HUM 231: Human Civilization
(Picture of the Ancient Greek Theater of Epidaurus)
Ancient Greek Theater: A wonderful contribution to Civilization About twenty five hundred years ago and two thousand years before Shakespeare, Greek Theater was born. “Theatre” comes from the word “theatron” meaning "seeing place". The Ancient Greek theater goes back to the city-state of Athens where every year in March for an entire week, Athenians worshipped god Dionysus. Dionysus was considered the god of fertility and was also associated with wine, agriculture and sexuality. Athenians honored Dionysus by performing songs to welcome him while drinking lots of wine and dancing to release any emotional distress (Sacks). Ancient Greek theatre was a "... mixture of myth, legend, philosophy, social commentary, poetry, dance, music, public participation, and visual splendor." (Cohen 64) Greek Theaters were amazingly built. Usually they were open- air theaters located at slope of a hill and could accommodate up to 15,000 people at one single time. One of the biggest characteristics of Greek Theaters was its “acoustics” which amplified sounds from the actors on stage to the entire audience, including the ones sitting at the top of the theater. It is believed that a great amount of mathematics was involved in the construction of these magnificent theaters. One of the most popular and beautiful Ancient Greek theaters that was built in Greece, was the “Epidaurus Theater”. It is located about 2.5 hours from Athens and was discovered in 1970. The Epidaurus is popular for its amazing scenic view of mountains behind the stage, it has about 55 rows and its considered to have great acoustics. Actors can be perfectly heard by all 15,000 people sitting at the theater and even now days, the theater can be safely used without the use of microphones (Description of Theater). However, in ancient times, Epidaurus was also linked to Asklepios, the god of health. Doctors believe that...
Cited: * Sacks, David. "Theater in Ancient Greece." Encyclopedia of the Ancient Greek World, Revised Edition. Revised by Lisa R. Brody. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2005. Ancient and Medieval History Online. Facts On File, Inc. Web Oct 2012. http://www.fofweb.com
* Cohen, Robert. Theatre. Fourth Edition. California; Mayfield, 1997.
* Description of a Theater of 5th Century B.C." 3 Mar 1999. Online. 21 Oct 1999. <http://users.groovy.gr/~ekar/constr.html>.
* "Ancient Greek Festivities and Culture." Ancient and Medieval History Online. Facts On File, Inc. Web Oct 2012. <http://www.fofweb.com>
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