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Chroniques des travaux archéologiques en Turquie 2019

Preliminary Report on the Theatre of Smyrna / Izmir and the Excavations (2014-2019)

Akın Ersoy, Sarp Alatepeli et Gözde Şakar
p. 283-298

Résumés

Le théâtre de Smyrne dont la présence dans la mémoire de la ville d’Izmir remonte au 17e siècle, commence à apparaître après la démolition des maisons modernes qui ont été construites dans cette zone depuis le 19e siècle. Les fouilles effectuées au cours des 5 dernières années ont révélé la partie est du cavea et quelques ajouts du bâtiment de la scène. Les fouilles archéologiques réalisées dans le bâtiment de la scène ont montré que de nombreux fragments de sculptures et de blocs architecturaux avec des frises de masques, qui fournissent des informations sur la façade du bâtiment au 2e siècle après J.-C., ont été préservés. Les recherches ont également mis au jour de différentes découvertes épigraphiques qui éclairent la vie urbaine. Les fouilles ont montré que certaines parties de l’ima cavea et du diazoma ont été conservées, tandis que de nombreuses figurines et céramiques ont également été trouvées, ce qui donne une idée des structures possibles autour du théâtre.

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Texte intégral

1Remains of many monumental buildings have been found during the excavations carried out in the last ten years in the ancient city of Smyrna, which was built after Alexander the Great. One of these structures is the Theatre of Smyrna. The ancient city of Smyrna was built on the slopes and plains between the Acropolis Hill (Kadifekale) and the port (Kemeraltı), and the Agora of Smyrna was located at the centre of the ancient city. The theatre, on the other hand, was built on the slope between the Agora and Acropolis Hill and is considered to have an orientation compatible with the regular urban plan (Ersoy, 2015, p. 55). Strabo (Geography, 14.1.37), one of the first to describe Smyrna, defined the city as “part of it is on the hill and surrounded by a wall, but most of it is near the port, Metroon, and Gymnasion on the plain”, but he did not mention the theatre nor the Agora. The location of the theatre is in a position to dominate the city and the Izmir Bay.

2In addition to the Agora of Smyrna, the excavations carried out in the last 5 years have also focused on the works in the Theatre of Smyrna and thus, the theatre started to be unearthed 1500 years later. Excavations conducted in the theatre are concentrated on the eastern part of the cavea and the stage building (skēnē).

The Known History of the Theatre of Smyrna

3The first information about the Theatre of Smyrna comes from Vitruvius’ De Architectura. Vitruvius (5.9.1) notes that there is a portico of the Temple of Venus / Aphrodite Stratonikis or an independent portico called Stratonikeion right behind / near the skēnē (stage) building of the Theatre of Smyrna. Vitruvius praises Smyrna as being one of the cities having good architects by honouring the presence of the portico around the theatre. It is known that the cult of Aphrodite Stratonikis, which identified the goddess Aphrodite with Stratonike, the mother of Antiochus II, was respected in Smyrna during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

4Today, there is lack of archaeological evidence for the existence of a temple or portico called Stratonikeion, that is adjacent to / across the stage building (skēnē) of the Theatre of Smyrna. Since the existence of the Aphrodite Stratonikis worship is attested from the middle of the 3rd century BC, it can be estimated that the area where the theatre was located, also hosted events since that time. However, it is difficult to determine the dimensions of the theatre in its first phase and to estimate whether it was a simple building consisting of a simple stage building and wooden seats. If the structure referred to by Vitruvius as Stratonikeion was only a portico, then it should be a one- or two-story but rather long-planned Hellenistic Stoa such as the ones we see in Pergamon or in Aigai.

5Regarding the early history of the Theatre of Smyrna, an anecdote is remarkable: African conqueror, Roman general, and Senator Q. Caecilius Metellus Numidicus was exiled to Rhodes after he was dismissed from the senatorship in 100 BC when he opposed the agricultural policies of Rome. When the senator was recalled the following year, the messengers found him watching a performance at the Theatre of Smyrna, however he did not open the letter which declared his amnesty until the end of the performance (Cadoux, 1938, p. 154). If this information is correct, the Theatre of Smyrna was open to events around 100 BC, which is an indication of the presence of the theatre at the latest on this date.

6It is generally accepted that the Theatre of Smyrna was repaired at the beginning of the Roman Imperial Period possibly after an earthquake during the reign of Emperor Claudius, but it took its final form with repairs, reinforcements, and additions after the great earthquake of 177/178 (Cadoux, 1938, pp. 179, 281-282).

7The Theatre of Smyrna hosted many pagan events during the Roman Period. As we learn from Christian sources, once Jesus was also prayed in the theatre: according to the “Life of Polycarp” attributed to Pionius, during the drought at the time of Antoninus Pius, the magistrates held a People’s Assembly meeting at the Theatre of Smyrna, and they asked the city’s influential cleric and first religious martyr Saint Polycarp to pray to his god (Jesus). He said that if this famine was the fate of God, it would not be possible to end it, but he still agreed to pray with his community. According to the source, it rained after the collective prayers (Cadoux, 1938, p. 351).

Fig. 1: The vomitorium entrance of the Smyrna Theatre in the Ottoman Period and the remains of the analemma wall, with the view of Kadifekale in the background

Fig. 1: The vomitorium entrance of the Smyrna Theatre in the Ottoman Period and the remains of the analemma wall, with the view of Kadifekale in the background

Smyrna Excavations Archive

8Detailed information about the presence and description of the Theatre of Smyrna is based on the notes of travellers and researchers who came to the city since the 17th century (Fig. 1). One of the earliest notes on the theatre complex belongs to Jean Baptiste Tavernier. According to him, the theatre in Smyrna was built in a semi-circular shape and the side facing the sea was left open (Pınar, 2001, p. 5). According to Moncony, who saw the structure in the 17th century, the theatre was in the shape of a semicircle of 314 steps and had twenty-four rows of stairs (Walter & Berg, 1922, p. 6). Tournefort, who came to İzmir at the beginning of the 18th century, mentions that all the stones of the theatre were dismantled and used in building bazaars and caravanserais (Pınar, 2001, p. 50). Another traveller, Otto Friedrichs von Richter, in a short comment on the theatre at the beginning of the 19th century; mentions the presence of an arch and a high wall (von Richter, 1822, p. 500). Count Louis Auguste Forbin, who had the possibility of making observations in Smyrna in 1817, states that the stage building of the theatre (proskene) was still visible in his time (Pınar, 2001, p. 118). Charles Texier remarked in 1836 that the two parts holding the stairs and the halls are the last remaining elements of the magnificent structure (Texier, 2002, p. 141). According to Sir Charles Wilson in the second half of the 19th century, constructions were made on the proskene and orchestra, and nothing more than a natural hollow remained from the cavea (Wilson, 1895, p. 73) (Fig. 4).

Fig. 4: The theatre area in a photograph from the beginning of the 20th century

Fig. 4: The theatre area in a photograph from the beginning of the 20th century

Smyrna Excavations Archive

  • 1 “Roman Theatre in Izmir”.

9However, above all, the most detailed observations and notes about the Theatre of Smyrna belong to Otto Berg and Otto Walter, who had the opportunity to work in the theatre between 1912 and 1913. The report prepared by them, translated into Turkish and published by “Asar-ı Atika Muhipleri Cemiyeti” (the Society of Lovers of Antiquities) in 1932 under the name “İzmir’de Roma Tiyatrosu”1 forms the basis of our technical knowledge about the theatre (Walter & Berg, 1922, p. 9). The archaeological data gathered with the observations made in the houses occupying the theatre area between 1917 and 1918, are also collected in this report. According to the works of Walter and Berg, the theatre had a three-story stage building and 152-meter-wide cavea, rising over 30 m above its semi-circular orchestra and divided into three parts by two diazomas. They stated that the seats were made of limestone and were measured as 0.43 m in height and 0.45 m in width. Modern researcher George E. Bean revealed the presence of a section of the cavea’s support wall (analemma) in the west, where he pointed to the existence of a vaulted passage (vomitorium) (Bean, 2001, p. 30).

10As a matter of fact, the information in F. Sear’s theatre catalogue is based on the work of these researchers (Sear, 2006, pp. 352-354). Sear points to a theatre that is similar to the Theatre of Ephesus in terms of its spectator capacity. The first modern drawings realised by S. Alatepeli, based on the drawings by Otto Walter and Otto Berg, and on descriptions by Moncony, attest to the accounts of Sear regarding the size of the theatre (Fig. 2, 3).

Fig. 2: Possible plan of the theatre based on the drawing by Walter and Berg

Fig. 2: Possible plan of the theatre based on the drawing by Walter and Berg

Drawing: Sarp Alatepeli - Smyrna Excavations Archive

Fig. 3: Possible architectural modelling of the Smyrna Theatre based on the description of Moncony

Fig. 3: Possible architectural modelling of the Smyrna Theatre based on the description of Moncony

Drawing: Sarp Alatepeli - Smyrna Excavations Archive

Fig. 5: The theatre area during the demolition of the modern buildings

Fig. 5: The theatre area during the demolition of the modern buildings

Smyrna Excavations Archive

Fig. 6: The stage building of the Smyrna Theatre after the demolition of the modern buildings

Fig. 6: The stage building of the Smyrna Theatre after the demolition of the modern buildings

Smyrna Excavations Archive

11Following the expropriation of the area in 2014, and later the demolition of the houses that occupied the theatre area since the 19th century (Fig. 5), the topographic curve of the theatre as well as a part of the analemma wall and the stage building became visible among the collapsed houses without the need for archaeological excavations (Fig. 6). From the appearance of lintels and arched door openings which provide the entrance to the ground floor, it was possible to understand that the stage building is preserved almost to the 1st floor level. After the archaeological excavations started in the stage building and the cavea in 2016, the seats were reached for the first time in 2018.

Excavations of the Cavea

  • 2 One of the units of length measurement in Antiquity is “foot”. The “foot” is equivalent to 29.5 cm (...)

12During the 2018 season, archaeological excavations have been conducted in the media and the ima cavea. With these excavations, some remains apart from the stage building, such as the diazoma separating the media and the ima cavea and the last five steps of a staircase leading to the diazoma, have been unearthed for the first time. The width of the stairs is 0.90 m, the step heights are 0.25 m, and the step depths are 0.30 m. The width of the diazoma, which is covered with preserved stone plaques in some areas, is measured within the range of approximately 1.75 / 80 m (Fig. 7). The diazoma is bordered on one side by cut limestone parapet blocks of the terrace wall carrying the steps of the media cavea, and by the backed seats that make up the last seating row of the ima cavea on the other side. Parapet blocks, preserved to the height of 1.05 m, rise above the moulding stylobate blocks. The last seating row of the ima cavea appears to be built for the purpose of a backrest, to break the sound coming from the stage in the diazoma, and to transmit it to the spectators sitting in the media cavea.2

Fig. 7: The remains of the diazoma uncovered between the ima and the media cavea; the stairs reaching the diazoma; and the seats with backrest

Fig. 7: The remains of the diazoma uncovered between the ima and the media cavea; the stairs reaching the diazoma; and the seats with backrest

Smyrna Excavations Archive

Fig. 8: 11 rows of the ima cavea and the staircase along the analemmata

Fig. 8: 11 rows of the ima cavea and the staircase along the analemmata

Smyrna Excavations Archive

Fig. 9: The theatre plan; the view of the stage building façade and the sections of the cavea

Fig. 9: The theatre plan; the view of the stage building façade and the sections of the cavea

Smyrna Excavations Archive

  • 3 In this study, the slope of the seating rows was measured as 28 degrees at Ephesus, 27 degrees at M (...)
  • 4 The seating rows at the Theatre of Ephesus are 0.39 m high, 0.74 m wide; in the Theatre of Miletus, (...)

13During the seasons 2018-2019, 11 seating rows of the ima cavea have been reached, during the excavations conducted in the step trenches opened towards the orchestra in the eastern part of the cavea (Fig. 8-9). The seating steps were placed facing the orchestra at an angle of 31.76 degrees (Ataköy, 2014, p. 113). The seating rows are composed of two parts with a depth of 0.80 m and a height of 0.40 m.4 In the ima cavea, seven steps and step stones of the first staircase (klimakes) starting from the diazoma and descending for 11 seating rows along the analemma wall are also discovered in situ. On the other hand, even though a second staircase parallel to the first one and determining the first kerkides / cuneus was reached, the stones of this second staircase were removed. It is also understood from the fact that the limestone blocks of the seating rows and the steps of the ima cavea extending along the analemmata were not preserved as the stone blocks of the theatre were removed and used as construction material in Kemeraltı and elsewhere.

14During the works in the trenches F1 / G1-24 realised in order to see the details of the north façade of analemmata facing the paraskenion, a large number of marble fragments belonging to architectural elements of the theatre and many ceramics, mostly dated to the Roman Imperial Period have been found. However, the most important architectural finding here is the 7-step staircase in the trench F1-24, which brings the spectator from the parados to the ima cavea. This staircase meets another staircase mentioned above, discovered in the trenches E1 / D1 / F1-23 (Fig. 11-12) through a landing (Fig. 10). The steps of this 1.38-m wide staircase are 0.25 m high and 0.28 m deep. For now, although we consider this structure that reaches the ima cavea from the 1st floor level, to be a late application, the question of how this ladder started at the ground floor level and many other questions will be answered with future excavations.

Fig. 10: Stairway rising from the paraskenion

Fig. 10: Stairway rising from the paraskenion

Smyrna Excavations Archive

Fig. 11: The stairhead where the stairs rising from the paraskenion meet the stairs of the cavea

Fig. 11: The stairhead where the stairs rising from the paraskenion meet the stairs of the cavea

Smyrna Excavations Archive

Fig. 12: The stairs of the cavea and the stairs rising from the paraskenion

Fig. 12: The stairs of the cavea and the stairs rising from the paraskenion

Smyrna Excavations Archive

  • 5 According to Sear, the Ephesus Theatre consists of 24 seating rows in the ima cavea, 22 in the medi (...)

15At the end of the 2019 excavations, apart from these first 11 rows of seating steps in the eastern part of the cavea, the total number of tiers of the first kerkides / cuneus, and therefore ima cavea, has not been determined yet. If we accept the theory of Walter and Berg, there are 19 rows. According to Sear, based on the work of Berg and Walter, the Theatre of Smyrna consists of 19 rows in the ima cavea, 21 in the media cavea, and 23 in the summa cavea (Sear, 2006, pp. 352-3545). With the excavations to be carried out in the next seasons, the accuracy of these numbers will be understood.

  • 6 At Ephesus, the ima cavea has 11, the media and the summa cavea have 22 kerkides / cunei / seating (...)

16While Sear’s catalogue suggested that the ima cavea was composed of 10 cuneus, the identification of two staircases that limit the cuneus in the excavations of 2019, indicates that the ima cavea may only consist of 7 seating units when it is placed as a scale in the general plan of the theatre6 (Fig.13). This information also needs to be supported by excavations in the coming seasons. If this cuneus number is correct, it is similar with the number of seating units in the theatres of Pergamon, Knidos, Samothrake, Delos, and Isthmia (Sear, 2006, pp. 333, 347, 351, 394, 399).

Fig. 13: The restitution plan of the Smyrna Theatre

Fig. 13: The restitution plan of the Smyrna Theatre

Smyrna Excavations Archive

Fig. 14: Figurine of Artemis Bendis?

Fig. 14: Figurine of Artemis Bendis?

Smyrna Excavations Archive

Fig. 15: Head of Dionysos from the Hellenistic Period

Fig. 15: Head of Dionysos from the Hellenistic Period

Smyrna Excavations Archive

Fig. 16: Grotesque actor’s head from the Roman Period

Fig. 16: Grotesque actor’s head from the Roman Period

Smyrna Excavations Archive

  • 7 For the iconography of Artemis Bendis in Asia Minor, see Deoudi, 2015, p. 51-61.
  • 8 Some Aphrodite figurines dated to the Roman Imperial Period from the Athenian Agora show the same t (...)
  • 9 For similar “Oriental Aphrodite” figurines see Mollard-Besques, 1963, No: MYR 1, Pl. 9 a-c, p. 11; (...)
  • 10 For similar Eros figurines from Myrina see Mollard-Besques, 1963, Pl. 42-43, p. 37-38.
  • 11 Traces of such an open-air sacred area, not far away from the theatre, is mentioned in Ersoy, 2015, (...)

17Naturally, due to the slope and the shape of the theatre area, the ceramic and other materials belonging to different periods starting from the 2nd century BC, have been found together. The material dating back to the 4th and 5th centuries AD was found intensely above the rows of seats. Among other finds, during the deepening of the excavations in the theatre in 2018 and 2019, various terracotta figurines from the Hellenistic and Roman periods are brought to light. Among these terracotta figurines found in different trenches between the levels 79.00 m and 87.00 m, there is a fragment of a female figurine wearing a Phrygian cap (Fig. 14). From the hairstyle and the garment that is preserved up to the hip, it is suggested that this figure represents Artemis Bendis, a Thracian goddess who was identified with Artemis in the Hellenic world7. Taking into account the folding system of the costume and the treatment of the face, it is possible to date this figurine to the Roman Imperial period.8 A head of Dionysos (Fig. 15) from the Hellenistic Period and a grotesque actor’s head (Fig. 16) from the Roman Period, both discovered during excavations in this area, are remarkable for their relationship with the world of theatre. Although it is possible to associate these two figurine fragments with the theatre building or with a Dionysus cult area that may be located near the theatre, the archaeological data available today is not sufficient to establish such a connection. In addition to these three remarkable figurines, fragments of female figures of the “Oriental Aphrodite” type, representing seated, dressed or naked young girls, whose examples are frequently seen in the Aegean world,9 fragments of the ornate young Eros type that we know from Myrina since the 2nd century BC,10 and pieces of clothing belonging to the large size terracotta figurines have also been revealed. The abovementioned figures came probably from the sanctuaries in the vicinity of the theatre, perhaps from open-air sacred areas that might be located on the rocky slopes at the higher altitudes of the theatre.11

Stage Building / Scene

  • 12 The diameter of the cavea measures 142 m in the Ephesus theatre, 139.80 m in the theatre of Miletus (...)

18The length of the stage building (skene / scene), which consists of seven rooms and a corridor (ambulacrum) to which these rooms opened, measures approximately 56.63 m, and the stage depth measures approximately 12.59 m. Although the diameter of the cavea has not been subject to archaeological excavations yet, the approximate diameter of the cavea is estimated to be about 155 m, based on the surface measurements.12 Contrary to the suggestion of the first researchers, the entrance to the stage building from the outside was through five doors. The door at the centre is arched and others have lintels (Fig. 17). The number of exits to the proskene will be understood only in the following excavation seasons. In Walter and Berg’s drawings, there are five exits to the proskene and one of these is at the centre.

Fig. 17: View of the stage building from the north

Fig. 17: View of the stage building from the north

Smyrna Excavations Archive

Fig. 18: The corridor of the stage building on the first-floor level

Fig. 18: The corridor of the stage building on the first-floor level

Smyrna Excavations Archive

19Excavations have been continued in the last three years on the first floor of the stage building. An arched corridor (ambulacrum), reached through the doors on the façade of the stage building has been uncovered on the ground floor. Seven rooms open up to the corridor on the first floor. The upper corridor, which is accessed by two doors of 2.15 m width from the east and west, has a width of 3.60 m. In the sections with niches, the width reaches 4.60 m (Fig. 18). During the 2019 season, traces of the arched construction of the ground floor were reached under the first-floor corridor. The widths between the arches are 1.80 m, 2.14 m and 2.33 m from east to west. While the upper points of the arches reach 78.41-78.50 m and the visible lower level of the stage façade is 76.45 m, the entrance to the stage building is expected to be around 73 m. The way how the plan of the first floor and the organization of the space is reflected on the ground floor will be understood in future excavations.

20Many sculptures and relief fragments were found during the excavations of the stage building. Among the remarkable examples of these findings, which are studied by L. Laugier (Louvre Museum-Paris) (Ersoy & Laugier, 2011, pp. 1-18), there are four blocs with a mask frieze found in front of the stage building (Fig. 19). These frieze blocks which can be dated to the middle of the 2nd century AD, provide information about the magnificent view of the theatre in this period.

Fig. 19: Block with mask frieze

Fig. 19: Block with mask frieze

Smyrna Excavations Archive

21The excavations on the stage building have also revealed the first epigraphic finds. The first epigraphic data discovered is an unpublished inscription of 12 lines of text which is written on a tabula ansata carved on a block inserted on the façade of the stage building. This inscription is read by Prof. Dr. Cumhur Tanrıver (Ege University) and according to his reading, the inscription notes that Marcus Claudius Proclos, who was the priest of the imperial temples in Smyrna, made a repair to a fountain as a dedication to the gods and emperors on behalf of the city. It is also stated in the inscription that the water of this fountain comes out of the theatre. Although it has not been proven archaeologically yet, it seems that this fountain is considered adjacent or very close to the theatre due to the location of the inscription. The inscription also includes the name of a water channel or an aqueduct called G(K)aleonterion Hydates which was constructed by Proclos. This waterway is undoubtedly connected with the stream Kaleon (Yeşildere), which is depicted as a river-god on the city coins. This inscription, which indicates the presence of a fountain near the theatre, suggests that in the area where the Theatre of Smyrna is located, a Nymphaion should be added to the urban landscape as well as the Aphrodite Stratonikis Temple or a portico.

22Numerous graffiti on the finely crafted edge bands (anathyrosis) of the limestone blocks of the stage building’s walls were also found during the excavations. The “location of Ioulios” is documented in one of these graffiti, which was found in Room M4 on the first-floor level (Figs. 20-21). This graffito is read by Prof. Dr. Recai Tekoğlu (Dokuz Eylül University) but not published yet. The size of Room M4, which measures 4.80 x 4.20 m, coincides with the arched door that provides access to the stage building from the outside. Another graffito is part of an honorary inscription: a citizen of Smyrna whose name is, unfortunately unknown, is praised as “... the father of the city and the prominent”. It was suggested by R. Tekoğlu that it might belong to the 4th century AD as a strong possibility. The last inscription seems to indicate that some events could have taken place in the theatre even in the 4th century AD. The scraps of cooking waste oil lamps belonging to the 5th and 6th centuries AD (Fig. 22) are recovered on the same level with this inscription, therefore it should be taken into account that the theatre might have been used for different purposes in the 5th century AD. The dense concentration of coins dating from the 4th century AD also marks the end date of the original function of the Theatre of Smyrna.

Fig. 20: Room M4 on the first-floor level, corresponding with the main entrance of the stage building

Fig. 20: Room M4 on the first-floor level, corresponding with the main entrance of the stage building

Smyrna Excavations Archive

Fig. 21: The inscription “Iuliou” on the edge band of the building blocks on the western wall of Room M4

Fig. 21: The inscription “Iuliou” on the edge band of the building blocks on the western wall of Room M4

Smyrna Excavations Archive

Fig. 22: Examples of scrap oil lamps

Fig. 22: Examples of scrap oil lamps

Smyrna Excavations Archive

The Late History of the Theatre

23According to the first evaluations of the archaeological material, it can be presumed that the theatre was rapidly filled with soil after the building was abandoned starting from the 5th century AD, when theatrical performances were banned in the Early Byzantine Period. The layers of lime uncovered during the excavations in recent years indicate that the theatre was covered with soil washed down the slopes of Kadifekale but it was also used as a stone and lime pit in the Byzantine and Ottoman periods (Ersoy, Gürler, & Göncü, 2017, p. 71). As we learned from Tournefort, the stone blocks of the stage building and the seating rows were used in the construction of the bedestens and caravanserais built in Kemeraltı since the 17th century (Pınar, 2001, pp. 5-6). Despite its worn-out position and being covered with earth, many travellers who came to İzmir, transferred information about the city, drew maps or made engravings and photographs regardless of their profession, definitely point to the Theatre of Smyrna.

24We can say that the theatre area is a social-cultural activity point, and it has not been erased from the memory of the people of Izmir. At the beginning of the 19th century, when residential buildings have started to be constructed in the area of the theatre, the Afro-Turks from the Ottoman communities started to celebrate here, a festival that they brought from Africa - the “Dana Bayramı”- and they have been celebrating it in this area until five years ago. However, today, they continue to celebrate it in the Alsancak district of the city centre. Nevertheless, the area where the Theatre of Smyrna is located has been called Temaşalık, which means “place of entertainment” with a memory from the Ottoman Period until recent years.

Fig. 23: Bronze coin of Bayezid I. Early Ottoman Period

Fig. 23: Bronze coin of Bayezid I. Early Ottoman Period

Smyrna Excavations Archive

  • 13 The earliest coins in Kadifekale, which were found through archaeological excavations, belong to Me (...)

25A decrease in the concentration of coins has been noted in the 5th century AD, which is an indication that the theatre has gone out of use during this century. Among the findings of the 2019 excavations, there is a coin which belongs to the Anatolian Beylik of Aydınoğulları. This coin belongs to Umur Bey, who is known for making İzmir the capital. It has been the first coin of Aydınoğulları that had been unearthed during archaeological excavations so far.13 The first Ottoman coin found in the theatre belongs to Bayezid I, which was unearthed in 2018 (Fig. 23). Again, after a long time interval, along with a coin belonging to Mustafa III (1757), many coins dating from the Ottoman Period, until the last Ottoman Sultan Mehmed Reşad, have been found in the last excavations of the theatre. It seems that these coins can explain the interventions for the building material of the theatre in the Ottoman Period.

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Wilson, Ch. (1895). Handbook for Travellers in Asia Minor, Transcaucasia, Persia, Etc., vol. 1. London : Murray.

von Richter, O. F. (1822). Wallfahrten im Morganlande, aus seinen Tagebüchern und Briefen dargestellt. Berlin.

Yılmaz, Y. (2009). Anadolu Antik Tiyatroları. Istanbul : Yem Yayınları.

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Notes

1 “Roman Theatre in Izmir”.

2 One of the units of length measurement in Antiquity is “foot”. The “foot” is equivalent to 29.5 cm and 177 cm is equal to 6 feet (29.5 cm x 6 = 177 cm.) According to the researchers, when the width of diazoma was equal to or more than 6 feet, there was no problem in the sound reaching the upper seating levels. However, when it was below this measure, seats with backrests which limit the diazomas that prevent the sound from reaching to upper levels, were not used or the backs were being trimmed. Since the dimensions of the diazoma in the Theatre of Smyrna are within the limits, there has been no need to trim the backs of the seats. See Yılmaz 2009, pp. 17-21.

3 In this study, the slope of the seating rows was measured as 28 degrees at Ephesus, 27 degrees at Miletus, 29 degrees at Pergamon, and 22 degrees at Aspendos. The slope of the Smyrna Theatre is close to the 31-degree inclination angle of the Hierapolis, Sagalasos, Troia, Arykanda and Letoon theatres, whose slopes were measured in the same study. It is considered that slopes below 33 degrees are safe, while slopes above this degree may cause slippage in seating rows due to floods and earthquakes, and the rising sound may have an echo effect: See Yılmaz, 2009, p. 17.

4 The seating rows at the Theatre of Ephesus are 0.39 m high, 0.74 m wide; in the Theatre of Miletus, they are 0.41 m in height, 0.79 m in width and at Hieropolis, they are 0.44 m in height and 0.72 m in width. See Sear, 2006, for related articles on theatres.

5 According to Sear, the Ephesus Theatre consists of 24 seating rows in the ima cavea, 22 in the media cavea, and 21 in the summa cavea. The Theatre of Miletus consists of 20 sitting rows in the ima cavea, 20 rows in the media cavea, and 20 rows in the summa cavea. At Hierapolis, the ima cavea consists of 23 and the summa cavea consists of 27 tiers of seats. See Sear, 2006 for related articles on theatres.

6 At Ephesus, the ima cavea has 11, the media and the summa cavea have 22 kerkides / cunei / seating units; in Miletus the ima cavea has 5, the media cavea has 10 and the summa cavea has 18 kerkides; at Hierapolis, the ima cavea consists of 9 and the summa cavea consists of 10 kerkides: See Sear, 2006, for related articles on theatres.

7 For the iconography of Artemis Bendis in Asia Minor, see Deoudi, 2015, p. 51-61.

8 Some Aphrodite figurines dated to the Roman Imperial Period from the Athenian Agora show the same type of facial treatment: Grandjouan 1961, No: 6, 9, Pl. 1-2, p. 43.

9 For similar “Oriental Aphrodite” figurines see Mollard-Besques, 1963, No: MYR 1, Pl. 9 a-c, p. 11; No: MYR 2, Pl. 9 d, p. 11 and Rumscheid 2006, No: 167, Taf. 68, p. 462.

10 For similar Eros figurines from Myrina see Mollard-Besques, 1963, Pl. 42-43, p. 37-38.

11 Traces of such an open-air sacred area, not far away from the theatre, is mentioned in Ersoy, 2015, p. 29, Fig. 28.

12 The diameter of the cavea measures 142 m in the Ephesus theatre, 139.80 m in the theatre of Miletus and 100 m in the theatre of Hieropolis. Also see Sear, 2006, for related theatre parts.

13 The earliest coins in Kadifekale, which were found through archaeological excavations, belong to Menteşeoğlu Ahmed Gazi (1357-1391) and Murad I (1360-1389). See Ertaş, 2019, p. 19.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1: The vomitorium entrance of the Smyrna Theatre in the Ottoman Period and the remains of the analemma wall, with the view of Kadifekale in the background
Crédits Smyrna Excavations Archive
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1724/img-1.png
Fichier image/png, 1,3M
Titre Fig. 4: The theatre area in a photograph from the beginning of the 20th century
Crédits Smyrna Excavations Archive
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1724/img-2.png
Fichier image/png, 918k
Titre Fig. 2: Possible plan of the theatre based on the drawing by Walter and Berg
Crédits Drawing: Sarp Alatepeli - Smyrna Excavations Archive
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1724/img-3.png
Fichier image/png, 564k
Titre Fig. 3: Possible architectural modelling of the Smyrna Theatre based on the description of Moncony
Crédits Drawing: Sarp Alatepeli - Smyrna Excavations Archive
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1724/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 623k
Titre Fig. 5: The theatre area during the demolition of the modern buildings
Crédits Smyrna Excavations Archive
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1724/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,1M
Titre Fig. 6: The stage building of the Smyrna Theatre after the demolition of the modern buildings
Crédits Smyrna Excavations Archive
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1724/img-6.png
Fichier image/png, 1,0M
Titre Fig. 7: The remains of the diazoma uncovered between the ima and the media cavea; the stairs reaching the diazoma; and the seats with backrest
Crédits Smyrna Excavations Archive
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1724/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 174k
Titre Fig. 8: 11 rows of the ima cavea and the staircase along the analemmata
Crédits Smyrna Excavations Archive
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1724/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 270k
Titre Fig. 9: The theatre plan; the view of the stage building façade and the sections of the cavea
Crédits Smyrna Excavations Archive
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1724/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 185k
Titre Fig. 10: Stairway rising from the paraskenion
Crédits Smyrna Excavations Archive
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1724/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 164k
Titre Fig. 11: The stairhead where the stairs rising from the paraskenion meet the stairs of the cavea
Crédits Smyrna Excavations Archive
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1724/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 184k
Titre Fig. 12: The stairs of the cavea and the stairs rising from the paraskenion
Crédits Smyrna Excavations Archive
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1724/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 158k
Titre Fig. 13: The restitution plan of the Smyrna Theatre
Crédits Smyrna Excavations Archive
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1724/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 583k
Titre Fig. 14: Figurine of Artemis Bendis?
Crédits Smyrna Excavations Archive
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1724/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 603k
Titre Fig. 15: Head of Dionysos from the Hellenistic Period
Crédits Smyrna Excavations Archive
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1724/img-15.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 328k
Titre Fig. 16: Grotesque actor’s head from the Roman Period
Crédits Smyrna Excavations Archive
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1724/img-16.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 527k
Titre Fig. 17: View of the stage building from the north
Crédits Smyrna Excavations Archive
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1724/img-17.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 492k
Titre Fig. 18: The corridor of the stage building on the first-floor level
Crédits Smyrna Excavations Archive
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1724/img-18.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 132k
Titre Fig. 19: Block with mask frieze
Crédits Smyrna Excavations Archive
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1724/img-19.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 431k
Titre Fig. 20: Room M4 on the first-floor level, corresponding with the main entrance of the stage building
Crédits Smyrna Excavations Archive
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1724/img-20.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 354k
Titre Fig. 21: The inscription “Iuliou” on the edge band of the building blocks on the western wall of Room M4
Crédits Smyrna Excavations Archive
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1724/img-21.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 259k
Titre Fig. 22: Examples of scrap oil lamps
Crédits Smyrna Excavations Archive
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1724/img-22.png
Fichier image/png, 783k
Titre Fig. 23: Bronze coin of Bayezid I. Early Ottoman Period
Crédits Smyrna Excavations Archive
URL http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/docannexe/image/1724/img-23.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 188k
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Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Akın Ersoy, Sarp Alatepeli et Gözde Şakar, « Preliminary Report on the Theatre of Smyrna / Izmir and the Excavations (2014-2019) »Anatolia Antiqua, XXVIII | 2020, 283-298.

Référence électronique

Akın Ersoy, Sarp Alatepeli et Gözde Şakar, « Preliminary Report on the Theatre of Smyrna / Izmir and the Excavations (2014-2019) »Anatolia Antiqua [En ligne], XXVIII | 2020, mis en ligne le 01 décembre 2022, consulté le 31 janvier 2023. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/anatoliaantiqua/1724 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/anatoliaantiqua.1724

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Auteurs

Akın Ersoy

Izmir Katip Celebi University, Department of Turkish and Islamic Archaeology
akin.ersoy@ikcu.edu.tr

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Sarp Alatepeli

Izmir Katip Celebi University, Department of Turkish and Islamic Archaeology
sarp.alatepeli@ikcu.edu.tr

Gözde Şakar

Manisa Celal Bayar University, Department of Archaeology
gozde.sakar@cbu.edu.tr

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