Theater re-opens after 1700 years in Greece

I am not sure if the re-opening of the ancient theatre of Messene is connected to the economic crisis in Greece or not. Either way, it is a fact that cannot be ignored. As part of the Greek Festival the opening night will be the 3rd of August 2013. In the first instance 2500 people will be able to attend, although after its full restoration it will host more than 5000 people. The restorations will continue over the summer with the help of funds from Niarchos foundation and the European Union. Famous Greek opera artists will perform on the night.

It would be worth giving a few information on the ancient theatre itself. It is located in the northwestern part of the archaeological site of ancient Messene. It was in continuous operation from ca. 300 BC to 300 AD. Later, the byzantine inhabitants of the area dismantled large parts of it and used the marbles as part of new constructions (temples and houses). The theatre did not host only ancient performances. It became also the famous scene of political meetings. For example, the king of Macedonia Philip V and the Aratos of Sikyon met there in 214 BC, a day after the magistrates of the city have been slaughtered. Also, according to Livy many of the inhabitants gathered there demanding to see the famous general of the Achaean League, Philopoimen the Megalopolitan, whom the Messenians captured in 183 BC.

Source: Naftemporiki

Economic historian and numismatic consultant

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