Odeon of Ephesus (Small Theatre)

The Odeon of Ephesus Ancient City is situated at the entrance of the upper gate, next to prytanaeum and opposite the Agora. Its back side leans against the slopes of mount Pion. That this monument having the outlook of a small theater was built in a place so close to the city palace and agora brings to one’s mind that it served as the city’s place of assembly, rather than a theatre.

Odeon of Ephesus
Odeon of Ephesus

The Odeion resembles a small theatre. So, it is also known as the Small Theatre of Ephesus. According to an inscription unearthed by archaeologists of Ephesus, initially, It was built as a bouleuterion which means council chamber, around the middle of the 2nd century A.D. by Publius Vedius Antonius and his wife Flavia Papiana. They were members of a noble family of Ephesus.

Plan of Ephesus Odeon
Plan of an Odeon

Main Sections of Ephesus Odeon

Built on the slopes of Panayir Dagi, the Odeon consists of three main sections just like other theatres These sections are: the cavea (auditorium). the orchestra (semi-circular action place for actors) and the skene (the stage building). The orchestra is semicircular. The fact that there are no gutters for rainwater in the center of the orchestra indicates that the Odeion was roofed. The marble seats exhibit quality craftsmanship.

Ephesus Odeon
Ephesus Odeon

The Odeion seated approximately 1,400 and had 22 stairs conforming to the shape of the theatre as seen in the picture. Spectators entered either through the paradoses (side entrances between the stage and auditorium) or through the galleries which were reached by the vaulted roofed staircases at the entrance of the paradoses. The building was used as an odeon during concerts and performances, and as a bouleuterion at boule meetings.


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