theatre. The silversmith Demetrius provoked the people against St. Paul
because he earned a lot of many with his handmade Artemis statues and
they shouted altogether �Artemis of Ephesus is great, the greatest is
Artemis�. So St.Paul was forced to leave Ephesus and he continued his
journey to Macedonia.
The Great Theatre is without doubt the most impressive attraction at
Ephesus. The original construction dates from the time of Lysimachos.
In the reign of Emperor Claudius (41-54 AD), the diameter of the
theatre was enlarged. The first two stories of the stage (skene) were
erected during the Emperor Nero's reign (54-68 AD). Work continued
throughout the reign of Trajan (98-117 AD), and the third storey was
probably not completed until the middle of the 2nd century.
the classical theatre there was no stage as such. The actors were on
the same level as the chorus in the orchestra. In some cases, the
actors were raised minimally above the chorus with a small platform.
the Hellenistic period the chorus began to diminish in importance. The
actors assumed a more important role and were raised above the chorus,
making them both more audible and visible.
It was not until the Roman period that the action took place on the stage, which
consequently doubled in size. The orchestra became redundant and the area formally occupied by
them was made over into seating for the most important spectators. Females were allowed to assist
in the presentations but never to perform.
theatre has been put to many uses during the course of its history.
While Ephesus was at the height of its prosperity, the theatre was the
scene of celebrations honoring Artemis. Early performances of tragedies
and comedies later made way for the addition of satire. Later still,
mimes and pantomimes found their way on stage along with dances.
Dionysius visiting Athenian actor Ikarios,
Roman period -Izmir Archaeological Museum-
The theatre, however, also had another life as a meeting place. The
public listened to speeches and discussed politics here. This political
aspect of the theatre, along with the voting which took place here,
involved males only. Preachers also held forth in the theatre. The preaching of St. Paul and the riot it produced in the Great Theatre of
Ephesus is well documented.
Built to hold 25,000 spectators, the theatre is quite massive. The 30 m. height and 145 m.
width is quite impressive, both from close by and from a distance.
Great theater Plan after Wilberg
acoustics, as in all Greco-Roman theatres, are excellent. One of the
lesser-known facts about the acoustics is that large bronze or clay
sounding-vessels were placed at various points around the auditorium to
improve the sound. Perhaps this was the origin of modern loud
you visit the Great Theatre early or late in the day, out of season,
you will be lucky to have it all to yourself. It is quite common to
witness other visitors testing the acoustics. Experimenting with pins
and different sized coins is a remarkable experience.
Although some of the seats
were removed and used elsewhere, the theatre is very well preserved and
still functions as a theatre for concerts. The incline of the seating
increases with each level, ensuring good visibility from all locations.
The view from the top of the theatre is not to be missed.
Should you have the chance to attend a concert here, it will be a memorable occasion. It is a
good idea to bring a cushion with you, but rest assured you will not need hearing aids.