Ancient Roman theatre found in Israel

A Roman theatre, overlooking the Sea of Galilee, was found at ancient Hippos, North Israel.  The find might indicate the existence of a religious centre at the site.

The Roman theatre (by Michael Eisenberg)

Archaeologists continuing the research at ancient city of Hippos, formulated a hypothesis that there might have existed a religious sanctuary near the site. Recently they found a bathhouse and a theatre in the same location, which were associated with the god of medicine Asclepius in the Roman period or with gods of nature, such as Dionysus and Pan. The theatre is an important find, indicating that there was a need to accommodate hundreds of people for public shows. According to the researchers no Roman city could have existed without a theatre. The recent find of the buildings are believed to be a part of a religious compound and the public bathhouse and theatre served ritual purposes. Excavations within the theatre revealed features such as a passageway limited by a semicircular wall that served as a divide between the lower and upper blocks of seats, and vaulted corridors that crossed the seating area, allowing the audience to reach their blocks of seats. Further investigation revealed foundations of several rows of seats, although the seats have long since vanished. The gate that lead to the theatre, discovered earlier this year dates to the early 2nd century AD, and experts believe that the theatre is contemporary to that structure. According to archaeologists, these finds suggest that this was a large sanctuary outside the city, which completely changes the idea about Hippos and the surrounding area

(after Michael Eisenberg & The Jerusalem Post)

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