Kritios Boy c. 480 B.C. Acropolis, Athens Under life size, marble Frontal pose, weight on left leg, right leg slightly forward, with corresponding reflections throughout rest of body. Head tilted to his right and slightly down. Though a descendant of the kouros type, this statue has been thought to represent a victor. The recent identification as a hero, perhaps Theseus, is based largely on the tubular ring around which his hair is wound, since other known examples seem to be worn by gods rather than athletes, for whom a flat fillet is more appropriate. No longer exhibits the rigidity of the kouros stance. Shift of body weight is subtly reflected throughout the body but does not imply motion. Here we see the beginning of the contrapposto stance. In the Kritios Boy the shift in weight does not yet, however, follow through to the level of the shoulders. Face has a vacant look as often in this period. Smooth regularity of features is highly idealized. Hair is shorter than in most Late Archaic kouros. Coiffure is somewhat unusual, but clearly owes much to prototypes in bronze. Just before the Persian sack of Athens (480 BC) the sculpted male freestanding figure witnessed a radical development: the symmetricality and frontality of the standing male was brought to an end by the shift of the figure's weight onto one leg, accompanied by a corresponding rise in the hip positioned over the flexed leg.
The Riace bronze warriors, found in the sea at Riace in south Italy in 1972 and now housed in the Museo Nazionale at Reggio Calabria, date to 460-450 BC. They are attributed by some scholars to Pheidias, as part of the Offering of Marathon monument dedicated by the Athenians at Delphi some thirty years after the battle of Marathon (490 BC). Standing in relaxed contrapposto stance, the figure originally carried shield and spears. Their eyes are inlayed with ivory and onyx, their teeth are of silver and their nipples and lips are copper. These details are added to give them a more lifelike appearance Note the figure's silver eyebrows, silvered teeth and eyes of glass paste. THE SEVERE STYLE (or Transitional Style,) is a phrase used to describe certain sculptures of the Early Classical Period. This style is marked by clarity of form, solidity of the pose and the severe expression of the faces of these works. Riace Warriors, c. 460-450 BCE bronze, 6'6" h.
These figures show the Greek artist's interest in two potentially conflicting modes of description - idealism and naturalism. While his proportion, weight shift, facial features, etc. are very accurate, his physique is idealized to some extent. This illustrates the Greek emphasis on accuracy and observation of the world around them and also their belief in humanity expressing the highest ideals of the gods creation. During the Early Classical period bronze becomes a highly favored sculptural material for several reasons. It is very attractive and as it ages it becomes more beautiful. It is very strong and lighter than solid marble because the pieces are cast and hollow. Bronze is also very durable specially for sculptures exposed to all kinds of environment. It oxides and creates a patina which eventually seals and protects the interior of the metal. Poseidon or Zeus, c. 460 BC, bronze, 6'11" h. This experimentation with action poses and movement was made possible largely as a result of the development of the hollow bronze casting technique, since hollow bronze is a far lighter material than solid stone and also possesses greater tensile strength.
Larger sculptures in bronze were hollow-cast in the cire –perdue process (lost –wax). This process was known by the Sumerians and probably learned by the Greeks from the Egyptians. 1. The figure is modeled in clay which is then covered with a thin layer of wax - and an outer covering of clay 2. Holes are left in the top and bottom of the clay shell 3. The whole package is fired - the clay hardens and the wax runs out leaving a thin space between the two layers of clay 4. Molten bronze (90%copper, 10% tin) is poured in and fills the empty space 5. When it cools the outer shell is broken revealing the bronze 6. Frequently large figures are done in sections then soldered together, also allowing the clay form to be broken out of the interior.
This chariot driver was originally part of a group that included the horses, the chariot and the groom. It was a memorial commemorating victory in a chariot race by King Polyzalos of Sicily (a despot) who owned the horses. Note how the vertical folds of his robe echo the vertical quality of the figure. He looks calm and almost meditative, reflecting on his victory. Again, note the severity of his facial expression and the sculptor's skill in describing it The Charioteer of Delphi c. 470 BC, bronze, 5' 11" high The Charioteer himself is intact except that his left arm is missing. Greek bronzes were cast in sections and then assembled. When discovered, the statue was in three pieces—head and upper torso, lower torso, and right arm. The figure is of a very young man, as is shown by his soft side-curls. Like modern jockeys, chariot racers were chosen for their lightness, but also needed to be tall, so they were frequently teenagers. He is wearing a xystis , the garment which drivers wore while racing. It falls to his ankles and is fastened high at the waist with a plain belt. The two straps that cross high at his upper back prevented the xystis from "ballooning" during the race The statue is one of the few Greek bronzes to preserve the inlaid glass eyes and the copper detailing of the eyelashes and lips. The serene expression of the youth's face is much admired. The headband is of silver and may have been inlaid with precious stones, which have been removed.
Roman marble copy of the Diskobolos (Discus Thrower) created originally in bronze by the sculptor Myron, circa 450 BC. Height: 1.55 metres. Museo Nazionale delle Terme, Rome . Myron was perhaps best known in antiquity for his evocative talent of recreating the real world in sculptural form. Again, we know his work only from later copies, but what is clear is his penchant for depicting movement and experimenting with novel postures. Myron, who lived in 5th-century B.C. Greece, was a well-known pioneer of a new school of art that incorporated motion into free-standing statues. In this case, Myron has caught a discus thrower at the peak of his backswing, poised for eternity just before spinning his body in powerful rotations to give the discus even greater speed at the moment of release. History does not record whether Discobolus recognized a particular Olympic athlete, but Myron is known to have produced other statues honoring specific heroes. Myron's original bronze statue disappeared long ago, but fortunately a Roman artist made a copy in marble, which today is housed at the Italian National Museum in Rome.
Pheidias began working on the statue around 440 BC. Years earlier, he had developed a technique to build enormous gold and ivory statues. This was done by erecting a wooden frame on which sheets of metal and ivory were placed to provide the outer covering.. He sculpted and carved the different pieces of the statue before they were assembled in the temple. When the statue was completed, it barely fitted in the temple. Strabo wrote: ".. although the temple itself is very large, the sculptor is criticized for not having appreciated the correct proportions. He has shown Zeus seated, but with the head almost touching the ceiling, so that we have the impression that if Zeus moved to stand up he would unroof the temple." Strabo was right, except that the sculptor is to be commended, not criticized. It is this size impression that made the statue so wonderful.. The base of the statue was about 6.5 m (20 ft) wide and 1.0 meter (3 ft) high. The height of the statue itself was 13 m (40 ft), equivalent to a modern 4-story building. The Temple of Zeus at Olympia The statue is one of the Ancient Wonders of the World.
Pausanias provides us with an invaluable description of the metopes and pediments, but it seems that his identifications of the master sculptors are unlikely on chronological grounds. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Aabo%3Atlg%2C0525%2C001&query=5%3A10%3A6 The pediments measured approximately 80' long by 10' tall by 3' deep. Such large pediments created two problems; the first was to support the weight of the sculptures, and the second was to produce a unified design which would fill even the narrow areas without a huge discrepancy in scale. The pedimental sculptures show a real break with the themes and compositional style of the archaic tradition, such as those seen at the temple of Apollo at Delphi. As with most Greek sculpture, the original appearance was completely different from what we see today, because many details were added to the stone in paint. At Olympia it seems that the backgrounds of the pediments were also painted in blue . The west pediment has battling groups of Centaurs and young Lapith men and women attending the marriage of their king Peirithoos. The drunken Centaurs broke up the wedding feast, but are fought off, with the help of the King's friend Theseus. The god Apollo stands at the centre, in control. These are among the most striking Early Classical sculptures, with surprising elements of expression far removed from the later idealising styles of the Parthenon. The east pediment shows the contest of Pelops with Oinomaos, King of Pisa, for the hand of his daughter Hippodameia. An oracle is said to have told the King that his son-in-law would murder him, so he challenged each suitor to a chariot race-to-the-death, from Olympia to Corinth. Since Oinomaos' horses were divine the outcome was a foregone conclusion and the loser was killed - all except Pelops who succeeded either by cheating or by the gift of swifter horses from Poseidon.
The grouping of the pediment sculpture on the Temple of Zeus is a vast improvement in regards to usage of space and the realistic portrayal of the figure when compared to the Temple of Aphaia and the Temple of Artemis. Although the faces still retain archaic features, the bodies show a new understanding of modeling and body structure. The muscles are more convincing and a bit more energetic. The faces of Apollo (left) seems expressionless- the mask of beauty given to gods and god-like men. This ideal mask expresses the Greek belief that reason must be above all emotions, even in scenes of tragedy and violent action. Only low creatures (see centaur above) will distort the face with emotion.
In the grouping from the west pediment, Hippodaemia and the Centaur , the bride of Peirithous tries to free herself from the centaur’s grasp, yet her face remains completely neutral in the attack.This distinction between the calm depiction of noble men and women will continue for centuries.
The metopes illustrate all of the many labors of Herakles (Hercules.)
Athens, its agora or marketplace, and its acropolis or citadel, represent the ideals of the fifth century Greek city state. Together they represent the architectural embodiment of democracy, the city as a communal organization, removed from but still revering their roots in nature. Because of this, the city of Athens is a model of urban ideals. agora : marketplace, where goods are bought and sold, people come together to argue, discuss and teach (Socrates, Plato and Aristotle). The town square, an open outdoor room shaped by long buildings at the sides, the stoas. acropolis : the ancient fortress of the town. Becomes the religious enter of the city. Site of ancient shrines to the gods. The largest being the Parthenon, dedicated to Athena, the patron goddess of wisdom and strategy. The High Classical Period Reconstruction of The Acropolis, Athens
The Parthenon 447 BCE Temple dedicated to the patron deity of Athens, Athena, goddess of war, patron of the arts and crafts, and the personification of women. Located on the Acropolis, temple mount, of Athens. Symbol of civic pride and self-confidence of the classical period in Athens. . After defeating the Persians , the Athenians found their city in ruins. The temples of the Acropolis had been destroyed by fire and around it were dirty , unhealthy slums. The general who rebuilt the city was Pericles. He wanted to make every building and statue an honor to the goddess Athena who had brought victory to her people. Athens had led the other cities to victory over the Persians ; now it forced its allies to pay taxes for their protection in future. The treasury was on the island of Delos so the alliance was called the Delian League. Sparta refused to join and formed its own Peloponnesian League.The Delian treasury was then brought to Athens and the money spent on re-building the city rather than protecting the allies
Post and lintel – a series of columns (posts) with beams (lintels) laid across the top. Walls and a roof were added to this basic skeleton The Parthenon was designed by the architects Ictinos and Callicrates, built of local marble from Mount Pendeli and build by a large number of sculpturers, masons, painters and other craftsmen. <ul><li>The Parthenon in Athens took the Greeks </li></ul><ul><li>approximately 10 years to construct the building, </li></ul><ul><li>447-438 B.C. </li></ul><ul><li>The Parthenon is 65 feet high at its apex. </li></ul><ul><li>The peristyle consists of 46 Doric columns, </li></ul><ul><li>17 on each side, 6 on each end (not counting </li></ul><ul><li>the corner columns twice). </li></ul>The architects of the Parthenon avoided straight lines because there are no straight lines in nature. By not having any, therefore, the temple blended more harmoniously into its surroundings. You will find that there is no cement or mortar. How did the Greeks build without cement or mortar? Here’s how they did it. To get a perfect fit between the stones, the Greeks moved the stones back and forth against each other until they fit perfectly together. To make sure that the whole building didn’t fall down, they used bronze and iron clamps and dowels in their buildings
Constant ratio of 4 to 9 In the Parthenon, the controlling ratio for the symmetry of the parts may be expressed algebraically as: x = 2y = 1, where x is the larger number and y is the smaller number Thus, there are seventeen columns on the long sides of the temple and eight columns on the short ends: 17 = (2 x 8) + 1
<ul><li>Aesthetic Ideal </li></ul><ul><li>Although the Parthenon appears to have a simple straight line construction, it shows subtle </li></ul><ul><li>deviations from regularity. </li></ul><ul><li>the foundations, stylobate and entablature all exhibit convex curvature: on the short west and east sides there is a rise of some 6.5 centimetres in 30.8 metres, and on the long north and south flanks a rise of some 12 centimetres in 69.5 metres.. </li></ul><ul><li>the columns have entasis (convex curvature). </li></ul><ul><li>the corner columns are thicker by 6 centimetres and are placed 25 centimetres closer together than the other columns on the building. </li></ul><ul><li>all columns lean inwards by about 7 centimetres off the vertical axis towards the centre of the building </li></ul><ul><li>Columns bulge in the center and lean inward slightly. </li></ul><ul><li>Corner columns are thicker and closer to their neighbors than the others. </li></ul><ul><li>Floor rises about 4 inches toward the center. </li></ul><ul><li>All these help to create an optical illusion of a perfectly angular, balanced building. </li></ul>
The colossal statue of the Athena Parthenos by Pheidias was completed in 438 BC. The original work was made of gold and ivory ( chryselefantine ) and stood some 12 m high. The goddess stood erect, wearing a tunic, aegis, and helmet and holding a goddess of victory, a Nike, in her extended right hand and a spear in her left. The snake represents Erechtheus, a legendary king. On the statue base the creation of Pandora was shown. Within the shield curled the sacred snake of Erichthonios, while the shield interior itself carried in relief the figures of giants assaulting Olympos. The relief on the exterior of the shield depicted Amazons assaulting the Acropolis. Athena's sandals carried a centauromachy while her helmet displayed griffins on the cheek pieces, griffins and deer on the visor, and a sphinx and two Pegasoi as crest supports. One of the most famous sculptures of antiquity survived a half millennium until it was destroyed. At about 295 BC Lachares, a local tyrant, removed the 3/4 mm thick gold plating from the wooden cores of the garments of the Athena Parthenos. Later a thin layer of gold leaf was applied again to regain the impression of the original. Around 250 BC and the last years BC also a major damage occurred to the Parthenon's interior (fire). The sanctuary was rebuilt. Finally the sanctuary was emptied and the temple was remodeled for the use of religions of those who later occupied the territory.
Athena’s competition with Poseidon Birth of Athena, full grown from Zeus’ head
Hestia, Dione and Aphrodite from the east pediment of the Parthenon, max. height: 1.73m. London, British Museum. Though the pediments of the Parthenon are badly damaged, particularly so the west, we do know the subjects depicted: on the west side the fight between Athena and Poseidon for sovereignty over the land of Attica, and on the east side the birth of Athena. T he over-life size figures were sculpted in the round between 437-432 BC. Here we see Hestia, Dione and Aphrodite as part of the divine retinue witnessing the birth of Athena in the east pediment: the rich, fine draperies are sensuously moulded over the female forms.
Doric frieze – a continuous band of relief sculpture under the cornice Metopes – square panels carved with high relief pictures Triglyphs – geometric panels that alternate with metopes The subjects chosen for metopes were: East (14 metopes): Gigantomachy/Battle of Gods and Giants. West (14 metopes): Amazonomachy/Battle of Greeks and Amazons North (32 metopes): Sack of Troy on the eastern and western ends, with what may be interpreted as the Olympian gods witnessing events on the central panels. South (32 metopes): Centauromachy/Battle of Lapiths (Northern Greeks) and centaurs on the eastern and western ends, with an unidentified subject occupying the central panels. Traces of paint preserved on the metopes indicate that the figures were set against a red background.
Cella (Ionic) Frieze – a low relief continuous sculpture that ran along the cella wall and across the inner row of columns Shows a continuous story/ Portrayed civic virtue – a procession of Athenian citizens Though the correct interpretation of the Parthenon frieze is still hotly debated by Classical scholars, it is agreed that most of the frieze depicts a procession of some kind. This procession begins at the southwest corner of the cella and makes its way along the west end of the building: two columns of figures then move simultaneously along the north and south sides of the cella and onto the east front, where a gathering of the gods flanks a central scene located over the entrance to the temple. Approximately half of the frieze (the west side and the west ends of the north and south sides) is occupied with horsemen. There we see horsemen preparing to join the procession. From traces of paint preserved on the frieze, we know that the figures were set against a blue background. Additional paint and metal attachments (such as wreaths, reins and spears), now lost, would further have enlivened the composition .
Poseidon, Apollo and Artemis seated on the east side of the Parthenon frieze, height: 1.06m. Athens, Akropolis Museum. The Olympian gods, unlike the other figures in the frieze, are seated. They are, therefore, depicted on a larger scale than the other figures, as befits their divine status. Here Poseidon, originally holding a trident, converses with the youthful Apollo who is seated next to his twin Artemis: note the clinging draperies characteristic of the later fifth century and, in the slipping garments of the goddess, the gradual move towards divesting the female form of clothing . Sacrificial victims, north side Parthenon frieze, height: 1.06m. Athens, Akropolis Museum. At the east end of the long north and south sides of the frieze the sacrificial animals (cows and sheep) are led in procession.
The Erechtheion, viewed from the south west. The last major building to be erected on the Akropolis in the second half of the fifth century BC was the Erechtheion, or Temple of Athena Polias and Poseidon-Erechtheus. If the Parthenon was intended to be the great imperial showpiece of the Athenian Akropolis, then the Erechtheion in replacing the Old Temple of Athena was intended to be the religious heart of the Athenian state
The orientation of the gateway to the Akropolis was now changed, in order to align the Propylaia with the long east-west axis of the Parthenon. The purpose was to create a monumental entrance to the Akropolis.. The central portion of the Propylaia is composed of an east and a west porch, each possessing six Doric columns. A change in the natural ground level on which the building was erected necessitated the construction of the east porch (situated on the higher ground) on a simple stylobate while the west porch (situated on lower ground) was given a four-stepped base.. Within the building, the change in ground level was accommodated by the cutting of steps leading to the five gateways, each supplied with a lockable wooden door: the largest central gateway was by contrast ramped in order to facilitate the passage of animals and wheeled vehicles on to the Akropolis. A further consequence of the change in natural ground level was the construction of the Propylaia's roof on two levels.
Temple of Athena Nike, viewed from the east. Construction of the small marble Temple seems to have began in the late 430's, and was complete by 424 BC. The architect responsible for the Temple's design was the same Kallikrates who worked on the Parthenon. Unusually, the temple was built completely in the Ionic order. The ground plan of the Temple is amphiprostyle (ie. possessing columns only across the front and back) rather than peripteral. Due to their small size, all columns were monolithic. Behind the columns stood a simple single chamber which housed the wooden cult statue. A continuous Ionic frieze, sculpted in relief, ran around the exterior of the building on all four sides. On the east side, above the entrance to the Temple, was shown a gathering of the gods. The other three sides depicted Greeks fighting Persians and Greeks battling Greeks. In representing real, historical battles rather than mythological ones (such as the Amazonomachy or Centauromachy), the Temple of Athena Nike is extraordinary. However, this perhaps becomes easier to understand when we consider that the sculptures would have been created during the early years of the Peloponnesian War when Athens was facing a very real and present enemy
Relief of a winged Victory figure unlacing her sandal from the marble parapet erected around the Nike bastion. Circa 410 BC the sanctuary of Athena Nike was further elaborated by the addition of a beautifully sculpted marble parapet around the Temple bastion. These reliefs showed winged Nikai (Victory figures) preparing to sacrifice bulls to Athena.
Roman marble copy of the Doryphoros (Spear Bearer) created by Polykleitos circa 440 BC. Height: 2.12 metres. Museo Nazionale, Naples. During the third quarter of the fifth century BC, the two great centres of sculptural development and production were Athens and Argos. While Pheidias and Myron were Athenians, Polykleitos originated from Argos. Again, we face the problem of knowing Polykleitos' work only through later copies. Polykleitos was famous in antiquity for having written a treatise called the 'Canon' (or Rule), which set out a new formula for freestanding figures, based on empirical principles. Though, sadly, the 'Canon' does not survive, these principles seem to have consisted of mathematical measurements and proportions. The Doryphoros, a Polykleitos' creation in bronze, embodies these principles, depicting a figure perfectly balanced between tension and relaxation, action and stasis, youth and maturity. Original title of the piece was "CANON". Polykleitos wrote a treatise "The Canon System of Representing the Human Body". Polykleitos described how beauty could be described within a mathematical model. This would be the sculptural equivalent of the use of mathematical proportions in architecture. .
The contrappasto is exaggerated, yet there is something else at work here. The idea of harmony of opposites is introduced; this is when a relaxed limb compliments a tense limb creating asymmetrical balance. This idea created movement without moving. Because this piece is asymmetrical, it creates a S-curved line starting at the head and ending at the feet. This helps with continuity and the movement of the figure. The Spear Bearer was one of the earliest statues to be show in the fully developed contraposto position. Earlier Greek artisans came up with the idea of contraposto. This is where all the weight of the figure in question appears to put all its weight onto one leg..
Hermes’ body shows the S-curve that is a trademark of Praxiteles’ statues. Our knowledge of Praxiteles has received a great addition, and has been placed on a satisfactory basis, by the discovery at Olympia in 1877 of his statue of Hermes bearing the infant Dionysus, a statue which has become famous throughout the world . Hermes is represented as in the act of carrying the child Dionysus to the nymphs who were charged with his rearing. He pauses on the way, and holds out to the child a bunch of grapes to excite his desire. The young child can hardly be regarded as a success; he is not really childlike. But the figure of the Hermes, full and solid without being fleshy, at once strong and active, is a masterpiece, and the play of surface is astonishing. In the head we have a remarkably rounded and intelligent shape, and the face expresses the perfection of health and enjoyment. What makes late Classical statues different is a new sensuality brought about the new texture of the material. The marble has been treated to look like soft flesh. Some details have also been softened especially in the face. This makes the statues more human-like and attainable. Patterning has also been lost in the hair.
Praxiteles' work is characterized by: Sensuality Lithe proportions Torso curve Gentles curves Sense of complete relaxation Caressing treatment of the marble Faint smile Soft, "veiled" modeling of features
Poxyomenos or the “Scraper” is an athlete cleaning himself after competition or a workout. He has rubbed himself with oil to dissolve dirt and suspend particles of sand, and is now scraping the residue off with a strigel. "Other artists make men as they are, I make them as they appear" . These are the words of Lysippos of Sikyon, expressing his unique style. With him the art of sculpture receives new blood. The stocky full of muscles figure of Polykleitos Doryphoros is replaced by a more slender and graceful one. Lysippos makes the legs slender and longer, the head also smaller, whose ratio is not one seventh of Polykleitos but one eighth. All these result in a more delicate, taller figure. But the real significance of Lysippos is that he revolutionizes the art by giving to his works, a true third dimension. In this statue he succeeds that, by positioning the hands in such a way, extending one to the full, the other bent slightly underneath, all these in perfect harmony. From whichever point you view the statue, this is its true face. Most of his works invite you to look them from all directions.
Marble grave stele of Ampharete holding her grandchild, from the Kerameikos, circa 410-400 BC. On first view we might assume this stele to mark the grave of mother and child, but the inscription above the figures identifies them as grandmother with grandchild. It reads, "My daughter's beloved child is the one I hold here, the one whom I held on my lap while we looked at the light of the sun when we were alive and still hold now that we are both dead". Grave stele of Hegeso from the Kerameikos Cemetery, circa 400 BC. Athens National Archaeological Museum. Commonly in the two figure Classical grave stelai, one person is seated. Here Hegeso, identified by the inscription at the top of the stele, is seated on a klismos , or high-backed chair, her feet on a foot-stool, and chooses a piece of jewellery - originally painted on to the scene - from the casket offered by the maidservant. Sometimes, however, it is difficult to distinguish the dead from the living on the grave stelai. Often a man and woman will shake hands (the dexiosis motif) in farewell, one seated, one standing: it is usually assumed that the seated figure is the deceased, but we can be by no means sure of this.
The tholos was a circular building devoted to Asklepios and its diameter was 21,80 meters. It was surrounded by 26 Doric columns, 7 meters tall, which were supporting the architrave, the circular metopes and frieze. The interior of the cella had been painted by Pausias of Sikyon . Inside there was a peripteros and a second series of 14 Corinthian columns. The floor had been constructed from black and white pieces of marble . T he Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus was the most celebrated healing centre of the ancient world. Asklepios was the most important healer god of antiquity Corinthian capital. It was found in a fill below the foundations of the Tholos, buried there already in antiquity. It is considered to be the "model" of the capitals of the inner colonnade of the Tholos, designed by Polykleitos the Younger. This is one of the eralist examples of Corinthian.
T he theatre of the Asklepieion of Epidaurus is the ideal specimen of the achievements and experience of the ancient Greeks on theatre construction. It was already praised in antiquity by Pausanias for its symmetry and beauty. It has the typical Hellenistic structure with the three basic parts: the cavea, the orchestra and the stage-building (skene). The core of any Greek theater is the orchestra , the “dancing place” of the chorus and the chief performance space. The audience sat in the theatron , the “seeing place,” on semi-circular terraced rows of benches (in the earliest theaters these were wooden; they were later built of stone). The Greeks often built these in a natural hollow (a koilon ), though the sides were increasingly reinforced with stone, Scholars often use the Latin word for hollow, cavea , to designate the seating in an ancient theater. Stairs mounting to the highest levels divide the sections of seats into wedges; at Epidaurus there are 55 semi-circular rows, providing an estimated seating capacity of 12,000-14,000. Although the name theatron suggests an emphasis on sight, in reality actors and chorus would look rather small even from seats only part-way up, and from the top rows one would see mostly colors and patterns of movement rather any details of costuming or masks. The acoustics in this theater, however, are magnificent, and words spoken very softly in the orchestra can be heard in the top rows On the far side of the orchestra was the stage building, or skene (meaning “tent”). This was a covered structure, originally a temporary wooden building, where the actors stored their masks and costumes and performed quick changes out of the sight of the audience