Plan of Stadium, Priene

View toward SW and down on Lower Gymnasium and Stadium (stadium starting b...

Context: Priene
Type: Stadium
Summary: Stadium with seating and colonnade along north; located directly inside the south wall of the city, adjacent to the lower gymnasium.
Date: ca. 130 BC - ca. 120 BC

Length of track ca. 191 m.; width of track ca. 20 m. Depth of Doric colonnade 7.80 m. Intercolumniation of Doric colonnade 2.32 m.

Region: Ionia
Period: Hellenistic

Architectural Order:

Corinthian and Doric. The starting gates in the west were decorated with ten Corinthian pilasters. The colonnade above the stadium in the north was of the Doric order.


Running track which was square at both ends (not U-shaped), with starting gates in west; spectators' seats in north only (due to slope of land); above the seats, a flat terrace with Doric colonnade behind.

Date Description:

Contemporaneity with adjacent lower gymnasium; form of Doric entablature in northern portico; style of marble lions' head waterspouts on Doric portico. Location: not incorporated into earlier city plan.


The stadium was probably constructed at the same date as the adjacent gymnasium to the west, in ca. 130 B.C. The present building may have replaced an earlier structure. Evidence of restoration at a later date is provided by the construction of an elaborate starting gate with engaged Corinthian pilasters, directly behind the simpler marble starting blocks of the Hellenistic period. Also at a later date a 0.50 m. thick mortar wall was erected in front of the first row of seats.

Other Notes:

It is still unclear exactly how the starting gates of the stadium functioned, and whether or not there was a mechanical device to ensure that the runners started together. No trace has been found of a turning post in the eastern end of the stadium. A 3.50 m. wide staircase led down to the level of the running track from the terrace above, in the west near the doorway to the gymnasium. At the lower level are the foundations of a marble altar.

Other Bibliography:

Wiegand & Schrader 1904, 259-265, figs. 261-270; Schede 1964, 86-87; Dinsmoor 1975, 250, 263, 320.