Thorikos: The Oldest Known Theater

Thorikos: The Oldest Known Theater

Thorikos, the oldest known theatre still standing proudly, is located just north of the ancient mining town of Lavrio and east of Athens, Greece.

Dating back to the end of the Archaic era, between 525 and 480 B.C., this historical site boasts twenty-one rows of seats, providing an impressive seating capacity of four thousand people when it was originally constructed.

The Archaic Age was the era when major Greek political innovations took place. Of these, the most important was the creation of the polis (plural: poleis), a political unit centred on a city and including the surrounding lands. The English word “political” derives from “polis” – the polis was the centre of Greek politics in each city-state, and Greek innovations in the realm of political theory would have an enormous historical legacy.

While the theatre was not exclusively designed for theatrical performances, it also served as a venue for meetings of the citizens of Thorikos. This settlement has a rich history, being inhabited since the Neolithic Age. Today, the enduring structure stands as a testament to this remarkable site's ancient heritage and multifaceted uses.


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