Monuments of Aphrodisias

The Theater

The Theater is unusually well preserved. The entire lower half of the auditorium survives intact, including twenty-seven tiers of seats, together with much of the stage architecture. The auditorium was built up against a prehistoric settlement mound in the Late Hellenistic period, and an elaborate three-storied marble stage building (one of the oldest in Asia Minor) was added by C. Julius Zoilos before 28 B.C. The architecture of this new facade is notable for its light and playful aedicular design and for its rich and highly varied ornament.

Much of the fine statuary that decorated this structure was found during excavations in the 1970s, including figures of Apollo, two Muses, Demos, two boxers, several Victories, and a copy of the Polykleitan 'Diskophoros.' In the first century A.D., the auditorium of the Theater was enlarged and supplied throughout with marble seating, and gladiator competitions and wild animal fights were often presented. On the north wall of the Theater is a large collection of important inscriptions, and it has been coined the Archive Wall. Many of the most important events in the city were recorded there, as well as the rights and laws of its residents.

There is also a second baths complex to the east of the theater, with a square courtyard known as the Tetrastoon. This courtyard was surrounded on all sides by columns, and led into a long basilical hall which was decorated with many beautiful sculptures from Aphrodisias’ famed sculptors’ workshop. The baths themselves were located on the west side of this long hall.

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