Encyclopedia Ichnographica

Theatrum Pompeii


Theatrum Pompeii

Theatre of Pompeius. This, the first permanent theatre in Rome, was built by Cn. Pompeius in 55 B.C., and from its construction was frequently called theatrum lapideum or marmoreum. The results of excavations at various periods, compared with the outlines of the theatre on the Marble Plan, enable us to determine its location with accuracy, just northwest of the circus Flaminius. Some remains of walls of travertine and opus reticulatum still exist beneath the modern houses. The faqade of the semicircular cavea resembled that of the theatre of Marcellus, consisting of three series of arcades, the lowest adorned with half-columns of the Doric order; the second of Ionic, and the third of Corinthian. The whole building was magnificently embellished with stucco and marble. It was always the most important theater in the city, as well as the largest, seating, according to the most careful estimates, about ten thousand spectators. Even after the erection of all the wonderful structures of the empire, it was regarded in the fourth century as inter decora urbis aeternae.

In order to avoid censure for having built a permanent theater, Pompeius is said to have erected a temple to Venus Victrix at the top of the central part of the cavea, so that the rows of seats might appear to be the steps leading up to the temple, and to have dedicated the whole as a temple and not as a theatre. From a notice in one of the calendars, it appears that there were at least three other temples, dedicated to Honor, Virtue, and Felicitas, similarly placed within the theatre.

Augustus restored this theatre in 32 B.C.; and it was afterward frequently injured by fire, but always rebuilt, -- by Tiberius, Caligula, and Claudius, by Titus and Doiiiitian, by Septimius Severus, by Diocletian, and by Honorius and Arcadius. (Platner)

Vincenzo Fasolo, "The Campo Marzio of G. B. Piranesi".

Honorius, Flavius

. . . in 395/402 Arcadius and Honorius restored the theatre of Pompey, and in 398/9 Honorius repaired one of the Anio aqueducts with money captured in the campaign against Gildo.

Pagan - Christian - Triumphal Way
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