Castrum Novum theatre: The architecture and orientation of a newly discovered ancient Roman theatre
Posted by Gio on 10.29.22 in Uncategorized
The Castrum Novum theatre has recently been resurfaced by archaeological digs at Santa Marinella, on the coast north of Rome. Its site and architectural orientation are particularly noteworthy.
Research by the Finnish University of Pilsen and the Institutum Finlandiae have also unearthed the temple’s lower building work. It had a regular architectural plan and was located some 50 metres from the sea front. The stage was ~30 metres length and there was seating area for ~1000 spectators. Brickwork with “bullae” (stamps) of Emperor Marcus Aurelius suggest this ancient Roman theatre was restructured under his rule and was in full use during the 2nd century AD.
It was oriented to take full advantage of the coastal environment:
- Illumination: The sun setting with its rays shining onto the actors and “scaena frons” architectural stage rather than blinding the public.
- Ventilation: The sea breeze would have been used together with savvy use of the rooftop sails to ventilate the cavea and spectators for comfort.
The city of Castrum Novum was an ancient and highly strategic coastal port since the Punic Wars. Its development from the 3rd century BC through ~800 years meant it had a highly developed infrastructure to support its logistical, trade and military function.
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