The Great Theatre




The Great Theatre at Ephesus is one of the most complete amphitheatres in existence. Its state of preservation, and wonderful acoustics, enable it still to be used as a venue for concerts. The massive theatre, when finished seated 24,000 and was used for staging Greek tragedies and comedies, as well as for religious celebrations honouring Artemis. It is doubtless the most impressive sight in Ephesus.


The Romans greatly enlarged it in diameter and height during the reign of Emperor Claudius (41-54). The first two stories of a stage were also added during the reign of Emperor Nero (54-68), as in the classical Greek theatre they used no stage. Work on the theatre was finally completed during the 2nd century in the reign of Trajan (98-117), when a third storey was added. Used by the Romans to produce satires, mimes and spectaculars, it also held public meetings and discussions.


It was here that Paul of Tarsus was attacked during a riot by Pagan supporters of Artemis, when he objected to the sale of Pagan merchandise.






Seating in the Great Theatre