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Italian Theatres


By Hugh Denard




Date visited: 12 Nov 1999

Karina's Documentation [DOC]

Date: beginning of 1st century B.C.

20 miles from Praeneste and built in same period. Post Casino.
Temple-Theatre complex. Both temple and theatre surrounded on three sides by 2-level porticus, with underground road.

Plan of remains of theatre, temple and porticus segment, from Teatri Greci e Romani
(BMP File)

Plan of remains of theatre, temple and porticus, from Teatri Greci e Romani
(BMP File)

Grand staircases leading up to orchestra and summa cavea levels, so cavea does not double as stairs to temple.

View WSW from theatre level down hillside.

Preservation concrete now covers entire cavea, orchestra and structure below scaena.
Extensive vaulted structure under stage, scaenae frons and post-scaenam.  (According to Teatri Greci e Romani, only temporary scaenae frons built here.)

Various views of cavea.

According to existing plans, only outer/upper half of parodoi were covered, so no interruption of sightlines.

Fragments of cavea rear supporting wall (opus quasi reticolatum) and radial wall visible.
No evidence of porticus post scaenam (that function is fulfilled by porticus embracing both temple and theatre).

View of cavea rear wall; part of radial wall visible (bottom).

Karina comments: Temple / position within porticus, probably built on spot for oracle - might have been a sacred grove too.
From within porticus, fragment of outer wall (possibly) visible, but that's all.
Temple is more or less at same altitude as villa on neighbouring hillside.  (cf. relation between TP and Capitol).

View NW from behind porticus across valley to villa.

On lower level (more or less on orchestra-level) includes vast chambers with windows onto valley to north-west.

Views SE from villa on neighbouring hill towards porticus-temple-theatre complex.
Views ENE of outer walls of NW porticus from half-way up approach hill.

Travertine arches supporting opus quasi reticolatum walls and ceiling.

Lower level of NW porticus: interiors.

First storey of upper levels (2 orders) is on same level as temple.

Views of part of ENE porticus facade and interior.
Architectural fragments to SSE of ENE porticus.
Various fragments & inscriptions currently within later buildings on site of temple.

Significance to TP
Unified theatre, temple, porticus structure.
Shared orientation of temple and theatre, and position of temple vis-a-vis theatre.
Entire complex is part of cult (cf. cult of Pompey's Venus Veneris)
Theatre in Tivoli built into hillside, not exaggeratum.
Porticus summa cavea is also porticus/temenos boundary for temple, and/or vice versa.  Architectural, aesthetic, and symbolic/religious unity.  (Unified conceptually and in function.)

(Question: Status of theatre/performance vis-a-vis status of temple/religion?  What does it 'mean' to unify the two symbolically?)

Notes from Teatri Greci e Romani

Regio I, Latium et Campania

Theatre cavea.  Extraurban, it belongs to the sanctuary named after Hercules Victor.  Facing west-south-west.

It dates to the 1st century B.C.

The cavea occupies the south-western side of a vast sacred area.  In the north-eastern part there is the temple named afer Hercules Victor.  The semicircular tier of steps can be clearly seen in old drawings, like those of Ligorio and Thierry.  There was no constructed stage building, but the scaena was assembled each time.  The area on which it was built was a kind of gallery supported by a series of vaulted rooms.  The walls are built in opus incertum.  A porticus post scaenam is mentioned in an inscription (CIL I(2) 1492).

State of preservation:
buried until 1985, there are traces of the first tier of steps and some of the passages beneath the cunei.

diameter of the cave: 65 m.
diameter of the orchestra: 15 m.
width of the scaena: 10 m.
depth of the scaena: 6.5 m.
height of the scaena: 1 m.

J.A.HANSON, Roman theater-temples, Princeton 1959, pp.31-32.
C.F.GIULIANA, Tibur I, Roma 1970, p.195.

Tibur, santuario di Ercole Vincitore: recostruzione assonometrica [Source, Karina?]
(BMP File)

[Source, Karina?]
(BMP File)



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