Theatre

PRIENE

Theatre

The imposing building is one of the finest extant theatres of the Hellenistic world. It was built in the 4th century B.C. in the northern part of the city. The existence of a clepsydra or water clock indicates that the theatre was also used for political meetings. Although the building had damages and many changes afterwards, it still preserves the general appearance of a Greek theatre and not lost its characteristics.

The building is consist of skene, the orchestra (the horseshoe shape in the middle), and the cavea. The well preserved state of the skene which shows great development makes the observation much easier. The cavea must have consisted of fifty tiers with a total capacity of 5.000 spectators. The general ceremony which was usually offering a sacrifice to the god of wine, Dionysus was held in front of the altar. After the ceremony the orchestra began a dialogue. 

A proskene was added to the front part of the skene in the beginning of the 2nd century B.C. The very well preserved proskene is 21 meters long, 2.74 meters wide and 2.70 meters high. On the inner and front rows of the columns of the proskene lie tie beams. The stage section consists of the rectangular skene, with a door opening onto the Theatre Street and the proskene situated in front of this. These two stage buildings are 18.41 meters long and 5.82 meters wide. Each floor has three rooms. The orchestra has a floor of pressed earth consisting of five armchairs. The armchairs were placed with differing distances between them. 

The stage building which underwent big changes in the Roman period was rebuilt by pulling down the upper storey front walls completely and moving them 2 meters back. Between the section where the audience sat and the stage building, were two side entrances termed parado. It has been established from the remains that the paradoes situated on the east and west were closed with iron fences in the Roman period.

An excellent stone workmanship was displayed to support the sides of the theatre. At the lower ends of these walls where they join the orchestra there is square shaped bases. On these bases once bronze statues stood which were made by sculptor Cleandrus. They were dedicated to the god of Zeus and people of Priene.