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Ancient Greece and the Epidaurus Theater

A my Doan #8 4/25/11 Miss Rieker

Introduction: During Greeces Golden Age, a magnificent theater was built onto a hillside in Epidaurus, Greece. There, dramas, like comedy and tragedy (which are still performed today), were acted out by men for 14,000 people to watch. This outdoor limestone theater is specially designed so that noises from the orchestra, or stage, are amplified while sounds from the audience are blocked out. The Greek Epidaurus Theater greatly contributed to the meaning of Greeces Golden Age.
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Government A. Ruler- Phillip II of Macedonia 1. Local council and assembly ran government: vote, oversaw treasury, etc. 2. Phillip used Greek techniques (phalanx) against them in battle to defeat and unite Greece B. Type of Government 1. Democracy- run by people chosen by the citizens C. Social Class 1. Two classes: upper and lower 2. Lower: poor, landless, enslaved 3. Upper: free, rich, noble 4. Divided (into classes) even though citizens considered equal in a democracy D. Trading Partners 1. Traded with Romania, Spain, Italy, France, Sicily, Cyprus, Asia Minor, Egypt, Ukraine 2. Traded stone vases and pottery for ivory and metals E. Lasting Contributions 1. Architecture- columns used in public buildings 2. Math- ideas of geometry, pi 3. Art- sculptures and paintings 4. Literature- fables 5. Government- created idea of democracy and citizens

ll. Religion A. Greek Gods and Goddesses 1. Gods and goddesses controlled nature and aspects of life 2. Twelve most important gods lived on Mount Olympus, the highest mountain in Greece B. Gods and Goddesses Role in Daily Life 1. Guided and controlled Greek peoples lives 2. Everyone has a fate 3. Greeks performed rituals, ceremonies, and festivals to gain the gods and goddesses favor lll. Greek Epidaurus Theater A. Location 1. Current and past location in Epidaurus, Greece (SW of Athens) B. Date Constructed & Who Built It 1. Built during the 350s B.C. (during Greeces Golden Age) 2. Polyclitus the Younger built it C. Purpose 1. Past: seated the people who were there for entertainment (dramas, contests, etc.) 2. Past: used to worship Asclepius (god of medicine) and Dionysus (god of drama & wine) 3. Present: entertain tourists visiting the ruins D. Description 1. Cavea (seating) width: 390 feet 2. Orchestra (flat and circular) diameter: about 81 feet 3. Skene (the backstage where actors changed, etc.): 64 ft. long, 20 ft. deep 4. Fits around 14,000 people in a half-circle position 5. Supported by 14 Ionic pillars 6. Has 13 vertical staircases 7. 34 original rows of seats; 21 rows added by Romans; 55 rows total E. Materials Used 1. Local limestone 2. Material and shape makes stage sounds louder and blocks noise from the audience F. Impact on Society 1. Used for religious practices 2. Needed to worship Asclepius (god of medicine/healing), so the sick would get better 3. Comedies (dramas with happy endings) and tragedies (dramas with sad endings) were watched in the past as in the present G. Modern-Day Connections 1. Used for same purpose- entertainment- as in the past 2. Still standing today 3. The Sydney Opera House is like the Epidaurus Theater

Conclusion: To sum it up, the theater in Epidaurus, Greece, was an amazing structure. Its dazzling sound effects were the key to the theaters uniqueness. In fact, scientists today are trying to imitate the theaters system without success. Expanded by the Romans, it can hold up to 14,000 people where dramas and contests took place as well as other forms of entertainment. The Greek Epidaurus Theater is the perfect structure for the meaning of theater.