Theatre of Dionysus

The theatre of Dionysos Eleuthereus was built in the 6th century BCE and is seen on the hill of the Acropolis in Athens. Modified and expanded over the centuries, it is the oldest Greek theatre and is the site where some of the most famous Greek plays from antiquity were first performed.

In the 4th century BCE, the theatre reached its full extent, holding upto 17,000 people. It continued to flourish in the Roman era but fell into decline in the Byzantine era and thereafter. It was excavated and then resorted to its current condition in the 19th century.

The theatre was part of a wider sanctuary dedicated to Dionysos Eleuthereus, Greek god of wine, merriment, and theatre. Greek comedies and tragedies were performed, which included singing, wine drinking, animal sacrifices, and the wearing of masks.

The climax of the celebrations was the Great Dionysia held each year in March/April, where the most famous playwrights such as Euripides, Sophocles, and Aristophanes presented their plays in competition.


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