◄ Theatre of Marcellus, Rome [HD] ►

Welcome to the Theatre of Marcellus. This
theatre is one of the greatest and oldest examples of an entertainment venue from ancient
Rome. The history of this open-air theatre dates
back to the closing years of the Roman Republic. The planning for a new, massive theatre began
in mid 1st century BC, under Julius Caesar. At that time of its construction, the largest
theatre was the Theatre of Pompey — dedicated to a rival of Caesar. After Julius Caesar
defeated Pompey’s army during the struggle for control over Rome, he wanted to build
a theater as impressive as the one of his rival. He annexed a large area and demolished
several existing buildings, including two roman temples, in order to clear the ground
for the theatre. However, Caesar never got to see his theatre completed, as he was assassinated
shortly was the construction started. As a result of his death, the whole project was
put on hold. The project was restarted more than 20 years
later, during the reign of Emperor Augustus. The man who said he found Rome in clay and
left it in marble now turned his attention to the theatre. The construction of the massive
structure went very fast. The theatre was so far advanced that the first shows could
be held just a few years after Augustus took charge. It was completed in 13 BC and formally
inaugurated in 12 BC by Augustus himself. The theatre is named after Marcus Marcellus,
Emperor Augustus’s nephew and designated successor. Marcellus died prematurely at a young age,
five years before the completion of the theatre, in which Augustus dedicated it to his honor. When completed, the Theatre of Marcellus was
the largest theatre in Rome. It was an impressive 111 m in diameter and could hold more than
10.000 spectators. Just like many other Roman theaters in suitable locations, it had openings
through which the natural setting could be seen.
The theatre was built mainly of tuff and concrete faced with stones. The outer parts of the
theatre were covered in white travertine. The building originally consisted of three
levels supported by columns. Each one of the levels had a different architectural style.
The lower levels had arches supported by columns in the Doric Order, while the upper consisted
of Ionic columns. Only the two lover levels are still standing today.
The theatre was used for more than 400 year, undergoing several restorations during its
lifetime. It offered several theatrical productions to the general public, especially during election
campaigns. Like many other entertainment facilities, the theatre proved to be an exceptional propaganda
tool. After its abandonment, the lower levels became
buried under debris and vegetation. The building was, just like many other ancient buildings,
used as a quarry for materials during the Middle Age. As you can see today, the ancient
theatre is left in a ruinous state. However, the building was not only used as
a quarry, but also as a fortress as it was strategically located near the river. Over
the years, it was owned by various Roman families, who expanded the building with living quarters
at the top. As the theatre has undergone several modifications
over its history, not much is left of what once was Rome’s largest theatre. However,
it is also a striking example of different eras merged into one building. You can see
the high arches of the ancient theatre, the medieval fortified walls and the more elegant
additions of the private living quarters. Today, the upper portion of the theatre still
serves as apartments.


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *