Sanctuary and Theatre of Dionysos

Displays on the gallery’s left side conclude with finds from the Sanctuary and Theatre of Dionysos, the god of vegetation and wine. The sanctuary was founded on the South Slope of the Acropolis after the middle of the 6th century BC. As the god’s foremost sanctuary in Athens, it was here that Athenians celebrated the Greater or City Dionysia, the most glorious celebration in honour of the god. From their worshipful acts that reenact the life and passions of Dionysos, drama was born, dramatic contests were established and the art of theatre eventually arose.

The Theatre of Dionysos, the oldest theatre in the world, stands upslope from the god’s sanctuary. In its final form, the auditorium held 16,000 spectators. All three forms of ancient drama were presented and perfected here – tragedies, comedies and satires – and the works of ancient Greece’s most important tragic and comic poets – Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes – were performed here for the first time.



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