Claudius Marcellus Marcus Son of C. Claudius Marcellus and of Octavia (sister of Augustus), was born in 42 BC. He was the adopted heir of Augustus. Died in 23 BC before seeing the completion of the theater. He was buried in Augustus’ own mausoleum; Octavia named a library after him and Augustus a theater – the Theater of Marcellus.
Finished in 17 BC, the Theater of Marcelluswas an ancient open-air theater in Rome. At the theater, locals and visitors alike were able to watch performances of drama and song. The inaugural performance was held in 12 BC
Ancient Roman theatre was heavily influenced by the Greek tradition, and as with many other literary genres Roman dramatists tended to adapt and translate from the Greek. One difference is that the Romans were more interested in comedy and found many tragedies to be boring and too depressing for the stage
Greek theater masks
The Roman theatre consisted of many different types of plays. The Romans copied and modified many aspects of Greek culture such as their religion and drama to suit themselves. They tried to take many Greek plays and adapt them for the Roman stage as well as pay for writers to write poems glorifying and praising Rome.
However, most plays were set in Greece and actors wore Greek masks and costumes. At Roman festivals, plays were part of the entertainment. Dionysus Mask, ca. 1st century BC
When plays occurred in Rome, it was considered a festival day, and all work came to a stop for the festivities.
The theatre could originally hold 11,000-12,000 seated spectators, with room for up to 14,000 people.
In the Early Middle Ages the Theater of Marcellus was used as a fortress. Later, in the 16th century, a residence was built atop the ruins of the ancient theatre.
Now the upper portion is divided into multiple apartments, and its surroundings are used as a venue for small summer concerts