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Dick Osseman | profile | all galleries >> Ancient theatres >> Priene's theatre tree view | thumbnails | slideshow | map

Priene's theatre

The theatre is one of the best preserved examples from the Hellenistic period. The semi-circular auditorium had 6500 seats and is built into the hillside. The stage building was a separate structure and provided a backdrop for the plays which were performed in the D-shaped area, the orchestra, in front of it.
The honorary seats were placed in front of the first row. They were donated by an Aonothete (the magistrate who was responsible for putting on the plays) and dedicated to Dionysos. An altar to the god of the theatre was set up in the middle of the front row. In the anci9ent world plays were performed in honour of the god, and included sacrificial rites. From the 2nd century BC the plays were performed on the stage above the semi-circular pillars and a row of honorary seats was constructed in the middle of the fifth row. Honorary statues, of which the plinths and inscriptions have survived, were set up in the orchestra. Not only were performances staged here during the Dionysiac festival, public assemblies took place also.
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