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Greek archaeologists discover theater

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    Posted: 16-Feb-2007 at 13:02

Feb. 15, 2007, 7:28PM

ATHENS, Greece Sections of an ancient Greek theater were discovered on Thursday during construction work in an Athens suburb, archaeologists said.

Until now, only two such buildings were known in the ancient city where western theater originated more than 2,500 years ago.

Menidi is thought to be built over the ancient village of Acharnae, the largest of a string of rural settlements outside ancient Athens. Ancient writers mention a theater at Acharnae, but no traces of it had been found until now.

The village was linked with Dionysos, the ancient god of theater and wine, as the Athenians believed that ivy his sacred plant first grew there.

Built in semicircular tiers on hillsides, ancient theaters were monumental, open-air structures that could seat thousands of spectators.

Theater first emerged as an art form in late 6th century B.C. Athens, where ancient playwrights competed for a prize during the annual festival of Dionysos in whose cult the art originated.

The works of Sophocles, Aeschylus, Euripides and Aristophanes were performed in the theater of Dionysos under the Acropolis.

 
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