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On this page: Theatre (continued)

THEATRE.

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structure called the skSnS (Lat. sccena) was added, with a stage for dramatic represen­tations. It was erected on the side of the orchestra away from the spectators, and at such a height and distance as to allow of

having " built " the theatre.] The remains of this theatre have been exposed to view since the excavations of 1862. [Further excavations in the direction of the stage buildings were made in 1877 and 1886.]l

Skene. (1) FLAN OF A GKEEK THEATRE.

the stage being in full view from every part of the theatre.

The first stone theatre was that built at Athens, the home of the Greek drama; and the theatres in every part of the Hellenic world were constructed on the same general principles. It is said that at a performance about 496 b.c., when ^Eschylus, Pratinas, and Chwrilus were competitors, the wooden scaffolding on which the spectators were standing broke down; and that it was accordingly resolved to construct a theatre of stone instead [Suidas. s.v. Pratinas]. The building was near the east end of the southern slope of the AcrQpSlis; and in its construction partial use was made of the rock against which it rested. It was not, however, completed until between 340 and 330 B.C., when Athens was under the finan­cial administration of Lycurgus. [Cp. in­scription in Corp. Inscr. Ait. ii 176, or Hicks, Manual of Greek Historical Inscriptions, No. 128; Pseudo-Plutarch, Lives of the Ten Orators, p. 841 o; Pausanias, i 29 § 16. All these authorities speak of Lycurgus as having u completed" the theatre. It is Hyperides alone (Fragm. 139 Sauppe), who, in a speech on behalf of the children of Lycurgus, rhetorically describes him as

1 [In connexion with these last excavations a theory was started by Dr. Dorpfeld, of the Ger­man School of Archeeology at Athens. Accord­ing to his view, (!) the sacred precinct called the Lenaidn contained in the 5th century b.c. no permanent building for dramatic purposes, but only two temples, the older dating from the time of Plsistratus, and close to it a circular orchestra, seventy-eight feet in diameter. And5-cldes, De Mysteriis, § 38, speaks _of certain con­spirators descending " from the Odeum into the orchestra" not the theatron ; and in Aristophanes the word theatron is applied to the auditorium alone. (2) The first permanent building was completed by Lycurgus in 330 b.c., and consisted of a stone wall sixty-five feet seven inches long, with two wings rising like towers on either side. Behind the wall was an oblong room for the actors, and in front of the wall to the north there was a new orchestra. Rows of seats were con­structed at the same time; but at present there was no raised stage. (3) At some later date there was built a permanent pi-oscenium of stone, ten­or twelve feet high. (4) Under Claudius (the " Nero " of the inscription on the kypoacenlum) the orchestra received its pavement of marble, and about this time the stage was raised. (5) In the 3rd century a.d., one Phasdrus, whose name ap­pears on the inscription on the hfnwsceinum, erected a new stage in front of the older one. To this period, in other words to Romish times, belongs also the continuous stone balustrade separating the auditorium from the orchestra.

On the other hand, it has been observed (1) that b.c. 330 is a very late date for the Athenians to have erected their earliest stone theatre. (2.) The

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