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The Ancient Theater of Messene is one of the largest in antiquity, for which only indirect mention is made by Pausanias (4.32.6) and was revealed NW of the Asclepieion and 50m. west of the Agora. It was built in the 3rd-2nd c. e.g..Its width reaches 98.60m., And the diameter of its orchestra is 23.46m. It was used for the entertainment of the citizens, but also for political gatherings, as evidenced by the epigraphic findings. In the Roman Imperial times (1st-2nd century AD) it took its current form after radical transformations, which took place in the hollow and on the stage of the Hellenistic period.The extensive destruction of the cavity is mainly due to the inhabitants of the settlement of the Early Byzantine and Byzantine eras, who turned the theater into a “quarry” obtaining building materials for the needs of both the settlement and the neighboring Basilica.

The hollow of the Theater is based on an embankment, supported by a strong semicircular ascent, the western part of which is kept in good condition.The ascent, built of massive stone blocks, has the same shape as the fortifications, gates and towers of the city, and every 20 meters or so it brought impressive pointed gates with internal staircases, which led to the upper cornice.From there, descending stairwells started, which ended in the orchestra, horizon and the stands of the building. Large stone external staircase in the NW curve of the ascent leads to the upper cornice emphasizing the architectural peculiarities of the building.

In the years of the Roman emperors Augustus and Tiberius (1st century AD) the stage and the foreground were completely replaced. New repairs and modifications were made with the financial sponsorship of the powerful Messinian family of Saithida, around the middle of the 2nd c. A.D.

The Roman scene is quite well preserved. The facade was multi-storey (at least three-storey) with doors, arches and niches. White and multicolored marble columns made of marble and granite were used for this purpose.The colonnade of the lower row was crowned by Corinthian capitals, while the upper ones had Ionian and Egyptian capitals. These elements of the Theater of Messene foreshadow the colossal theaters and amphitheaters of Roman times.The ground floor of the tent consists of a central semicircular niche, and two rectangles, right and left. In each niche there were two pedestals for the foundation of a total of six marble statues of benefactors and other persons. Statues were placed in the smaller niches of the upper floors of the stage, while statues of spiritual men and benefactors were erected around the orchestra of the building.

The Ancient Theater of Messene seems to have been abandoned already at the end of the 3rd to the beginning of the 4th c. A.D. This is inferred from the use of bricks of the ascent of the hollow in the last construction phase of the Arsinoe Fountain, which dates back to the time of Diocletian (284-305 AD).

Administrative Information:

Ephorate of Antiquities of the Prefecture of Messinia

Mauromati-Ithomis, Mauromati (Prefecture of Messinia)
Telephone: +30 27240 51201

Full: €10, Reduced: €5
Archaeological Site and Museum of Ancient Messene


Amenities for the physically challenged:
WC for people with special needs at the archaeological site.


By road from Athens via Corinth-Tripoli-Kalamata highway, or via Corinth-Patras-Pyrgos-Kyparissia-Meligala highway. A route by car is required from Olympia about an hour.


Ephorate of Antiquities of the Prefecture of Messinia


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