The Silence Stages

Since 2005 I have been visiting more than 430 ancient greek and roman theatres around 18 countries, taking photographs and information. These blog is dedicated to all that experience.

Desde 2005 he visitado más de 430 teatros y odeones, griegos y romanos en 18 países, tomando fotografías y recopilando información. Este blog está dedicado a toda esta experiencia.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Cyrene (Shahat)

CYRENE (Shahat), ancient Cyrenaica, modern Libya.

COORDINATES: 32º49’12.59’’N // 21º51’26.20’’E
TIPOLOGY: Roman theatre. Urban. Called “Market theatre” or “Theatre of Suk”.
DATE: Last quarter of IV A.D. It is one of the five theatres or odeons that there are in Cyrene.
TRANSFORMATIONS: The theatre was transformed in kolymbethra in V a.D., for aquatic games.
CAVEA: Facing North. 40 m. diameter. Built against slope. Irregular semi-circle.  Maenianum: Ima cavea with 6 rows of seat in 5 cunei; Summa cavea with 7 rows in 5 cunei. There were  not aditus maximi but lateral passageways. Before the theatre was built there was a religious complex in the area built in II A.D., in fact a small temple dedicated to Asklepiusand Hygeia, destroyed by an earthquake in 365 A.D.
ORCHESTRA: 15,5 m. diameter, surrounded by a podium.
STAGE BUILDING: Proscaenium was built with reused II A.D. stones. Scaenae frons was rectilinear with three doors.
LOCATION: “Market theatre” is north of Agora, in the central quarter, close to the road that runs between the north hill and south hill.
MY BEDSIDE TABLE: Sear, Frank; “Roman theatres: an architectural study”. Oxford University Press, 2006. // Ciancio Rossetto, Paola; Giuseppina Pisani Sartorio (eds); “Teatri Greci e Romani: alle origini del linguaggio rappresentato”. Rome: SEAT, 1995.// Di Vita, Antonio; Di Vita-Evrard, Ginette; Bacchielli, Lidiano; “Libia antigua”. Barcelona, Könemann, 1999. // Dal Bosco, Oriana; Grassi, Maria Teresa; “Mediterranean and Roman Libya”. Firenze, Polaris, 2005. // Goodchild, Richard; “Cyrene and Apollonia. An historical guide”. Tripoli, Dar-Al Fergiani, 1993.

OUT OF PRINT: There are ancient cities that had more than one ancient theatre; for example in Jerash, in Joedan, there are three, or in Gortyn -Creta, Greece- there are four. The ancient that preserves more ancient theatres is Cyrene, in modern Lybia, it has remains of five ancient theatres, some of them well preserved; we talk about five, but we could consider six if we consider the ancient Greek theater of Apollonia, in fact Cyrene´s port, 14 klm. nort-east from the city –see the my information about Apollonia in the blog-. It was a long day to discover ancient Cyrene... not only for the number of ancient theatres, each of the diferent, but for all that ancient Greek and Roman city was.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Aquae Segetae Segusiavorum (Moingt)

AQUAE SEGETAE SEGUSIAVORUM (Moingt),  ancient Lugdunensis, modern France.

COORDINATES: 45º35’29.21’’N // 4º04’11.94’’E
TIPOLOGY: Gallo-Romain theatre. Not urban.
DATE: Second half I A.D.
CAPACITY: 8.000 spectators.
CAVEA: Facing Nort-East. 84 m. diameter. It was built against slop. The curved wall that surrounded the cavea still remains. The seats were built in wood.
STAGE BUILDING: It was 22 x 7 m. Each side of the scene had basilica.
LOCATION: The ancient theatre is Moingt, just south of Montbrison, 65 klm. east from Lyon.
MY BEDSIDE TABLE: Sear, Frank; “Roman theatres: an architectural study”. Oxford University Press, 2006. // Ciancio Rossetto, Paola; Giuseppina Pisani Sartorio (eds); “Teatri Greci e Romani: alle origini del linguaggio rappresentato”. Rome: SEAT, 1995. // Grenier, Albert; “Manuel d’archeologie Gallo-Romain”. Paris, Éditions A. Et J. Picard, 1958. // Landes, Christian (Ed.); “Le gout du theatre a Rome et en Gaule romaine”. Musée de Lattes, 1989. // Knight, Jeremy; “Roman France. An archaeological field guide”. Gloucestershire, Tempus, 2001.

OUT OF PRINT: Some kilometers before arriving Moingt, the French police did stop my car in the highway, coming from Lyon. I supposed it was suspected my car, old and with a spanish plate without the European community stars. Seven police men inspected at the same time my belongings. They did not find anything strange so they asked me where I was going to; I answer them I was going to visit an ancient Gallo-Roman theatre in Moingt, They look themselves in a incredulous way, and told me that the Roman ancient theathre was in Lyon, not in Moingt, they returned to ask me why I was going to go to Moingt... it was difficult to convince them that a poor wall in Moingt was somewhere in time a real ancient Gallo-Roman theatre... it took time.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Rusicade (Skikda)

RUSICADE (Skikda), ancient Numidia, modern Algeria.

COORDINATES: 36º52’46.55’’N // 6º54’18.76’’E
TIPOLOGY: Roman theatre. Urban.
DATE: II A.D. Probably in Hadrian times or later.
CAPACITY: 5.000 spectators.
CAVEA: Facing East. 82,4 m. diameter. Ima cavea was built against hillside but summa was on radial walls that still survives.
ORCHESTRA: The theatre was hardly restored in modern times, there is not too much remains and nothing about the orchestra.
STAGE BUILDING: The place were the stage building was built is now occupied by a school.
LOCATION: The ancient theatre is in the centre of the modern Skikda, east of Algeria.
MY BEDSIDE TABLE: Sear, Frank; “Roman theatres: an architectural study”. Oxford University Press, 2006. // Ciancio Rossetto, Paola; Giuseppina Pisani Sartorio (eds); “Teatri Greci e Romani: alle origini del linguaggio rappresentato”. Rome: SEAT, 1995. // Lancel, Serge; “L’Algérie antique”. Paris, Mengès, 2003. // Blas de Roblès, Jean Marie; Sintes, Claude; “Sites et monuments antiques de l’Algérie”. Aix-en-Provence, Édisud, 2003.

OUT OF PRINT: There is not too much remains of Rusicade´s ancient theatre, but there is a special charm, maybe because in in the meddle of an Algeria modern city, full of life; when I visited the theatre I could listening boys and girls giving the lesson in class, where the orchestra were built there´s now a modern school. While I was walking and taking pictures of the theatre, my Algerian friend Nordine was taking spearmint that grew between the upper radial walls of the theatre; when we left the theatre we were to drink a tea, and Nordine asked the owner of the coffee shop that made the tea with the spearmint that he took... I will not forget that tea, a tea that grew in  a roman´s  theatre cavea.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Aphrodisias (Geyre)

APHRODISIAS (Geyre),  ancient Caria / Asia Minor, modern Turkey.

COORDINATES: 37º42’32.79’’N//28º42’24.72’’E
TIPOLOGY: Roman odeon. Urban.
DATE: Late I or first II A.D.
TRANSFORMATIONS: After earthquake in IV it was rebuilt without upper seating and roof.
CAPACITY: 1.700 spectators.
CAVEA: Facing South. 46,5 m. diameter. Maenianum: Ima cavea built in fill, with 9 rows of seats –last one with continuous stone back- in 5 cunei; Summa cavea had 11 rows in 5 cunei, built on radial walls.
ORCHESTRA: 11,1 m. diameter.
STAGE BUILDING: Pulpitum have two staircases to orchestra. Scaenae frons with five doors. A single narrow passage for postscaenium.
LOCATION: The odeon is between the greek theatre and the stadium. Ancient Aphrodisias in close to modern Geyre, about 90 klm. west from Denizli.
MY BEDSIDE TABLE: Izenour, George. Roofed Theaters of Classical Antiquity. Yale University Press, 1992. // Sear, Frank; “Roman theatres: an architectural study”. Oxford University Press, 2006. // Ciancio Rossetto, Paola; Giuseppina Pisani Sartorio (eds); “Teatri Greci e Romani: alle origini del linguaggio rappresentato”. Rome: SEAT, 1995. // Bean, George; “Turkey beyond the Maeander”. London, Ernst Benn, 1971

OUT OF PRINT: Ancient theatres like the one in Selge make you feel vertigo; ancient theatres like Dyonisos in Athens make you feel a sacred respect; ancient theatres like Ephesos make you feel insignificant; ancient theatres like the roman odeon and the Greek theatre in Aphrodisias make you feel the ancient beauty, the brightness of the sacred stone after the rain... but there´s something more indecipherable in Aphrodisias, some feeling that I have only felt there, something that leave me without words, that stops my breathe... I went into the arena of the ancient Greek stadium, north of the city and a sense of fear came over me, i was lonely but it seemed that the 40.000 spectators were encouraging me, urging me to run a race against time... I swear I do not usually have these crazy feelings or thoughts, but truly that I felt that, a power energy that I have never found in another ancient place... by the way, is the ancient stadium well preserved for me, in that wonderfull ancient city... Aphrodisias, a city sacred to the goddess Aphrodite can not be a commonplace.

Monday, 18 July 2011


PIETRAVAIRANO, ancient Regio IV Samnium et Sabina, modern Italy.

COORDINATES: 41º20’10.22’’N // 14º10’10.17’’E
TIPOLOGY: Samnite Theatre-Temple. Not urban.
CAPACITY: 1.200 spectators.
CAVEA: Facing South-east. Carved on rock. The following is a hypothesis, result of evidences found: Maenianum: Ima cavea with 8-9 rows of seat; Media cavea with 7-8 rows of seats; Summa cavea, that was probably covered, had 4-5 row of seats.
ORCHESTRA: 11 m. diameter. Carved on rock.
STAGE BUILDING: There are some remains.
LOCATION: On San Nicola mountain, North-east of Pietravairano.
MY BEDSIDE TABLE:    // Tosi, Giovana; “Gli edificio per spettacoli nell’Italia romana”. Roma, Quasar, 2003.

OUT OF PRINT: The ancient Theatre-temple was discovered in 2001 by Nicolino Lombardi. I visited Pietravairano´s ancient theatre two weeks ago. I arrived at the foot of Mount Nicola, at 12 am when the sun went down like lead. I hesitated between two roads, there was a nearby house and I asked in Italian to a man about what direction to take, he replied me politely, with a big smile, in perfect Spanish, the Spanish, he told me, he had taught living with Spanish emigrants in Switzerland. We exchanged smiles and I continued my path, to the disbelief of the Italian immigrant who could not believe that I was going to climb the mountain at that hot hour in the morning. It was exciting, despite the intense heat, uncover the little theater-temple Pietravairano. When I came down the mountain I found the man again, greeted him to say goodbye but he insisted to take a glass of cold water and I could not refuse it. His wife insisted on inviting me to eat, I was a bit rushed because I wanted to visit, on the same day, Rocavecchia di Pratella´s ancient theatre, lost in a nearby mountain of Pietravairano. When I realized I was sitting in front of a plate of spaghetti, sharing a table with my new friend, his wife, their daughter and her boyfriend. It was a wonderful meal, full of smiles and nice words, a meeting where one can perceive that magical twinning of the Mediterranean peoples, there is something that unites us, in joy and in adversity. Thanks my Pietravairano´s friends for all your kindness.