According to Greek traveller and geographer, Pausanias however, the story of the Epidaurus Theatre stars long before that during the 4th century BC. The discovery of the theatre coincided with—or perhaps caused—a resurgence of ancient drama. by Paulina Karavasili. This is understandable, as the acoustics are … “ The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus is the most perfect theatre in the world in terms of aesthetics and acoustics, ” stated the University of Patras in its most recent study. There have been several attempts to recreate the acoustics of the Epidaurus Theatre throughout history, and none have been quite up to par. Its symmetry and … Musical and dramatic competitions were held in the monument, as part of the cult of Asclepius. The natural echo of one’s voice can be heard from one end of the theatre to the other, a phenomenon that has long attracted the admiration of scientists, and even more so due to the fact that the Theatre of Epidaurus was built almost 2,500 years ago – a time when knowledge and technology were much more limited. Pausanias visited the Epidaurus Theatre in the mid-2nd century AD, that is to say at least four … “While many experts speculated on the possible causes for Epidaurus’ acoustics, few guessed that the seats themselves were the secret of its acoustics success, where audiences in the back row were able to hear music and voices with amazing clarity, unlike any other theatre.”. The theater, dating to the 4th century B.C. Carved into the side of Mount Kynortio and dominating the southeastern end of the sanctuary, which was dedicated to Asclepius – the God and Creator of Medicine in Greek Mythology – the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus has been characterized as the birth place of the art of theatre, and the genres of comedy, tragedy and drama. Some of the most famous and prestigious Greek movie stars have played in Epidaurus over the years, such as Melina Mercouri, Katina Paxinou, Alekos Alexandrakis, Manos Katrakis, Anna Synodinou, Kostas Kazakos, and of course the “national Greek star” Aliki Vougiouklaki. The archaeological sites of Epidaurus were damaged over the years by ‘barbaric tribes’, as Ancient Greeks used to call them, such as the Goths, but they were also harmed during the Byzantine times and the Ottoman Rule. The way the medical centre at the Sanctuary worked was ailing patients would spend a night in a big sleeping hall called, Despite seeing so much prosperity in the 4. The Theatre is famous of its perfect acoustics where even the slightest sound like the dropping of a pin, or a heavy breath can be heard clearly by spectators in the top rows of seats. Even in the first century B.C., architects like Rome’s Vitruvius were scratching their heads about it. 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Not only that, but it would also filter the lower frequencies of actors’ voices. Though the design has been mimicked, the seats were usually made out of wood in the copycats, which is probably why the acoustics weren’t as great. Figure 4: Acoustic wave propagation 2D model for the Epidaurus theatre. The theatre of Epidaurus is considered the most perfect theatral structure of antiquity, thanks to the harmony of its proportions, the symmetry of its parts and its exceptional acoustics. And yes, the acoustics of the theatre seem to work just as well as they did when it was first built. The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, Peloponnese: The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus is regarded as the best preserved ancient theatre in Greece in terms of its perfect acoustics … The ancient mystery surrounding the great acoustics of the theater at Epidaurus in Greece has been solved. Carved into the side of Mount Kynortio, the … Playing at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus today is considered an incredible honour and career highlight, an achievement that is high on the bucket list of not just Greek actors but of the the most talented actors actors all around the world. Sound is carried easily due to the specific slope of the rows. Required fields are marked *. However, the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus is still considered to this day the best-preserved theatre of antiquity. The corrugated surface of the seats was creating an effect similar to the ridged acoustics padding on walls or insulation in a parking garage.”, Leader of the study, professor Nico Declercq, explained that the audience could hear the lower frequencies of an actor’s voice “simply because the human brain is capable of reconstructing the missing frequencies through a phenomenon called virtual pitch.”, “Virtual pitch helps us appreciate the incomplete sound coming from small loudspeakers (in a laptop or a telephone), even though the low (bass) frequencies are not generated by a speaker.”. Acoustic diffraction effects at the Hellenistic amphitheater of Epidaurus: Seat rows responsible for the marvelous acoustics Nico F. Declercqa and Cindy S. A. Dekeyser Georgia Institute of Technology, … Even individuals sitting farthest from the stage—about 60 meters—are able to hear actors without any amplification. Early theories concluded that the wind carried sound to the viewers, or that masks worn by the actors amplified the sound. The amazing sound produced in the theatre has been the subject of speculation for some time. It wasn’t until 426 A.D. that Theodosius the Great banned all activities at the Sanctuary, which saw the theatre fall into disrepair. The first systematic excavation in the theatre began in 1881 by the Archaeological Society of Greece, and it took several years to complete, since the whole area of the hill was densely wooded and inaccessible. As early as 1936, plays were being performed at the Epidaurus Theatre, including those by Sophocles and Euripides. Typical of theatres built in the Hellenistic period, the Epidaurus Theatre has a tripartite structure, meaning it has an orchestra, auditorium, and stage building. Declercq’s study also looked at the acoustics in the summer and the winter to see if there was a difference due to variations in air density and other factors during different seasons. Since 1988, the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, along with all findings in the archaeological site of the sanctuary of Asclepius, have been added to the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO due to their significant influence and value to the world’s cultures and arts. The theatre hosts mostly ancient Greek-style plays as well as contemporary adaptions of old plays and some musical events. Perfect Geometry – Ancient designers used precise design for acoustics, necessary for an outdoor theater. The architecture of the Epidaurus Theatre is not much different to that of most ancient Greek theatres, which are seen today as characteristic creations of Ancient Greek art. It is only in as recent as 2007 the scientists claimed to have solved the mystery of this perfect acoustics of the … The theatre remained in use for nearly 1000 years. Along with the … That same year, it was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The participation of the local community in the excavation program for the ancient theatre was equally crucial, as the inhabitants of Lygourio village in Epidaurus, gave up their estates, where the ancient monuments were located, so that the theatre could be resurrected. The Theater of Epidaurus was built in the 4th century BC by Polykleitos the Younger on the slope of Mount Kynortio at an incline of 26 degrees. The city of Epidaurus itself is equally important, as it has become a popular tourist destinantion over the last few years due to its coastal location and numerous tourist attractions. There, temples, baths, and athletic facilities were constructed as a means of worshiping Asklepios. It is built on the west side of Cynortion Mountain, near modern Lygourio, and belongs to the Epidaurus Municipality. It is said that people sitting in the furthest back row can hear the … The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus … Foreign directors of international acclaim, like American Robert Wilson and Belgian comedy-tragedy movie maker Ivo Van Hove have said that creating plays for the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus was a “life goal”. The performances can be in modern Greek, Ancient Greek or a mix of both, while there are very limited plays in different languages. The ancient theatre of Epidaurus was designed by Polykleitos the Youngerin the 4th century BC. As suspected, the architecture of the auditorium allows the sound to be carried from the stage to viewers sitting in the very back row. However, the theatre was in use long before that. It is regarded as the best-preserved theatre in Greece and famous for its exemplary acoustics. Epidaurus, Greece was a small, unassuming city in … The choice of location was a crucial element and, in addition to aesthetic enjoyment, it allowed the viewer not only to admire the natural environment, but it also was meant to serve worship or therapeutic purposes. The auditorium, however, was preserved under a layer of earth. Today I found out about the amazing acoustics of the ancient Epidaurus Theatre. “The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus is the most perfect theatre in the world in terms of aesthetics and acoustics,” stated the University of Patras in its most recent study. The Theatre of Epidaurus has a 20-meter wide circular orchestra, 55 rows and a seating capacity of up to 14,000 people. Probably the most beautiful and best preserved of its kind, the theater of Epidaurus was built in the 4th century BC by Polykleitos the Younger. Originally, the theatre had 34 rows. Whisper it – Greek theatre's legendary acoustics are a myth Tour guides may tell you that a pin dropping can be heard in every seat of the ancient theatre of Epidaurus – but scientists disagree … A team of six professors from the University of Patras conducted extensive research on the ancient theatre and concluded that “the measurements confirm the theatre’s excellent acoustics and speech intelligibility, for all the typical listener positions tested.”. The result is a higher clarity of sound, which makes it easier for the people in the back row to hear what’s happening up front. The original 34 rows were extended in Roman times by another 21 rows. Their goal was to create mental uplift as a means of healing for the people, who very much emphasized the importance of mental health, as a result of the combination of a healthy body and a healthy mind. Further, it’s thought now that the corrugation in the stone seats of Epidaurus is the reason for the acoustic trapping, which means it would be difficult to replicate. The incredible acoustics of the Epidaurus ancient theater have been a topic of discussion since the beginning of the theater’s life. I had to go and get the mic to do a recording (video below)… The ancient theatre of Epidauvrus … But perhaps the best-known method of worshiping the healer god was at the theatre. To get a sense of just ho… The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus is the crown of cultural activity in Greece during the summer months and remains to this day one of the most important and globally recognizable monuments of antiquity. The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus For most visitors, the main attraction in the archaeological site is the ancient theatre of Epidaurus. As Asklepios’ following grew, so too did the town. It soon attracted attention from across the globe, and there was a call to repair any damages and put the theatre to use. The Epidauros theatre can set up to about 12,000 people. The blue curves show the direct and reflected waves at successive time instances indicated by the red dotted lines. The study showed that in whichever seat someone sits within the theatre, either at the very front or at the last seat at the top of the theatre hill, they will be able to clearly hear the actors speak – who of course, never use microphones or any kind of sound boost equipment during plays. The auditorium was carved into the side of Mount Kynortio at an incline of 26 degrees. The first 34 rows are original, excavated at the end of the nineteenth century. The theatre structure. However, another 21 rows were added at the top, probably during Roman times. An area known as a Sanctuary developed in an elevated mountain valley, connected to Epidaurus by an ancient road. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. The construction of the theatre was completed in two main construction phases and its capacity was initially for 13,000 – 14,000 people, making it the largest theatre at the time. The wonderful acoustics for which the ancient Greek theatre of Epidaurus is renowned may come from exploiting complex acoustic physics, new research shows. In 1881, the Archaeological Society started to excavate the area and found the theatre relatively well-preserved. The final wave of restoration wasn’t completed until 1988, involving roping off some of the more fragile sections of the theatre and refurbishing some of the seats. They found that frequencies up to 500 hertz were lowered, while frequencies that were higher remained the same. With the additional rows, it can seat around 14,000 people. Epidaurus was a healing sanctuary in the countryside. Designed by the architect Polykleitos the Younger during the fourth century BC, the ancient Theatre of Epidaurus is one of the best-kept amphitheatres in Greece. The theatre of Epidaurus (Greece) is one of the best preserved ancient theatres, dating back to 4th century B.C, and is world famous for its exceptional acoustics. The famous ancient theatre of Epidaurus was constructed in the late 4th century BC, around the time when Athens was flourishing in art, philosophy, science, and of course theatre, and can seat more than 12,000 spectators. The vast majority of ancient theatres are built on the slope of a hill, so that the slope of the ground favours the amphitheatre configuration of the space. The prosperity brought by the asclepeion enabled Epidaurus to construct civic monuments, including the huge theatre that delighted Pausanias for its symmetry and beauty, used again today for dramatic performances, the ceremonial hestiatoreion (banqueting hall), and a palaestra. There is another significant factor, however: the seats themselves. The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus is a theatre in the Greek city of Epidaurus, located on the southeast end of the sanctuary dedicated to the ancient Greek God of medicine, Asclepius. The Theatre at Epidaurus Including its Acoustics The Theatre at Epidaurus is recognised as the finest example of an ancient Greek theatre and the meticulous attention that was paid to its design and construction delivered acoustics … The difficulty in achieving audibility to an audience of thousands, disposed around three-fifths … The research adds that, “as the ancient Greeks were placing the last few stones on the magnificent theatre at Epidaurus, they couldn’t have known that they had unwittingly created a sophisticated acoustic filter. The theater at Epidaurus has been known for centuries as an acoustic marvel that allowed spectators to hear in the back row. Tel. The seating section is slightly larger than a semicircle, which consists of 55 rows of seats divided into two by a gangway or … …structure is the theatre at Epidaurus, across the Saronikós (Saronic) Gulf from Athens. Researcher Nico Declercq and others from the Georgia Institute of Technology conducted a series of experiments with ultrasonic waves in the theatre. By the rules of mathematics and the method of music, they sought to make the voices from the stage rise more clearly and sweetly to the spectators’ ears… by the arrangement of theatres in accordance with the science of harmony, the ancients increased the power of the voice. A study by the Georgia Institute of Technology makes the observation that “the elusive factor that makes the ancient amphitheatre an acoustic marvel, is not the slope, or the wind — it’s the seats.”. Earlier in 2020, Epidaurus was also praised by global media as the town that “beat COVID-19” since it reported zero cases of the novel coronavirus, and thus it continues every day to leave its significant mark on the world map, for a plethora of reasons. They found that the acoustics are more or less the same in both seasons. The theatre was designed by Polykleitos the Younger in the 4th century B.C., a period that saw construction of many of the Sanctuary’s buildings. Location: Ancient Site. The Epidaurus Ancient Theatre owes its excellent acoustics to its geometrically perfect design. 2020-11-15. Apart from the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, the archaeological site of the area includes many more monuments of great importance, such as the Stadion – where sports events and competitions took place, the Gymnasium – the building where teenagers gathered to exercise, the Odeon – a place for mental and physical relaxation through music, called the first “rehab centre”, by many archaeologists today, along with the Epidaurus museum. and arranged in 55 semi-circular rows, … Residents in the area also donated acres of fields so that a new road could be built to connect the sanctuary in Epidaurus with the first capital of Greece, Nafplio. The Great Theatre of Epidaurus: Amazing acoustics - See 2,468 traveler reviews, 1,944 candid photos, and great deals for Epidavros, Greece, at Tripadvisor. In Epidaurus, we can also find the characteristic three-part structure that Greeks used to build for its ideal appearance: the concave, the orchestra and the stage building. Due to its excellent acoustics and condition, this ancient theater … Set against a backdrop of lush landscape, the theatre of Epidaurus is marvelled for its exceptional acoustics. The festival celebrates Greek history and plays that are over 2,500 years old. Originally, the Theatre … Study shows Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus is world’s most perfect in terms of aesthetics and acoustics, 100 years ago on this day in 1920, Greece’s much-loved Melina Mercouri was born, 2020 San Francisco Greek Film Festival: virtual and drive-in event, On this day in 1982: Melina Mercouri tells the world Parthenon Marbles must return to Greece, On this day in 1996, Aliki Vougiouklaki passes away, New graffiti of Melina Mercouri in Patras, Greece announces 2020 will be the ‘Year of Melina Mercouri’. As is usual for Greek theatres (and as opposed to Roma… Epidaurus, Greece was a small, unassuming city in ancient times, best known for being the supposed birth place of Apollo’s son, Asklepios the healer. The Amazing Acoustics of the Epidaurus Theatre Today I found out about the amazing acoustics of the ancient Epidaurus Theatre. The awe that someone feels once they enter the theatre is remarkable. On the theatre, Vitruvius said. Due to its excellent acoustics and condition, the ancient theater is still used today, most notably under the framework of the annual Epidaurus … Theatre of Epidaurus. The theatre, which could hold 12,000 to 14,000 people, is noted to this day for its almost perfect acoustics … But the cool thing about the theatre is its acoustics. In 1955, the Greek government founded the Athens and Epidaurus Festival, which takes place every summer. Theatre - Theatre - Acoustics: Much recent study has centred on the problem of acoustics in the ancient theatre. “The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus is the most perfect theatre in the world in terms of aesthetics and acoustics.” – the University of Patras. Way back then, Pausanias praised the ancient theatre for its harmony and beauty, and attributed the creation of the largest dome pavilion theatre of classical antiquity to its architect, Polykleitos, who also designed the whole of Asclepius sanctuary. Mystery of Acoustics of Epidaurus Theatre Scientists took long to unravel this mystery. The famous ancient theatre of Epidaurus was constructed in the late 4th century BC, around the time when Athens was flourishing in art, philosophy, science, and of course theatre, and can seat more than 12,000 spectators. If you liked this article, you might also enjoy our new popular podcast, The BrainFood Show (iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Feed), as well as: Your email address will not be published. : +30 … The Ancient Greeks built an acoustically perfect theatre in Epidaurus that is still used to this day, over two thousand years later. Because of this, the listeners experienced a phenomenon called “virtual pitch” in which they filled in the missing tone themselves. Georgia Tech experimented with ultrasonic waves and numerical simulations at the Epidaurus Theatre several times between 2013 and 2019, and discovered that “frequencies up to 500 Hz were held back while frequencies above 500 Hz were allowed to ring out. Your email address will not be published. There have been several attempts to recreate the acoustics of the Epidaurus Theatre throughout history, and none have been quite up to par. Their medical centre became one of the most well-known in the classical world, attracting sick people from all over the known world who hoped to be cured by the healer god. But researchers today have now solved the mystery in a more concrete and scientific fashion. Basically, the steps acted as “acoustic traps,” filtering out background noise like wind and the movement of people, which is typically under 500 hertz. 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