Theatre of Philippi
© Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
The theatre of Philippi is considered as one of the largest theatres in the Hellenistic Period (323 – 30 BC) and is comparable to similar theatres at Ephesus, Delos and Magnesia.
Both the oldest building of the theatre and the walls were constructed at the same period under the reign of Philip II of Macedon (386 – 336 BC). The remains of these structures include the circular orchestra and the retaining walls of the parodoi built in the Hippodamian system.
In Roman times, the theatre underwent various modifications in order to satisfy the special necessities arisen as a result of the population growth and the different spectacles that began to accommodate. The first rows of seats were removed and new rows were added on the upper section of the cavea. The orchestra was converted into an arena for the Roman wild beast fights; parapets were placed in front of the cavea to keep the audience safe from the wild beasts. The parodoi were roofed with vaults and a new stage was built with a double colonnade and niches for statues.
The proskenion was removed in the mid- 3rd century AD and a subterranean passage was constructed providing access for the beasts to the centre of the orchestra.
According to the excavation finds, the theatre of Philippi operated until the prevalence of the new religion, when it was finally abandoned.