The Theatre of Dionysus
The Theatre of Dionysus was Europe's first Theatre, and was erected immediately below the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. The Theatre, originally built in the late fifth century B.C., was an outside auditorium in the form of a great semicircle on the hill of the Acropolis, in which rows of seating on which about eighteen thousand onlookers could comfortably sit. The theatre was the beginning of something that not even the Greeks could have foresaw. The theatre was an innovation for plays, sound, set and more. It started something so profound we know it even today.
The Theatre was built, out of wood, as a result of the Athenian's religious practice in glory of the god, Dionysos, who embodied both fruitfulness and wine. Long before the Theatre itself was constructed, an annual ceremonial festival was held for Dionysus in the same spot. This initial ceremony was performed by choruses of men who chanted and danced in the god's honor. Viewers would gather in a circle to watch these dancers; that was the way that the Theatre took its circular shape. When the Theatre was built, the performers only sang and danced about the stories of Dionysus's life, then later the stories and myths of other deities and champions. As the theatre developed in status it was refurbished with stone. Most of what we see now is due to the Athenian statesman Lycurgus. Lycurgus was the city’s finances and head of the construction program. By the conclusion of the fourth century the theatre had a permanent stage in front of the orchestra. In addition it had three-tiered seating (theatron) that stretched up the slope. Again in the Hellenistic period more modifications were made. 67 marble thrones were added around the border of the orchestra. Each throne was emblazoned with the names and occupation of the dignitaries that occupied them. The thrones that are seen today are made out of marble and are guessed to be Roman copies of earlier...