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The Architecture

of the Ancient Greek Theatre


Acts of an International Conference at the
Danish Institute at Athens 27-30 January 2012
Edited by
Rune Frederiksen, Elizabeth R. Gebhard and Alexander Sokolicek

Monographs of the Danish Institute at Athens, Volume 17

The Architecture of the Ancient Greek Theatre


Aarhus University Press and The Danish Institute at Athens 2015
Monographs of the Danish Institute, no. 17
Series editor: Rune Frederiksen
Editors: Rune Frederiksen, Elizabeth R. Gebhard and Alexander Sokolicek
Graphic design: Jrgen Sparre
Prepress: Narayana Press
Cover illustration: The theatre of Kalydon. Photo: Rune Frederiksen
Printed at Narayana Press, Denmark, 2015
ISBN 978 87 7124 380 2
ISSN 1397 1433

AARHUS UNIVERSITY PRESS


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The production and print was financed by:


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The Austrian Archaeological Institute
The University of Chicago

Contents
9

Preface

11

Introduction

15

Studies on Greek Theatres:


History and Prospects
HANS PETER ISLER

39

The Wooden Theatre of Dionysos Eleuthereus in Athens:


Old Issues, New Research
C H R I S T I N A PA PA S TA M AT I - V O N M O O C K

81

Early Greek Theatre Architecture:


Monumentalised Koila Before and After the Invention of the
Semicircular Design
RUNE FREDERIKSEN

97

Form and Function of the Earliest Greek Theatres


ALEXANDER SOKOLICEK

105 The Sunken Orchestra:


Its Effects on Greek Theatre Design
ELIZ ABETH R . GEBHARD

119 The Greek Vocabulary of Theatrical Architecture


JEAN-CHARLES MORETTI ANDCHRISTINEMAUDUIT

131 New Studies of the Theatre at Iasos:


50 Years since the First Excavation
F E D E B E RT I , N I C O L M A S T U R Z O, W I T H T H E PA RT I C I PAT I O N O F
MANUEL A VITTORI

149 New Investigations in the EphesianTheatre:


The Hellenistic Skene
M A RTI N H OFBAUER

Monographs of the Danish Institute at Athens, Volume 17

161 Building the Early Hellenistic Theatre at Sikyon


CH R I S H AY WA R D A N D YA N N I S L O L O S

177 The Theatre of Dodona:


New Observations on the Architecture of the Cavea
G E O R G I O S P. A N T O N I O U

193 The Hellenistic Theatre at Corinth:


New Implications from Recent Excavations
D AV I D S C A H I L L

203 The Theatre at Messene:


Building Phases and Masons Marks
PETROS THEMELIS WITH A CONTRIBU TION ON THE MASON MARKS
BY KLEANTHIS SIDIROPOULOS

233 The Hellenistic Theatre in the Sanctuary of Hemithea at Kastabos


(Asia Minor):
New Evidence and Reconstruction
CHR ISTINE WILKENING -AU MA NN

253 The Ancient Theatre at Maroneia


C H R Y S S A K A R A D I M A , C O S TA S Z A M B A S , N I K O S C H AT Z I D A K I S ,
GERASIMOS THOMAS AND EIRINI DOUDOUMI

267 Old and New Observations from the Theatre at Aigeira


W A LT E R G A U S S , R U D O L F I N E S M E TA N A , J U L I A D O R N E R , P E T R A
E I T Z I N G E R , A S U M A N L T Z E R -L A S A R , M A N U E L A L E I B ETS E D E R A N D
MARIA TRAPICHLER

279 The South Building in the Main Urban Sanctuary of Selinunte:


A Theatral Structure?
C L E M E N T E M A R C O N I A N D D AV I D S C A H I L L

293 The Theatre at Halikarnassos


and Some Thoughts on the Origin of the Semicircular Greek Theatre.
With an appendix The Inscriptions from the Theatre atHalikarnassos
POUL PEDERSEN AND SIGNE ISAGER

Contents

319 The Hellenistic Phases of the Theatre at Nea Paphos in Cyprus:


The Evidence from the Australian Excavations
JOH N R ICH A R D GR EEN, CR A IG BA R KER A ND GEOFF STENNETT

335 The Architecture of the Greek Theatre of Apollonia in Illyria (Albania)


and its Transformation in Roman Times
S T E FA N F R A N Z A N D VA L E N T I N A H I N Z

351 Boeotian Theatres: An Overview of the Regional Architecture


MARCO GERMANI

365 Architecture and Romanization:


The Transition to Roman Forms in Greek Theatres of the Augustan Age
VA L E N T I N A D I N A P O L I

381 Was Drpfeld Right? Some Observations on the Development ofthe


Raised Stage in Asia Minor
AR ZU ZTRK

391 The Carian Theatre at Aphrodisias:


A Hybrid Building*
N AT H A L I E D E C H A I S E M A RT I N

403 Traditional Elements in the Roman Redesign of the Hellenistic


Theatre in Patara, Turkey*
K AT J A P I E S K E R

419 The Hellenistic Theatre of Ephesus:


Results of a Recent Architectural Investigation oftheKoilon
GUDRUN ST YH LER-AYDI N

433 Traditional Hellenistic Elements in the Architecture of Ancient


Theatres in Roman Asia Minor
HANS PETER ISLER

448 Thematic bibliography


460 Index of names and places
463 Index of subjects
466 List of contributors

The Greek Vocabulary of Theatrical


Architecture
JEAN-CHARLES MORETTI
ANDCHRISTINEMAUDUIT

Abstract
The vocabulary of the Greek theatre may be found in many ancient texts. Events that took place in theatres appear in literature, and the architectural vocabulary was occasionally used metaphorically by authors.
There are some helpful references in the ancient dictionaries, particularly in the Onomasticon, which was
written by Pollux in the last third of the nd century AD. The corpus of inscriptions includes dedications of
entire buildings and various parts of them, decrees for benefactors who paid for constructions or restorations,
and construction accounts. The most important category of inscriptions for present purposes are surely the
accounts of the theatre at Delos. To understand these texts, we must consider the historical context of their
production, which is not always the historical context of the subjects to which they refer. We must distinguish
between the technical texts and the more literary texts. In the case of the inscriptions, we must consider
their position in the public space. It is possible to determine the dates of appearance of the words used by the
Greeks for their theatrical architecture and to follow the semantic evolution of these words alongside the evolution of the theatre buildings. Some words, like skene, derive from the common language and were specialised in the field of the theatre. Others were created when new architectural forms were designed, for example
proskenion. A few words, such as vela, came from Latin and were transcribed into Greek.

The vocabulary used by the Ancient Greeks to describe


their theatrical architecture has never been the object
of a comprehensive approach.1 Even occasional studies
devoted to vocabulary in this lexical field are scarce.2 The
number of texts on which research on this vocabulary
can be based, however, is sufficiently large and varied to
justify such an undertaking with three goals. The first is
to understand the exact meaning of the terms used in the

1
2

literary texts and inscriptions. The second is to develop


a history and possibly a geography of this vocabulary: to
specify the dates and places of appearance of the different
terms; to identify their origins, distinguishing words specialised in the theatrical field and those that were created
to describe new architectural forms; to mark the stages in
the evolution of the meaning of some terms, according
to the evolution in the shape of the theatre buildings.

See, however, the old but still useful work of E. Reisch in Drpfeld & Reisch 1896, 276-305. For the Latin vocabulary, see recently: Sear 2006. We
owe warm thanks to F. Masino, G. Sobra, J. Jacobson, W. Howell and C. Howell for translating this article into English.
See recently: Moretti 1993.

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The third goal is to study the metaphorical usages that


have characterised part of this vocabulary and to try to
identify the positive and negative values associated with
the theatre world in different circles and at different times.
We started this work several years ago, and this paper
has been designed as a sort of summary or introduction
to the book we are preparing. We will present the corpus
of literary texts and inscriptions, and then a brief history
of this vocabulary.

I. The corpus
1. The Literary Corpus
Non-technical Texts
A fairly large number of literary texts by orators, philosophers and particularly historians mention theatre,
more or less incidentally, as a meaningful element of the
urban topography or as the frame of a single action or
historical event. Of course, these quotations are rarely
characterised by a specific intention to inform. A passage
in the speech On the Mysteries by Andokides mentions,
in the case of the mutilation of the Hermes,3 the night
preparations of the conspirators near the Dionysos Theatre: a witness tells how, posted near the
the monumental entrance to the Sanctuary
of Dionysos he saw the accomplices descending from
the Odeon of Pericles to the orchestra of the theatre and
how, stricken with fear at their approach, he took refuge
between a column and the base of a statue. This is one of
the few texts of the Classical period to offer any detail on
the location and configuration of the Dionysos Theatre.
These topographic details are clearly intended to produce
a realistic effect and to give credibility to the account of
the witness; they are consistent with what is known about
the building at that time, but provide no specific information regarding the vocabulary of the theatre. We could say
the same of the story told by Diodorus about the murder
of Philip the Second of Macedon in the theatre at Aigai,4

120

3
4
5
6
7

Andoc., Myst. 38.


Diod.Sic. 16.93-4.
See Gogos 1988.
Pl., Leg. 7.817c.
Dem. Meid. 17.

or of the passages in which Pausanias mentions some


theatres.5
Although this is true for many texts of this kind, these
more or less allusive references to theatre buildings have
still transmitted to us some architectural terms that are
rarely documented, as well as specific uses of some elements of the lexicon. In a passage from book VII of the
Laws in which Plato criticises the tragic poets who pervert
the citizens by offering them bad examples for imitation,6
we encounter the first known instance of the noun
being used to denote a stage; it is the provisional stage of a
mobile theatre. Providing a voice for the city, Plato makes
it say these words to the tragic poets: Do not think well
let you come to us so easily planting your stages in the agora
and to make your
beautiful actor voices resound there. Aside from the use of
the word , this text is interesting because the place
mentioned for these temporary shows, the agora, recalls
the time when the agora of Athens received shows before
the construction of the theatre on the southern side of
the Acropolis a point to which we will return..
An example of conservation of a technical term in a
literary text is provided by a passage in Against Midias on
the wrongs perpetrated by Midias against Demosthenes
while the latter held the position of choregos for the male
chorus of the Pandion tribe in the dithyrambs contest of
the Great Dionysia of 348.7 It contains the oldest and
one of the few occurrences of in a context
where it does not seem to indicate the side-foreparts of
the scene building as is assumed in its modern use. Having slapped the speaker in the theatre, attempted to bribe
the jury of the competition and impeded the smooth
running of the chorus rehearsals funded by Demosthenes,
Midias tries to prevent the chorus from appearing on the
day of the competition: barricading the paraskenia he, a
private citizen, blocking a public passage. We may understand the use of the verb (barricade) and the
reference to a public place ( ) if we assume,
with the scholiasts, that the word indicates
the lateral pathways to the orchestra, which are com-

JEAN-CHARLES MORETTI ANDCHRISTINEMAUDUIT THE GREEK VOCABULARY OF THEATRICAL ARCHITECTURE

monly denoted in ancient Greek by the terms


and . According to the hypothesis of an ancient
commentator, by blocking these passages, which were
used by some of the audience to get to the seats and by the
chorus to enter the orchestra, Midias intended to delay
the chorus of Demosthenes, forcing its members to take
a longer route, to go around the outer eisodos that is
to say the access to the seats located on top of the koilon.
The metatheatrical allusions that punctuate the
comedies of Aristophanes are further evidence for the
devices of the theatre and the lexicon used to describe
them. References to the realia of the theatre and to the
representation taking place are indeed a feature of ancient comedy in general. This characteristic, which is also
found in comic iconography, distinguishes it from tragedy, which is more reliant on the principle of theatrical
illusion and therefore avoids any reference to the setting
of the representation. The testimony of Aristophanes is
particularly precious with regard to theatrical machinery;
it is in his comedies that we find the oldest allusions
to two different machines used in Classical drama, the
and the , although neither of these
two terms are explicitly used.8 A passage in the Clouds,9
however, contains an occurrence of the term
referring to the lateral pathways of the orchestra, showing the greater antiquity of this term than of ,
which has established itself in modern studies. The use
of the term in a context that explains its application10
allows us certainty about its meaning.

Scholia and Glossaries


This glossing of a theatrical term is quite exceptional in
literary texts, however; we must turn to the scholarly literature to find definitions and clarifications of the meanings
of the vocabulary. This literature, which developed in the
context of Alexandrine philology, when the first critical
editions were produced, includes both comments in the
text the scholia to facilitate the readers understand-

ing, and general (but not exhaustive) lexicons, which are


the ancestors of our dictionaries. From this broad tradition of scholarship, we inherited various bodies of scholia,
several alphabetical lexicons dating to the Imperial and
Byzantine eras (especially Hesychius, Photius and the
Souda) and a thematic lexicon, the Onomasticon of Julius
Pollux, composed in the last third of the 2nd century AD
and partly devoted to the vocabulary and the realia of the
theatre. These works, which relate the terms of theatrical architecture to the real elements they denote, reflect
the multiple meanings of certain words in the form of
alternative definitions. It is not uncommon that they oppose a later interpretation to an older one ( /
), thus demonstrating a certain awareness of the
evolution of the vocabulary. The chronological indications, however, do not go beyond the opposition between
past and present, so that we cannot always specify what
type of theatrical building the proposed definitions refer
to. Another limitation of this literature is that we rarely
know the primary sources of these late lexicographers,
and consequently it is difficult to judge the reliability of
the information they report.
The Onomasticon was originally composed of ten
books; today we probably possess only an abridged version. It is different from other comparable works in its
thematic presentation and encyclopaedic nature. Pollux
covers all the fields of human activity and the lexicon
associated with these, which he organises into families
of words, sometimes enriching them with explanations
of the identified realia. Paragraphs 106 to 154 of Book
IV are devoted to the theatre; the theatre building and
its equipment are specifically discussed in paragraphs
121-32.11 As a source of knowledge about Greek theatre,
however, it has its difficulties. They are mainly due to the
fact that it was the lexicon, and not its corresponding
objects, which was the primary aim of Polluxs project:12
the lexicographer was not so much interested in describing the theatre building as he was in collecting all the
vocabulary that could be used to describe it. It is as a

The use of the mechane, explicitly mentioned by Antiphanes, 189 K.-A. (PCG II), is deduced from the apostrophe to the mechanopoios in Pax
(174) and Daedalos (fr. 192 K.-A., PCG III, 2) by Aristophanes. The use of the verbs and in Acharnenses (403-9) and in Thesmophoriazusae (95-6) presupposes the use of the ekkyklema.
9 Ar., Nub. 323-6.
10 Socrates comments for Strepsiades the entrance of the chorus of the Clouds.
11 Mauduit & Moretti 2010.
12 The work is dedicated to the young Commodus; it is designed to help him learn the euglottia (see the dedicatory letter of Book I).

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lexical survey and not as an archaeological document that


Pollux compiles his list of the parts of the theatre. The
list includes synonymous terms that are not all marked
as such, and hapax legomena such as and
. Above all, it mixes terms without
distinction, regardless of the different historical phases
of theatre construction they refer to. As a result, the
Onomasticon is addressed more to the philologist than
to the archaeologist, even if ignorance of its nature and
its aim have assured it, for centuries, a prominent place
in studies of the Greek theatre.

Technical Texts: Juba, Vitruvius and Hero of


Alexandria
The Greek technical treatises devoted to the theatre are
few. Vitruvius does not quote any of them in Book V of
his De Architectura, in which he discusses the theatre.13
This text is very helpful to us, as long as it is understood
in the cultural and historical framework in which it was
created. Vitruvius did not write a history of Greek theatre,
but nor was he describing the buildings in use at his time:
his purpose was to establish rules for the construction of
Greek and Latin-type buildings. The only author to whom
he refers in this discussion is Aristoxenus of Tarentum,
whose writings on harmony he attempts to summarise.
This basic level of music theory is, he writes, obscure
and difficult, especially indeed to those who cannot read
Greek, quibus Graecae litterae non sunt notae (5.4.1). Vitruvius was not very comfortable with Greek and we must
not forget this fact when we try to understand the meaning of the three words about the theatre which he quotes
or transcribes in Greek:14 diazumata (5.6.7),
(5.6.8) and (5.7.2).
The great Greek book on theatre composed during the
antique period seems to have been the ,
written by King Juba II of Mauretania.15 This book is lost
and we only know of it through five mentions, the latest
of which appears in Photius Library. There he quotes the
13
14
15
16
17

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seventeenth book, giving us a glimpse of the scope of this


work, which was not wholly devoted to architecture.
It is also possible to find comments on the theatre in
technical treatises that are not specifically focused on the
topic. We will only present two here; both are too infrequently mentioned, despite the fact that they offer innovative solutions to questions that we continue to ask ourselves. These are the and the
attributed to Hero of Alexandria, in which there is a lesson
on how to calculate the number of seats in a theatre of
which we know the length of the first and last benches
and the number of the benches ( I 42 and
24); or the number of seats in the first and
last rows and the number of rows ( I 43);
or even the number of seats in the first row, the number
of rows and the difference between the number of seats
in bench n + 1 and bench 1 ( I 43).

2. The Epigraphic Corpus


From the Hellenistic period on, epigraphic texts offer a
richer vocabulary designating the theatrical architecture
than literary texts, with the exception of the Onomasticon
of Pollux. They have the advantage of being contemporary with the realia they designate, and are sometimes
topographically associated with them.
In the corpus of decrees in which terms for theatrical
architecture appear, the two richest series are the texts in
which it is stated that the Peoples Assembly was held in
the theatre and the honorary decrees stating the concession of proedria or crowns that must be proclaimed there.
These documents are important for establishing an atlas of
Greek theatres, because they contain several attestations
of buildings of which no trace has been preserved.16 They
provide little information, however, about the meaning
of the terms related to theatrical architecture; the same is
true of the few subscriptions for the construction of theatres17 and the decrees that mention the theatre as the place
for their display or for the erection of honorary statues.18

See now the edition by Saliou 2009.


Gros 1990, 44-7.
Jacoby, FGrHist, 275, F 15-9.
Frederiksen 2002.
Subscription for the construction of the theatre of Zea in Piraeus in the middle of the 2nd century BC: IG II2 2334; Migeotte 1992, no. 20. Subscription for the construction of the theatre in Tlos at the end of the 1st century AD: IGRom III, 566; TAM II, 550-1 (M. Gallina, in de Bernardi Ferrero
1974, 234-5, no. 29); Migeotte 1992, no. 81.

JEAN-CHARLES MORETTI ANDCHRISTINEMAUDUIT THE GREEK VOCABULARY OF THEATRICAL ARCHITECTURE

Other decrees, less numerous, are richer in information. These are the ones that were issued in honour of
benefactors who financed the construction or the restoration of theatres or even, of different parts of the building,
which is of course more interesting for our purposes.19 A
decree of this type was discovered in Calymnos. It honors
a citizen who, in the second half of the 3rd century BC,
took responsibility for the construction of the skene and
the proskenion of the theatre located in the sanctuary
of Delian Apollo.20 Their dedication, mentioned in the
decree, was found,21 as well as one of the benches, designated by the term . They were funded by the
wife of the citizen who paid for the skene.22
In addition, there are some texts that fall outside
all of these categories. For example, there is the rental
contract of the theatre of Munichia in 324/323,23 and
the decree of the city of Skepsis in the Troad, around
300 BC, or shortly thereafter, for the renovation of the
theatre.24
The dedications of entire theatres or of parts of the
building, engraved on the monument, are rather numerous. They rarely offer an unequivocal association of a
word with the element it denotes, as at the theatre of Iaitas
on the tile stamps,25 or in the bricks of the
at Sparta and Megalopolis.26 The usual practice in architectural dedication, as in dedication of a statue, was
not to name what has been consecrated when the dedication is inscribed on its object. Thus the dedications
of the thrones in the Oropos theatre, engraved on the
18

19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31

seats themselves, contain only the name of the dedicator


and that of Amphiaraus, to whom the consecration is
devoted.27 The texts that do contain some architectural
vocabulary are usually multiple dedications that apply to
the inscribed object and to one or more other elements
of the theatre. In the theatre of Aphrodisias, Gaius Julius
Zoilus engraved the dedications of both the and
of the , which he had financed, on the front of
the , that is to say the stage, and on the base of the
, that is to say the scaenae frons, which has
greatly facilitated the understanding of the dedication.28
Such a practice is exceptional. The normal practice was to
engrave the dedication on the most prominent architectural component, which sometimes causes problems in
the comprehension of the texts.29 Their meaning is easier
to determine when we have several dedications related
to various parts of the same building, as in the cases of
Oropos, Aphrodisias, Hierapolis, Ephesus and Side.30 The
vocabulary used in the dedications is generally accurate,
at least before the development in the 4th century AD
of the taste for epigrams, when poetic phrasing starts to
overshadow ordinary semantic relevance.31
The richest and the most technical evidence for
architectural vocabulary may be found in the tender
documents, contracts and accounts of construction that
probably existed for all the theatres of the Greek world
and were kept in the archives of the cities, sanctuaries
or palaces. We now possess some of the accounts of the
theatres of Epidaurus and Delos because these were built

See, for example, IG II2, 657 (Syll3, 374), the Athenian decree from 287 BC in honor of the poet Philippides, whose statue is to be erected in the
theatre. The oldest attestation of the term associated with a theatre, however, appears in the law of Euboia about the recruitment of technitai for festivals on the island. The text was to be displayed in the parodoi of the theatres of the contracting cities: IG XII 9, 207, l. 54-6; Le Guen
2001, TE1 (between 295 and 288 BC). On the location of the stele of Eretria, see Knoepfler 2007.
Moretti 2010.
Segre 1952, 74-5, no. 52.
Segre 1952, 148, no. 106.
Segre 1952, 148, no. 105.
SEG XXXIII, 143; Agora XIX, L13; Csapo 2007; Slater 2011.
Wilhelm 1900, 54-7. See Migeotte 2010, 241-2 and Slater 2011, 283-4.
Isler 2000, 59.
Stamps on the public bricks of the skenotheke of Sparta: IG V 1, 877-81. Stamps on the bricks of the skenotheke of Megalopolis: IG V 2, 469, 5; Karapanaytou 2001, 342; Lauter & Lauter-Bufe 2004, 144-5.
Petrakos 1997, no. 439.
Reynolds, 1982, doc. 36; Reynolds 1991, 15-6.
See, for example, the difficulty of determining the referent of [] in the inscription carved on the stage building of the theatre at Oropos:
IG VII, 423; Petrakos 1997, no. 435; Moretti 1997, 35-7.
We assembled the references to these inscriptions in Moretti 2010.
This is the case in the dedication of the bema of Phaidros in the theatre at Athens: IG II2, 5021. See also, in the theatre at Ephesos, the epigram for
Messalinus, proconsul of Asia: IK 16, Die Inschriften von Ephesos VI, 2043 (commentated on by Robert 1948, 87-8).

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at a time when the curators of the sacred fortunes that financed them had their accounts engraved in stone.32 Very
little remains of the accounts of the Epidaurus theatre,33
but the Delian file, although fragmentary, is significant.34
Because it was created at the same time as the theatre
we know from the archaeological remains, it provides us
with a lot of data, not only on the vocabulary, but also
on the costs of different parts of the theatre and on the
development of the project. It still leaves many questions
unanswered, the most pressing of which, in our opinion,
concerns how to understand an account of the repair of
a large set of painted panels that are not pinakes for the
proskenion but skenai and paraskenia arranged on two
levels (IG XI 2, 199, A, l. 57-9; 62-4; 89-102). In the absence of remains, images and terms of comparison, the
interpretation remains doubtful and it is impossible to
know whether the equipment was widespread or specific
to the Delos theatre.35
Studies of all these texts and of some papyri that mention theatrical realia can help us identify the major stages
in the history of Greek theatrical vocabulary.

II. A brief history of theatrical vocabulary


1. The Classical Theatre
It is mainly in literary texts that we find traces of the
vocabulary relating to the theatre during the Classical
period. The scene building, which appears at this time
in the form of a wooden structure with a single level,
the roof terrace of which provides a secondary performance space, is referred to as ; this word applies
widely to a temporary construction made of light materials. Its use to designate the scene building, including
the oldest example by the historian Xenophon (Cyr.,
6.1.54), undoubtedly underlines the provisional nature
of the first scene buildings.36 The word appears
frequently in expressions related to the actors

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, as opposed to the chorus, since only the actors used the scene building during
the performance. For the area that hosted the chorus
performances, the Greeks used the term , the
etymology of which translates as place where people
dance, although there are good reasons to believe that in
this period the orchestra was also the main acting space
of the actors. Many scholars assume the existence of a
stage in Classical period theatre, but if this is the case it
has left no trace in the vocabulary. The word is
sometimes used for it in modern studies, but it was not
known until the Hellenistic period. The oldest attested
term for the lateral passages giving access to the orchestra is, as we mentioned, the noun , literally the
entrance, which appears several times in Aristophanes.37
It is these side entrances that seem to be designated, by
the word , in the single instance in the text
of Demosthenes (Mid. 17) commented on above. The
term , retained by the modern nomenclature,
was not used at the time.
The space provided for the spectators is designated, from the earliest accounts, , a noun derived
from the verb , contemplate, giving it the sense
of place where one looks. In some contexts, is
used to denote not the place itself, but those who occupy
it the audience making it an equivalent of the agent
noun . The word also applies, by synecdoche, to
the entire theatre building. This expansion of the words
meaning indicates that the spectator space was the most
important element of the ancient conception of the theatre.
Several lexicographers (Hesychius, Photius) reported
that another term, , scaffoldings, was used to describe the place in Athens from which one watched the
shows, before the construction of the Theatre of Dionysos
Eleuthereus. These accounts resemble those that refer to
the orchestra of the agora, and lead us to the conclusion
that there used to be a performance space in the agora,

32 We might add the account of Din (247/6 BC?) about the Pythia at Delphi (CID II, 139; CID IV, 57), but he does not refer to stone structures. He
only mentions works for maintenance and temporary constructions.
33 Burford 1966, 296-300, no. 24; Peek 1972, 17-9, no. 19.
34 Fraisse & Moretti 2007, 155-214.
35 Commentaries: Moretti 2006; Fraisse & Moretti 2007, 174-82.
36 For the first examples of the use of stone in the scene-building of the theatre at Athens, see Chr. Papastamati-von Moocks article in this volume,
39-79.
37 Ar. Nub. 326; Av. 296; (Kassel-Austin, PCG. III, 2, 403).

JEAN-CHARLES MORETTI ANDCHRISTINEMAUDUIT THE GREEK VOCABULARY OF THEATRICAL ARCHITECTURE

near a black poplar, consisting of an area for dancing, associated with wooden scaffolding, where the first Dionysian
competitions were held.38 An occurrence of the word
in a passage of Aristophanes Thesmophoriazusae,
from 411 BC, indicates that the term could still be used
to designate the wooden seats of the Theatre of Dionysos
in the late 5th century.39

2. The Hellenistic Theatre


The spread of stone architecture in the Greek world, following the reconstruction of the theatre in Athens at the
end of the Classical period, and the emergence of a new
type of stage building with two levels and a proskenion,
were accompanied by a significant enrichment of the vocabulary associated with the theatre. Three terms appear
alongside for the stage building: ,
and .
The noun was created at the beginning
of the Hellenistic period by prefixing to describe
a new form, being limited, it seems, to the colonnade
erected in front of the stage building.40 To designate the
painted wood-panels that filled the intercolumniations,
the Greeks used an old term, , already widely used
in the Homeric poems. To indicate the planking that extended seamlessly from the body of the stage building
to the cornice in front of it was accorded a
new term: .41 It is not widely cited in the Greek
world,42 but the way Vitruvius employs it suggests that it
was frequently used.
When they began to build permanent stage buildings,
the Greeks continued to designate them with the term
, despite its original meaning; from then on, it was
used to designate either the entire stage building or the
section without the proskenion. Some stage buildings,

however, continued to fall within the ancient definition of


and a new word was created for the sheds designed
to protect mobile skenai: .43
Most of the terms used in the Hellenistic period
to indicate the components of the stone koila are not
original creations. The Greeks already possessed nouns
to describe seats, thrones, stairs and retaining walls and
these are the words that were used in theatres. Newly created words and words borrowed from other vocabularies,
however, were used for the horizontal corridors, which,
starting from the second half of the 4th century, divided
some koila into two or three parts, as well as for the different sections of seats thus defined. In the accounts of
the Delos theatre, we find used to indicate the
corridors that divide the seating into two (IG XI 2, 203,
A, l. 82 and 85) and for the corridor above them
(IDlos 290, l. 181 and 184). , which is a hapax
legomenon, here refers to the upper section of seats (IG
XI 2, 287, A, l. 94 and 120). The term does not
appear in the inscriptions of Delos. It is known in the
treatise of Vitruvius, where it appears to be equivalent to
praecinctio, and in several inscriptions from the Imperial
period, where it designates, as in modern Greek, a flight of
seats, thus corresponding to the Latin maenianum.44 On
the other hand, which usually means a shuttle,
is attested in Delos (IDlos 290, l. 179), where it is not the
equivalent of cuneus,45 as is assumed in modern studies.
The term must have been applied to a shape pointed at
both ends, such as a shuttle. It probably referred to one
or more rows of seats with pointed ends like those above
the diodos in Delos and Athens.
The construction of the seats and stone stage buildings set the boundaries of the lateral passages to the
orchestra and gave them a more elongated shape. This
is probably the reason why the term , which

38
39
40
41
42
43

Pickard-Cambridge 1946, 10-5; Kolb 1981, 20-58; Martin 1987.


Ar., Thesm., 395. See Moretti 2000, 382-9 and Chr. Papastamati-von Moock in this volume, 39-79.
The first attestation of the term in the accounts of the theatre at Delos at the beginning of the 3rd century BC: IG XI 2, 153, l. 14.
The accounts of the theatre at Delos allow us to understand the exact meaning of the term: Fraisse & Moretti 2007, 169-70.
The term is attested in Delos, Messene, Orchomenos of Boeotia, Aphrodisias and Hierapolis. See the references in Moretti 2010.
For the theatre at Megalopolis, see: Fiechter 1931, 15-7, 29-30; Karapanayotou 2001; Lauter & Lauter-Bufe 2004. For the theatre at Sparta: Bulle 1937,
10-23; Waywell, Wilkes & Walker 1998, 103-8; Waywell 2002, 250-3. For the theatre at Messene: Themelis 2010, 22-4 and in this volume, 203-231. For
the theatre of Delos: IDlos 444, l. 103-4; Fraisse & Moretti 2007, 180-1, 201.
44 In the theatre at Patara: TAM II, 408, l. 15 (Gallina 1974, 210-1, no. 11). In Aphrodisias: Reynolds 1991, 23, no. 2, l. 12-3, 24-5, no. 5, l. 8. See Moretti
1993, 153, n. 66.
45 Fraisse & Moretti 2007, 196-7.

125

Monographs of the Danish Institute at Athens, Volume 17

was already used in other contexts, comes to have this


transferred sense. For the doors, which monumentalised
several of these passages, no single term predominated.
Alternatives were borrowed from the existing vocabulary
(, , , ).

3. The Imperial Age Theatre


The Imperial age was marked by the appearance of new
forms in the theatrical architecture. Most of them are
identified by terms that are new to the theatrical lexicon, but which are not specific. With the development of
vaulted substructures for the koila, or and
appear in some dedications. With the ornamentation of the scaenae frons, , ,
and appear.
For the main innovation, that of a stage-wall with
doors and associated with one, two or three levels of ornamental columns, the term was used in
Eastern Greece.46 This is not surprising because, since
the beginning of the Hellenistic period, proskenion
had denoted a colonnade endowed with doors, in front
of which the actors usually played. The platform associated with this / scaenae frons is called
in the theatres of Aphrodisias47 and Patara48 and
in Ephesus.49 In all three buildings, we are dealing with elevated stages of Greek tradition. It is possible
that was more suitable for a low platform of Latin
type, but such a conclusion would have to rely exclusively
on the dedication in verse of the Phaidros bema.50 In a
text from Ephesus dating from the early 3rd century AD,
is used as an equivalent of postscaenium.51
This is a neologism that illustrates the vitality of the Greek
language and the inadequacy of the term for referring to the backstage of an Imperial age theatre, as well

126

as the central role of this term for anything related to the


stage building.
In their vocabulary for two innovations imported
from the West, the Greeks took two different positions.
For the vela, they transcribed the Latin word, while for
the leaning-roofs that were built on top of the scaenae
frontes, above the stages, we demonstrate that they have
borrowed a common name, that of a wide-brimmed hat,
the .52 The Latin language did not have a specific
term for this device.
This brief report on the Greek vocabulary of theatrical
architecture allows us to make some remarks on how it
was formed and developed over centuries, depending on
the evolution of the structures to which it applied. The
majority of the words in this vocabulary are not original
creations, but result rather from a specialisation, in the
theatrical context, of words that already existed; their
application to the theatre is based on an analogy to the
shape or function of their usual referents. The appearance
of new forms, however, in some cases occasioned the
invention of new words. Some of these were created by
composition or derivation from the existing vocabulary
this is the case for all the compounds of . Others
were created with reference to the function of the part of
the theatre thus identified, like the word , meaning the place from which one talks. The evolution of the
architectural structure also leads to a secondary evolution
in the meaning of some elements of the lexicon, without
the new meaning leading to the systematic disappearance
of the earlier ones.
A number of terms in this vocabulary were taken
over by modern scholars to describe the different parts
of ancient Greek theatres and, in particular, those with
forms specific to these buildings. A nomenclature was

46 At Messene: SEG LI, 2001, 458, B, l. 24. At Naxos: IG XII 5, 52 (see Fraisse & Moretti 2007, 25). At Ilion: IK 3-Ilion, 158. At Ephesos: Ephesos II, 39,
l. 5 (Gallina 1974, 217-8, no. 16; IK 16-Ephesos VI, 2039). At Milet: Milet VI.2, 939, l. 10. At Aphrodisias: Reynolds 1982, 161-2, no. 36 (Reynolds 1991,
15-6). At Patara: TAM II, 408, l. 9 (Gallina 1974, 210-1, no. 11). At Nisa: TAM II, 736 (SEG XL, 995; XLI, p. 616). At Ikonium: IGRom. III, 262; Ramsay 1918, 169-70; Moretti 2010, 180.
47 Reynolds 1982, 161-2, no. 36 (Reynolds 1991, 15-6).
48 TAM II, 408, l. 13 (Gallina 1974, 210-1, no. 11).
49 Ephesos II, 39, l. 5 (Gallina 1974, 217-8, no. 16; IK 16-Ephesos VI, 2039).
50 IG II2, 5021.
51 Ephesos II, 41, l. 3-4 (Gallina 1974, 220, no. 18; IK 16-Ephesos VI, 2041). We believe the translation by postscaenium is better than that by porticus in
summa cavea, which is accepted by the editors and by Warnecke 1926.
52 Moretti 1993.

JEAN-CHARLES MORETTI ANDCHRISTINEMAUDUIT THE GREEK VOCABULARY OF THEATRICAL ARCHITECTURE

thus established and, though not universal, it constitutes


a tool indispensable for our work. Its aim is normative,
as it has selected for each noun only one meaning, ignoring the polysemy of the ancient vocabulary. The use we
make of the word proskenion, retaining only the meaning
it had during the Hellenistic period, is a good example.
Our nomenclature includes terms that were never used
by the ancient Greeks in relation to theatrical buildings,
like koilon, which is a modern creation made on the
model of the Latin cavea to describe what ancient texts
call . It also includes terms that we give a different

meaning from the ancient Greeks, such as paraskenion,


diazoma and kerkis. Finally, we use words that are well
attested in ancient texts and other words that are hapax
legomena, like epitheatron and theologeion.
The partial inconsistency in the nomenclature we use
is a result of its development over the centuries. It seems
of little use to try to reduce this inconsistency, but it is
important to underline the gap between the ancient vocabulary and the modern lexicon. This nomenclature is a
necessary tool in our work; we can use it effectively while
being aware of its defects.

127

Monographs of the Danish Institute at Athens, Volume 17

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129

List of contributors
Georgios P. Antoniou
Deinokratous 73
11521 Athens
Greece
antonioug@tee.gr

Eirini Doudoumi
NTUA, 13 Benaki str.
13561 Ag. Anargiroi Athens
Greece
eirini.doudoumi@gmail.com

Craig Barker
University of Sydney Paphos Archaeological Project
c/- Nicholson Museum A14
University of Sydney NSW 2006
Australia
craig.barker@sydney.edu.au

Petra Eitzinger
Fachbereich Altertumswissenschaften, Klassische und Frhgische
Archologie
Universitt Salzburg,
Residenzplatz 1
A-5020 Salzburg
Austria
petra.eitzinger@stud.sbg.ac.at

Fede Berti
Via Bagaro 6
44121 Ferrara
Italy
fede.berti@alice.it
Nathalie de Chaisemartin
Matre de confrences honoraire
Paris-Sorbonne
2 rue de Poissy
75005 Paris
France
nathalie.de-chaisemartin@orange.fr
Nikos Chatzidakis
AUTh, 1 Koronaiou Str,
73100 Chania
Greece
nxatzi@yahoo.com

466

Julia Dorner
Institut fr Klassische Archologie
Universitt Wien
Franz-Klein-Gasse 1
A-1190 Vienna
Austria
a0548552@unet.univie.ac.at

Stefan Franz
Bro fr Bauforschung und
Visualisierung
Trivastr. 5a
D-80637 Munich
Germany
kontakt@hinzundfranz.de
Rune Frederiksen
National Museum of Denmark
Ny Vestergade 10
DK-1471 Kbenhavn K
Denmark
rune.frederiksen@natmus.dk
Walter Gau
AI Athen
Leoforos Alexandras 26
106 83 Athens
Greece
walter.gauss@oeai.at

Elizabeth Gebhard
Balcanquhal House
Glenfarg
Perthshire PH2 9QD
United Kingdom
egebhard@ed.ac.uk
Marco Germani
Universit degli Studi di Roma Tor
Vergata
Facolt di Lettere e Filosofia
Via Columbia n. 1
00133 Roma
Italy
Marco.Germani@uniroma2.it
marco.germani01@libero.it
J. Richard Green
University of Sydney Paphos Archaeological Project
c/- Nicholson Museum A14
University of Sydney NSW 2006
Australia
richard.green@sydney.edu.au
Chris Hayward
School of Geosciences
University of Edinburgh
The Grant Institute
The Kings Buildings
James Hutton Road
EH9 3FE Edinburgh
United Kingdom
chris.hayward@ed.ac.uk
Valentina Hinz
Bro fr Bauforschung und
Visualisierung
Trivastr. 5a
D-80637 Munich
Germany
kontakt@hinzundfranz.de

LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS

Martin Hofbauer
Waldgasse 11
3002 Purkersdorf
Austria
martin-hofbauer@gmx.at
Signe Isager
Department of History
University of Southern Denmark
DK-5230 Odense M
Denmark
signe.isager@sdu.dk
Hans Peter Isler
Universitt Zrich
Archologisches Institut
Rmistrasse 73
CH-8006 Zrich
Switzerland
www.archinst.uzh.ch
hpi@archinst.uzh.ch
Chryssa Karadima
Ephorate of Antiquities of Rhodope
Archaeological Museum, 4, A. Symeonidi Str.
GR-691 00 Komotini
Greece
chkaradima@culture.gr
Asuman Ltzer-Lasar
Internationales Kolleg Morphomata
Universitt zu Kln
Albertus-Magnus-Platz
D-50923 Cologne
Germany
asuman.laetzer@uni-koeln.de
Manuela Leibetseder
Fachbereich Altertumswissenschaften, Klassische und Frhgische
Archologie
Universitt Salzburg
Residenzplatz 1
A-5020 Salzburg
Austria
leibetsederma@stud.sbg.ac.at

Yannis Lolos
University of Thessaly
Department of History, Archaeology
and Social Anthropology
Argonafton and Filellinon
38 221 Volos
Greece
ylolos@otenet.gr

Arzu ztrk
MSGSU Arkeoloji Blm
Silahr Cad. No: 71
TR-35363 ili-Bomonti
Istanbul
Turkey
www.msgsu.edu.tr
arzu.ozturk@msgsu.edu.tr

Clemente Marconi
Institute of Fine Arts New York
University
1 East 78th Street
New York, NY 10075
USA
cm135@nyu.edu

Christina Papastamati-von Moock


Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs Ephorate of Antiquities of Athens Scientific Committee for the Research,
Consolidation,
Restoration and Enhancement of the
Monuments on the Acropolis South
Slope of Athens
Thrasyllou 20
GR- 10558 Athens
Greece
papastamati@vonmoock.com

Nicol Masturzo
Dipartimento di Studi Storici Universit di Torino
Via SantOttavio 20
10124 Torino
Italy
nicolo.masturzo@unito.it
Christine Mauduit
cole normale suprieure de Paris
UMR 8546 AOROC
45 rue dUlm
F 75005 Paris
France
christine.mauduit@ens.fr
Jean-Charles Moretti
Institut de recherche sur larchitecture
antique, CNRS
MOM MSH, Universit Lyon 2
AAMU
7 rue Raulin, F 69365 Lyon, Cedex 07
France
jean-charles.moretti@mom.fr
Valentina Di Napoli
Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece
Skaramanga 4B
GR-10433 Athens
Greece
dinapoliv@yahoo.com

Poul Pedersen
Classical Studies, Department of
History
University of Southern Denmark
DK-5230 Odense M
Denmark
p.pedersen@sdu.dk
Katja Piesker
Abtlg. Bau-/Stadtbaugeschichte,
Fakultt fr Architektur und
Landschaft
Leibniz Universitt Hannover
Herrenhuser Strae 8
D 30419 Hannover
Germany
katja.piesker@web.de
David Richard Scahill
American School of Classical Studies
at Athens
Odos Souidias 54
10676 Athens
Greece
drscahill@gmail.com

467

Monographs of the Danish Institute at Athens, Volume 17

Kleanthis Sidiropoulos
Archaeological Museum of Messene
Ancient Messene
240 02 Meligalas
Greece
klesid@yahoo.gr
Rudolfine Smetana
Fachbereich Altertumswissenschaften, Klassische und Frhgische
Archologie
Universitt Salzburg
Residenzplatz 1
A-5020 Salzburg
Austria
rudolfine.smetana@sbg.ac.at
Alexander Sokolicek
Whringerstrasse 127/15
1180 Vienna
Austria
as7085@nyu.edu
Geoff Stennett
University of Sydney Paphos Archaeological Project
c/- Nicholson Museum A14
University of Sydney NSW 2006
Australia
Geoff@ocp.net.au

468

Gudrun Styhler-Aydn
TU Wien
Faculty of Architecture and Planning
Institute of History of Art, Building Archaeology and Restoration
Department of History of Architecture
and Building Archaeology
Karlsplatz 13,
A-1040 Vienna
Austria
http://baugeschichte.tuwien.ac.at/
gudrun.styhler@tuwien.ac.at
Petros Themelis
Society of Messenian Archaeological
Studies
33 Psaromiligkou Str.
10553 Athens
Greece
www.ancientmessene.gr
damophon@gmail.com
Gerasimos Thomas
PhD NTUA, Kriezi 7
15233 Chalandri, Athens
Greece
tomjerry78@hotmail.com

Maria Trapichler
Institut fr Klassische Archologie
Universitt Wien
Franz-Klein-Gasse 1
A-1190 Vienna
Austria
maria.trapichler@univie.ac.at
Christine Wilkening-Aumann
ETH Zrich
Institute of Historie Building Research
and Conservation (IDB)
Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 27
HIT H 43
CH-8093 Zurich
Switzerland
www.idb.arch.ethz.ch
wilkening@arch.ethz.ch
Costas Zambas
PhD NTUA, 43 Skiathou str.
11254 Athens
Greece
c-zambas@hol.gr