An Introduction to the Archaeology of the Ancient Theatre

Course Code: 
Winter Semester
Credit Points: 

Course Outline

Ι. Introduction to archaeology (methods, goals, importance) and discussion of its relevance for the research in ancient theatre

ΙΙ. Terms and concepts: terminology of the ancient theatre, philological sources which provide information about  ancient theatre, the iconography which relates to ancient theatre (vase painting, representations on mosaics, clay figurines, wall paintings). Basic archaeological terminology

ΙΙΙ. The earliest theatrical buildings: Thorikos, Rhamnous, Ikarion in Attica, Euonymon, Acharnes. Analysis of the typology of the so-called “theatre with rectilinear seats”. The orchestra in the Ancient Agora of Athens and the related problems. The cult of Dionysus and its importance for the birth of ancient drama

ΙV. The musical contests, and especially the dramatic contests. The Athenian society during the Classical age and the role of women and slaves in this society. Basic outline of the topography of ancient Athens. Uses of theatres besides dramatic performances. The public of theatres and the city

V. Detailed presentation of the Theatre of Dionysus at Athens

VI. Ancient theatrical buildings outside Attica during the Classical period: Chaeroneia, Argos, Isthmia, Corinth. First elements regarding the architectural development of the ancient Greek theatre. Choregy in ancient Athens and some choregic monuments. The decorative elements of ancient theatres (sculptures, the role of inscriptions) and their relationship with the circulation of spectators in theatres

VII. Theatrical buildings during the Hellenistic period: transformations, evolution, typologies of theatres. The introduction of the two-storeyed skene. Ancient theatres with movable scene: Sparta, Megalopolis, Messene. The Hellenistic world, a “cosmopolitan” society

VIII. The theatres at Epidaurus and Delos, two representative examples of a Hellenistic theatre. Acoustics of ancient theatres

ΙΧ. Scenery, theatrical machinery, costumes and masks, and scenic supply. The profession of actor in ancient times

Χ. Ancient theatres outside Greece: Asia Minor, Magna Graecia, Sicily. Brief introduction to the most representative examples and their importance in the evolutionary process of the ancient theatre

ΧΙ. The Roman theatre, with special attention to the evolution of theatres in Greece during the imperial period. Differences between theatrical buildings of the Greek and of the Roman type. The typology of the roofed theatre of small dimensions (odeion) and its functions.

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