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The Construction and History of the Theatre

 

As Epidaurus developed, various athletic and artistic contests, including theatrical ones, were added to the worship of god Asklepios, through which systematic medical care was developed in antiquity. These contests at the Sanctuary (held in the theatre, the stadium and elsewhere) formed an integral part of the activities conducted in honour of the god of medicine. Unlike other theatres of the Classical and Hellenistic periods, the theatre at Epidaurus was not modified during Roman times, and thus retained its original form throughout antiquity. The prevailing view among experts is that the theatre was built in two distinct phases. The first dates to the 4th century BC, a period of significant construction activity at the Sanctuary. The second corresponds to the mid-2nd century BC. The original layout of the Epidaurus Theatre stage shows that it was intended for the performance of dramatic works at the level of the orchestra. During the second phase, actors would have performed on a raised proscenium, leaving the orchestra for the chorus.