THEATRE OF MARCELLUS
🎭 The Theatre of Marcellus in Rome, with a total capacity of 20,000 people, is an ancient stone building erected between 13 and 11 B.C. It is one of the few surviving theatres from ancient Roman times. The horseshoe-shaped building is a precursor of the Colosseum and the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford.
🎭 The construction began in 44 B.C. under Julius Caesar in the Field of Mars but was not completed due to the death of the Emperor. Augustus took over to continue the work. According to his idea, the theatre consisted of 3 tiers of marble steps with 41 arches and 42 semi-columns. The lower tier had Doric columns, the second tier Ionic and the top attic probably carried Corinthian pilasters. Only 2 lower tiers have survived to this day.
🎭 The diameter of the amphitheatre was 130 m, the length of the stage was 90 m and the thickness of the foundation was 6.30 m. The theatre’s arches contained warehouses and small shops. Opposite the spectator rows there was a room for props. In 64 AD the Theatre of Marcellus was significantly damaged in a fire. In the 4th century, it was no longer used for its intended purpose.
🎭 The building was gradually dismantled and the material from the theatre was used in other building projects, in particular, the bridge of Cestius. In the 16th century, the restored ruins of the theatre were used as a Savelli palace. Further alterations were made in 18th cent by the Orsini family and the building, which still includes two tiers of 12 original arches, is now known as the Palazzo Orsini. So, the city of Rome owns the bottom, but along the top you can see a few apartments. A tiny one reportedly sold for $10 million a few years ago.
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