Assessment of the Relations Between Ancient Theatres, Landscape and Society

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Third International Conference Science and Technology in Archeology and Conservation. 7-11 December 2004, Hashemite University, Jordan. acta Fundación El legado andalusì, Spain. pp. 263-280

Assessment of the Relations between Ancient Theatres, Landscape and Society Naif Haddad Dept. of Conservation Science, Queen Rania‟s Institute of Tourism and Heritage, the Hashemite University, Zarqa 13115, Jordan, E-mail: naifh@hu.edu.jo

ABSTRACT

The theater is a specialized category of buildings designed for public assembly and performance and have been used for many purposes. As ancient cultural landmarks, they form a heritage encompassing not only the monuments of Greco-Roman times but also the history of the alterations made to them, the successive uses to which they were put and the cultural and artistic traditions associated with them. Greek, Hellenistic, and Roman theatres were influenced by a multitude of geographic, climatic, political, economic, social, cultural and technological factors. Every city had to have its public entertainments, so a theatre, later on an amphitheatre was an important part of the original planning and later expansion of Roman city. In order to evaluate the relation of the theatre contribution to natural landscape, urban landscape and urban planning, this paper will discuss and analyze the relationship between the theatre and landscape, their interaction to other public buildings and spaces in the Greek, Hellenistic and Roman period, with reference to their location, orientation, their architectural formation ,acoustic qualities, and construction methods. 1.

Introduction

The ancient theatres are the only monuments of the classical antiquity that still - in some cases - serving the purpose for which they were originally designed as place of performance. Many aspects of ancient Greek theaters have long been studied and debated. Our knowledge of ancient theater comes not only from the work of philologists and literary critics but from the study of architecture, acoustics and the findings of archaeologists. Much of the information about these theaters is based on speculation due to the fact that so many of them still exist today and in good condition. Meanwhile there is a lack of remnants especially in the architecture of the early Greek Theater. Theatres went through a gradual but radical change. It was not until the early 6th century B.C., that the Greek theatre had a separate architectural space in the city for its performance. From the late 6th century B.C. to the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C., there was a gradual evolution towards more elaborate theatre structures, but the basic layout of the Greek theatre remained the same. Initially, both Greek and Roman theaters were improvised outdoor affairs constructed of timber that over time became formalized as architecture and were constructed of stone and brick masonry. A smaller but still more specialized type of theater building identified by the generic Latin term theatrum tectum (roofed theater) was being developed concurrently with the larger out door theaters. 2. Assessment of the Relation between Ancient Theatres and Society Ancient theatre is not only a place in which took dramatic productions, but also a

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Third International Conference Science and Technology in Archeology and Conservation. 7-11 December 2004, Hashemite University, Jordan. acta Fundación El legado andalusì, Spain. pp. 263-280

huge multi-functional, social, religious, and political meeting space1. It is fact that in every historical epoch, all theatres, both out door and roofed, have been used for many purposes, therefore, theatres are categorized technologically as being either multi purposes or multiple-use. Izenour (1992) define these theaters use by:1- Multi purpose theatre: a multipurpose theater is defined as a facility for public assembly incorporation wide latitude of design flexibility intended to accommodate a variety of public events as disparate as...
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