Plan of Theater of Dionysos and Earlier Temple of Dionysos, c. second half...

Plan, Athens, Theater of Dionysos

Aerial view of Acropolis, from SSE, Close; good view of Theater, Odeion, S...

Stage from N, Athens, Theater of Dionysos

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Bema of Phaedrus at the Theater of Dionysos depicting Dionysos, on the far...

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Bema of Phaedrus at the Theater of Dionysos depicting Hermes presenting in...

Context: Athens
Type: Theater
Summary: Theater; in the Sanctuary of Dionysos Eleuthereus, against the southern slope of the Acropolis.
Date: ca. 350 BC
Region: Attica
Period: Late Classical


Cavea with stone seats facing a stage building which extended the width of the orchestra.


Introduction date for the cult of Dionysos at Athens is not certain. The Sanctuary of Dionysos Eleuthereus (the Liberator), in which the theater is located, also contains 2 temples of Dionysos, the older of the 2 dating to ca. 600 - 500 B.C. The 2nd temple dates to ca. 350 B.C., but was once thought to be of the 5th century B.C. The only existing traces of the 5th century B.C. temple are a few blocks reused in the later one. It is believed that musical and theatrical performances took place in the Agora until the 5th century B.C. when supposedly the ikria (bleachers) there collapsed. According to Travlos, the 5th century B.C. theater was simple and consisted of a small number of stone and wooden benches on the hillside and a small semi-circular terrace as the orchestra. Lykourgos is thought to be responsible for the 4th century B.C. form of the theater, which is the general form of the theater today (although there have been later alterations and additions). A peribolos wall was added to the sanctuary in the 4th century B.C.

Other Bibliography:

Travlos 1971, 537-539

See Also: Athens, Doric Stoa near Theater of DionysosAthens, Earlier Temple of DionysosAthens,Later Temple of DionysosAthens,Sanctuary of Dionysos Eleuthereus