Greek theater, Segesta, Sicily Greek theater, Segesta, Sicily.

Credit: Digital Imaging Project of Mary Ann Sullivan, Bluffton College; download site Digital Imaging Project's Segesta site.

The theater was build in the 3rd century BCE. Actually, the early Greek theaters of the 5th century BCE---where the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes were first presented---probably consisted mostly of rectangular wooden bleachers with rectangular performance spaces. The semi-circular, stone seating was a later innovation of the 4th century BCE.

The magnificent backdrop of the Segesta theater consisting of mountains, the Mediterranean Sea (to the upper right, but hard to make out in this image), and Highway A29 (a modern addition though it resembles a Roman acquaduct snaking across the valley) would have been obscured to the ancient audience by a skena (acting house) consisting of 2 stories behind the orchestra (the semi-circle dance space). Modern productions of Greek classics are put on there at times. It would be a great lecture site for astronomy some starry night.

This picture must have been taken in the evening perhaps in early spring---in the wet time of the year anyway. I was there 2006jun20, Tuesday, circa 10:00--11:30 am and it was sunstroked and hot and there was no greenery in the theater, but the tree off at the right was leafed and provided some shade for the tourists. I'd come a long way to see the theater, and so I spent a good long time absorbing it. Since I couldn't remember any Euripides, I recited one of my own poems---there was no audience, but an Italian with me on stage:

No less than those of Euripides, the words sounded in the air and were gone.