5.11.16

Nikopolis Theater (Odeion of Nikopolis)

The Roman Odeon, among the more important and best preserved monuments in Nikopolis, is a true architectural masterpiece by some unknown but great architect. It lies at the centre of the town, on the west side of the Early Christian wall, adjacent to the Roman agora (forum). It was used for lectures, literary and musical contests and theatrical performances during the Nea Aktia religious games honouring Apollo. Being adjacent to the agora, it probably operated as a bouleuterion (council chamber) for the remaining months of the year. It was built during the reign of Augustus (early first century AD) and frequently repaired and remodelled in the late second century - early third century AD. 

The odeon consisted of the cavea, the orchestra and the scene. The cavea contained 19 rows of seats and was divided into two sections by a small horizontal central corridor. The seats were encrusted with limestone; the first row, which has not been preserved, seated the officials. On the tenth row were small openings in favour of acoustics. Three semicircular porticos support the cavea and ensure its sloping tendency. These porticos are of different heights: the inner one is the lowest and the outer is the highest. At the centre of the cavea there is one more entrance with paved floor and walls, directly linking the underground galleries of the cavea to the orchestra. At the Late Roman period, this passage narrowed due to the construction of an altar. Spectators accessed the tiers through a double stairway at the middle of the south fa?ade of the cavea, while two smaller stairways at the lateral sides were leading to the inner part of the cavea. The semicircular orchestra was adorned with multicoloured marble works, parts of which are preserved up to our days. The parodoi (passageways) on both sides of the cavea were vaulted and had a paved floor. The scene disposed of three entrances giving access to the road on the north of the odeon. Between the scene proper and the proscenium (front of scene), a 0.90m wide and 2.82m deep and narrow corridor called ?flute of the setting? served to rise the curtain at every theatrical performance. The findings, including coins, lead to the conclusion that the odeon was probably active until the second half of the third century AD. 

The excavation of the monument is completed and extensive works were undertaken for the completion of the tiers, the cavea, the proscenium and the scene.

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