Context: Miletus
Type: Stadium
Summary: A rectangular stadium, without curved ends, located in the west of the peninsula of Miletus, to the south of the Harbor by the Theater.
Date: ca. 166 BC

The arena of the stadium is 29.56 m. wide, equalling 100 Ionic feet. In length, it was ca. 192.27 m. (greater than the required 600 Greek feet, which would have resulted in a stadium 177 m. in length). The twenty rows of seats at the northern row attained a height between 8 and 9 m. The Hellenistic propylon at the west end of the stadium was 8.94 m. (or 30 Ionic feet). The supporting wall of the stadium was 4.37 m. thick, equal to the thickness of the city walls of Miletus.

Region: Ionia
Period: Hellenistic

Architectural Order:

Ionic. The propylon at the west end of the stadium employs Ionic columns.


The stadium conforms to the grid of the city plan of Miletus, and is oriented east-west. The stadium consists of two rectangular blocks of seats which flank the central arena or running track. At the west is a distyle in antis propylon of Ionic order, on seven steps, built on axis with the stadium and linking it to an unexcavated building; at the east, a monumental double colonnade of eight monolithic Corinthian columns dates to the late Roman period.

Date Description:

A building inscription from the south anta of the propylon at the west of the stadium refers to Eumenes II, and dates to post-166 B.C. The construction technique of various elements of the stadium is also analogous with the contemporary Bouleuterion at Miletus. The form of the profiles of the seats also confirm this date. Later periods of restoration are dated by their construction techniques, e.g. use of mortar, form of acanthus decoration, employment of reused blocks.


The stadium was constructed during the reign of Eumenes II, in the first half of the second century B.C. The unexcavated building to the west of the stadium is a gymnasium, tentatively named the Gymnasium of Eumenes II, connected to the stadium by a propylon; thus the stadium, propylon and gymnasium originally constituted a building complex dating to ca. 160 B.C. In the first century B.C., the northern parodos wall of the stadium was renovated, and at this time a second series of starting blocks was laid down at the east and west ends of the arena. In the Trajanic or Antonine period, the gymnasium at the west end of the stadium was restored, as was the propylon, and there were further renovations at the east end of the stadium, notably the staircase leading up to the rows of seats. In the third century A.D. a monumental double-colonnaded gateway with Corinthian columns was built across the east end of the stadium. In the sixth century A.D. the new fortifications of Miletus incorporated the stadium into their circuit.

Other Notes:

The fact that the stadium conforms to the grid plan of Miletus has led some scholars to conclude that when the city was newly laid out in ca. 479 B.C., space was already allocated for the stadium. The fact that the stadium was not constructed until the second century B.C., however, is clear from its building inscription, architectural details, and relationship to the gymnasium to the west. The stadium lacks the curved ends or sphendone typical of stadia of the Roman period, and is similar to the groundplans of the stadia at Olympia, Epidauros and Priene. Another similarity between the stadium at Miletus and the Stadium at Priene is the form and arrangement of the starting blocks or *A*F*E*S*I*S, although their exact mechanism remains unclear.

Other Bibliography:

von Gerkan 1921a, 1-41, figs. 1-47, pls. 1-10; Kleiner 1968, 110-113, figs. 81-83.