Named Seats

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The Theatre of Gitana held a pleasant surprise for researchers. Some of its seating rows bore carved names: Menedamos, Timodamos, Antinus, Alexandros, Kefalos, Dokimos, Pausanias, Nikomahos, Nikostratos, Charopidas, Filista.

It was a moving discovery, the seats bearing witness to the names of those who used them, but it also raised questions. Who were these people? Were they freedmen, sponsors, representatives of families or groups, officials or priests? Were the names read out during the summer assemblies of the Ekklesia of Demos (the general assembly of the citizens) or the Boule (council), during ceremonies to honor the ancient Greek titaness Themis and the god Apollo Agyieus or during summer performances?

The seat of Filista was an even greater surprise. Women in classical antiquity were not allowed to seat in the lower tiers of theatres. Maybe it was the seat reserved for the high priestess or the representative of the female population at the Thesprotian Koinon (League). This mystery will evidently be hard to solve…

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