Roman Theater

Isabel Valentine 4A

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The Theater of Pompey

The Theater of Pompey is the first permanent theater in Rome. It was built by Roman General Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus in 55 BC. It could seat 27,000 people, and held elaborate stage buildings. It contains many statues, including the Temple of Venus Victrix that was built at the top of the seating area. It is located in Regione IX Circus Flaminius.

The Theater of Marcellus

The Theater of Marcellus was the largest theater in Rome, and was an unfinished project began by Julius Caesar, but completed by Emperor Augustus in 11 and 13 BC. It held 14,000 people, and held elaborate stage buildings as well. The theater was 2 or 3 stories high with columns on each level, and the seating area was supported by 3 levels of arched vaults. The theater was composed of 41 arches. Doric columns on the lower tier, and and Ionic at the top.

The Architecture

The architectural influence of the theaters in Rome came from the Greeks. They were made with marble, wood, and gilded glass. Often times the arena was built just as high as the seating areas, so the audience could see the show, and they were built two or three stories high with columns. They contained "Caveas", cells that contained the animals involved in the show, and "vomitoriums" that were passage ways in the seating area as a way the audience could exit quickly.

Roman Theater events

The Roman theaters held events such as plays, comedy shows, gladiator fights, circuses, musical events, and sports events like chariot races. The Roman actors that participated in these events were seen poorly, and respected as a slave or a laborer would. Women did not participate in the acting profession, because it was seen as inappropriate, so male actors often played the role of the women in plays. But later throughout history, women emerged to become influential actresses .


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Mark Cartwright, "Theatre of Marcellus" Ancient history Encyclopedia, Last modified Octobor 08, 2013,