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Italian Theatres


By Hugh Denard



Date Visited: 13 Nov 1999

Karina's Documentation

Plan from Teatri Greci e Romani

Post-dates TP (early Augustan?)  Coarelli suggests a date of about 40 BC.  (Karina writes: For early date and comparison with the Theatre of Pompey in Rome, as well as to other theatres, see: F. Coarelli Varrone e il teatro di Casinum in KTEMA Civilisations de L'Orient, de la Grece et de Rome Antiques No.17, 1992, p.87 ff.)
2nd phase of scaena frons, including fossa and 'pole-holes,'by Ummidia Quadratilla early 2nd century A.D. (d.108AD, based on inscription, and an account by Pliny).
More detailed information on scaenae frons to come from on-location archaeologist, Sacco Dante.

Porticus post scaenam = c. same depth & width as from front of stage to rear of scaena frons, or longer.

Modern quasi-opus incertum restoration of cavea seating - i.e. not authentic.

Cryptogalleria summa cavea, and open porticus (and sacellum facade?) above.

Opus reticolatum on interior of cryptogalleria and exterior of cavea.

Various entrances into cavea from cryptogalleria.

Various entrances from behind cavea into cavea, including ramp-based access, including possible entrance under possible sacellum at 'apex' of cavea.

Possible sacellum at 'apex' of cavea, possibly raised above porticus summa cavea.

Fragments of various statues from theatre, including possible Varro, now in Naples, and possible Augustan family.

Sacco Dante
Receive photocopies of materials, cc. of archival photos, and hypotheses re. scaenarum frontes (his speciality) in return for use of images of our model.
SD will try to find original reconstructions also (by SD's uncle).
(Karina writes: In the meantime, I have got the material from Dante, but I think we already got the photos we wanted when were were there.  I send it on with the other material still needed to be photocopied.)
Warning: Reconstruction by SD's uncle shows a very TP-like sacellum facade summa porticus, BUT this reconstruction may itself be based on TP, so check archaeological data before using as evidence of TP's influence.


Notes from Teatri Greci e Romani

Regio I, Latium et Campania


Roman theatre.  Urban, close to the amphitheatre (about 150 m. away).  It is built beyond the line of the walls on the eastern side.  Facing south-west.

The building dates to the Augustan period.  Restorations were carried out in the following century (possibly by Ummidia Quadratilla).

The theatre rests on a natural slope.  The cavea is divided into two maeniana by a corridor.  Each maenianum is split up by flights of steps into four cunei.  The upper maenianum was crowned by a gellery in summa cavea decorated with Corinthian semicolumns.  The cavea was separated from the orchestra by a marble balustrade.  Access to the orchestra was through lateral corridors covered by vaults.  The scaena is preserved at foundation level.  Three doors opened onto the rear wall.  Only the central door could be seen from the cavea.  The two lateral ones were probably used as utility doors.  The pulpitum was decorated with a series of plastered rectangular and semi circular niches.  Behind the frons pulpiti, a narrow corridor was created to control the aulaeum, which was supported by wooden scaffolding housed in small square (preserved) openings in the floor.  The hoisting apparatus was however located in a room at the north-western end of the corridor used to control the aulaeum.

The structures are faced in limestone opus reticolatum, which in certain points is multicoloured (light limestone cubilia alternating with dark tufa cubilia).  The toothing is partly in small limestone blocks and partly in opus latericium.

Following the construction of the theatre, a tank was put up in the north-western corner of an ambulatory perpendicular to the western parodos.  The tank may have been used to feed water to a fountain, but it was in any case used to collect rainwater exploiting a system of canals.

State of preservation:
the theatre underwent restoration in 1936 (when it was freed from overlying modern structures), and more recently, when the tiers of steps were reconstructed.

diameter of the cavea: 54 m.

Original capacity:
about 2,000 seats.

Current utilisation of the theatre:
it is used for theatrical performances.

Current capacity:
about 2,000 seats.

G. ROFNI 1970, s.v. Teatro
G.F.CARETTONI, Casinum, Roma 1938, p.83 ss.
FABBRINI (?) (illeg. from our photocopy) . . . Centro Studi Internazionalie G. Ermini, Ferentino-Cassino, 1991, in corso di stampa.
M.FUCHS 1987, p.22 22.
C.COURTOIS 1989, pp.115-118:215-216.


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