The great theater of Syracuse, a city of Magna Graecia (Megale Hellas) settled by Colonists from Corinth, was built under tyrant Hiero I (r. c. 478-466 B.C.) by architect Democopus Myrilla and hewn from the local stone.
Hiero was a patron of the arts. The Athenian poet Aeschylus composed a play called "The Women of Aetna" for Hiero, in 471 B.C., in honor of the tyrant's creation of a new town at the base of Mt. Aetna. The play prophesied future greatness for the new city. Aeschylus also performed his Persian Women trilogy at the theater of Syracuse, perhaps for the first time. Even if not, the trilogies were not routinely repeated. Epicharmus, who may have been a Syracusan, wrote his comedies for performance at the Theater of Syracuse.
Hiero II (r. 270-215 B.C.) enhanced the approximately 138 meters-wide theater of Syracuse. He increased the number of rows to 67. Hiero also divided the theater of Syracuse into 9 wedges, each named for an important figure, including himself. It may have held up to 20,000 spectators. Early emperors removed the lowest rows of seats for the gladiatorial games.
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- Teatro Greco
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