Divider

Epidaurus

The Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus was the most celebrated healing center of the ancient world. A mortal physician deified by Zeus after his death for retrieving a patient from the underworld, Asklepios was typically depicted clutching a staff and flanked by a dog and a serpent - common symbols of wisdom. The authority and radiance of Asklepios as the most important healer god of antiquity brought to the sanctuary great financial prosperity, which in the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE, enabled the implementation of an ambitious building program for the construction of monumental buildings for worship and later, of buildings mainly secular in character such as its magnificent theater. This sanctuary was active from the 6th century BCE until at least the 2nd century BCE when the traveler-historian Pausanias recorded a visit.

Click on the thumbnails below in order to see pictures of Epidaurus.  Use your browser's back button to return to this page.

The theaterDesigned by Polykleitos the Younger late in the 4th century BCE, the theater is well known for its near perfect acoustics. Owing to the sanctuary's relative remoteness, its masonry was never pilfered. The theaterThe theater has the only circular orchestra (stage) to have survived from antiquity, though the alter that once stood in the center is now gone. Today the theater is still used for the summer festival of ancient drama. The paradosOne of the two paradoi, side corridors, of the theater. The parados gave the actors access to the stage; each had a monumental gateway whose pillars have now been reerected.
The theaterThe orchestra is 20 m (66 ft) in diameter. A semi-circular paved depression adjacent to the orchestra, 2 m (6 ft) wide, collects rainwater. Surrounding the central orchestra, the north-facing cavea (cavity) of the theater is 114 m (374 ft) across and is divided into blocks of 36 stairs. The theaterBehind the orchestra and facing the auditorium stand the remains of the skene (scene building), the main reception hall, and the proskenion, which was used by performers as an extension of the stage. The theaterThe lower 34 rows are original, dating to the 4th century BCE. The top 21 tiers were added in the Roman period. The walkway between the tiers of seats (kerkides) was called a diazoma.
Corinthian capitalCorinthian capital on display in the Archaeological Museum of Epidaurus. It was found in a fill below the foundations of the Tholos, buried there in antiquity. It is considered to be the "model" of the capitals of the inner colonnade of the Tholos, designed by Polykleitos the Younger. Statue of AsklepiosStatue of Asklepios. Plaster cast of the statue of god Asklepios, represented standing, with the sacred snake curling up on his stick. The original is exhibited in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Site plan of the Sanctuary of AsklepiosSite plan of the Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus.
GymnasiumThe sanctuary of Asklepios, showing the Gymnasium - a large square sculpture with well constructed ashlar exterior blocks. GymnasiumThe Gymnasium from a different angle. The sanctuaryGeneral view of the sanctuary of Asklepios.
The sanctuaryGeneral view of the sanctuary of Asklepios. Roman OdeionThe Roman Odeion at Epidaurus, with its semicircular orchestra and the substructure of the seats. The stadiumThe late Classical stadium with intact rows of stone benches and a starting line still visible. This stadium was used during the quadrennial festival in honor of Asklepios.

 
Back to the Peloponnese

Rings page   Grisel's Home Page   Email Grisel

Go to Mycenae

Sign Guestbook   Guestbook   View Guestbook

All pictures are Copyright 2000 Grisel Gonzalez and Jeff Prosise