30.1.17

Theater of Termessos

Immediately to the east of the agora lies the theatre. Commanding a view out over the Pamphylian plain, this building is no doubt the most eyecatching in all the Termessos plain. It displays most clearly the features of the Roman theatre, which preserved the Hellenistic period theatre plan. The Hellenistic cavea, or semicircular seating area, is divided in two by a diazoma. Above the diazoma rise eight tiers of seats, below it are sixteen, allowing for a seating capacity of some 4-5,000 spectators. A large arched entrance way connects the cavea with the agora. The southern parados was vaulted in Roman times, the northern has been left in its original open-air state. The stage building exhibits features characteristic of the 2nd century AD. A long narrow room is all that lies behind it. This is connected with the podium where the play took place, by five doors piercing the richly ornamented facade or scaenae frons. Under the stage lie five small rooms where wild animals were kept before being taken into the orchestra for combat.



As in other classical cities, an odeon lies about 100 metres from the theatre. This building, which looks like a small theatre, can be dated to the 1st century BC. It is well preserved all the way to roof level and exhibits the finest quality ashlar masonry. The upper storey is ornamented in the Doric order and coursed with square-cut blocks of stone, while the lower storey is unornamented and pierced by two doors. It is certain that the building was originally roofed, since it received its light from eleven large windows in the east and west walls. Just how this roof, which spanned 25 metres, was housed, has not been determined yet. Because the interior is full of earth and rubble at present, it is not possible to gauge either the building's seating arrangement or its capacity. Seating capacity was probably not larger than 600-700. Amid the rubble, pieces of coloured marble have been unearthed, giving rise to the possibility that the interior walls were decorated with mosaic. It is also possible that this elegant building served as the bouleuterion or council chamber.

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