The theater complex at Pompeii is spectacular. • The large theater held 5,000 spectators and the current structure dates from 1 A.D. • Photographs from the air show a perfectly proportioned half circle
The Theater • The large theater was increased in size by the Holoconius brothers, M. Holconius Rufus and M. Holconius Celer, who were then honored by commemorative plaques, statues, and a bisellium, the best seat in the house.
It’s too big to get in a photograph. Here is an overhead shot showing the stone stage now on the right.
The theater at Herculaneum’s proscenium used marble columns of antique yellow and red porphyry and cornices of African and serpentine green. None of this remains, due to the deprivations of the Austrian Prince D’Elboeuf. He was the first to excavate the theater and he proceeded to GRIND all this splendor into cement for the construction of his villa
The steps are incredible and a mountain goat would love the risers. • There was apparently a nymphaeum, the water flowing into a circular pool at the foot of the orchestra.
The stage is being worked on but you can see the stone pillars of the back. After the earthquake of 62AD the pool was filled in. There was an awning which functioned by means of ropes and pulleys.
But that’s not all there is to see, let’s hop off these steps and let’s walk to the left here and follow the crowd out of this huge theater….. • watch your step….and into….
What’s this? • Another theater? • A smaller theater, with a marble floor? • The Odeon held 1,000 theater goers and was covered
The Odeon • The Odeon was intended for intimate concerts, musical programs, and recitations of verse and mime. • It was built in 80 BC. • This is a telamon figure holding up part of the auditorium.
The Odeon only had two zones of seating, and is an unusually harmonious example of late Hellenistic taste. • Seating was arranged by class. The public sat in the upper rows while the magistrates and guests brought comfortable seating from home for the broad lower slabs.
Well! TWO theaters, not one …. but wait, where’s the crowd going now? • Everybody is filing out to the left……let’s go too….we’ve come outside and WOW!!
The Quadriporticus • It’s an… open lawn with columns surrounding for the theatergoers. It’s lovely, the entire complex is amazing! • Later it became a sports complex and gladiators would train and entertain here but initially it was a lovely place to stroll and have refreshments during Intermission, for both theaters!
. • The large theater at Pompeii was embellished by a veneer of fine marbles and an enormous scenery wall. The complex provided day long entertainment on special occasions. • Sometimes when you stand in the theater you can almost hear the roar of the crowd.