The Theater at Caesarea Maritima

National Park in Israel

The theater in Caesarea Maritima is one of the most ancient and magnificent Roman theaters discovered in the Holy Land. It was built in the time of Herod and was active for centuries until the Byzantine period. The location is chosen very carefully. The theater held about 4,000 seats. It was originally built entirely of local sandstone and plaster and later in the days of Septimus Severus incorporated marble and porphyry columns. The theater was unveiled by the Italian delegation in the late 1950s. The venues featured among other things mimicry and pantomime performances that included also athletics shows and even executions!



More About the Theater at Caesarea Maritima

In the 1961 excavations, the famous Pilate Stone was discovered in the ruins of the Roman theater, dedicating the “Tiberium” to the prefect Pontius Pilate. But it is not known what Tiberium is, and it is assumed that it is a structure designed to glorify the name of Emperor Tiberius. In other words, some kind of an altar. And this inscription was something of a dedicatory inscription honoring the emperor Tiberius. Pilate Stone is currently on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. In addition, there is a replica on site just next to Herod Palace.



Greek Theaters Vs Roman Theater

How do we know the theater at Caesarea Maritima is a Roman theater built by Herod and not a Greek theater. In fact is there any difference between these two types of theaters? So Roman theatres derive from and are part of the overall evolution of earlier Greek theatres. Indeed, much of the architectural influence on the Romans came from the Greeks; and theatre structural design was no different from other buildings.



However, Roman theatres have specific differences, such as generally being built upon their own foundations instead of earthen works or a hillside and being completely enclosed on all sides. The theaters of Rome had much in common with those of Greece. They were both rounded and had sloping seats for the purpose of making the play audible to a very large crowd.

But there some very distinct differences. Greek Theaters were carved out of a hillside while Roman theaters were built up from the solid ground using either cement or stone. Also, the orchestra is larger because the structures were used for other events which required more space. For example, we know the Roman Theater at Caesarea Maritima held naval battles in the area of the orchestra.



apt-stamp-white@2x
arik-about

Hi! My name is Arik Haglili, an Israeli native who decided to dedicate his life to share my knowledge about the Holy Land to those that are interested to know more about this amazing piece of land. My career as a private tour guide started at the International School For the Studying of the Holocaust and the rest is history. 

Did you know the Hoopoe is Israel's national bird?! For more cool info about Israel, join our ever growing community and get exclusive travel tips, and giveaways!

King Herod's Palaces

RELATED POSTS

Khirbet Kerak Ware

Khirbet Kerak Ware (Khirbet Kerak Pottery) is a ceramic family of pottery vessels from the Early Bronze Age III (2300-2700 BCE). This Khirbet Kerak Ware ...

Bullae

Bullae are little lumps of clay that were used as sealings in antiquity. gradually Bullae became the new encasement for scrolls.

King Herod’s Palaces

King Herod's Palaces are part of his colossal building projects throughout Judea, including the fortress at Masada, and Herodium.

The Cultic Area in Caesarea

The Cultic Area in Caesarea has been a vibrant area in the port city of Caesarea Maritima since its establishment 2,000 years ago.

Ancient Jerusalem’s Water Systems

This post is about Ancient Jerusalem’s water systems. The main water supply in biblical Jerusalem was the Gihon spring which comes out of the eastern ...

The City of David

The City of David is an archaeological wonder that is being discovered layer by layer. Located in eastern Jerusalem; the ancient City of David is ...

The Old Synagogue at Meron

The Old Synagogue at Meron is one of the oldest synagogues found in Israel. And is the earliest example of the so-called 'Galilean' synagogues

Terra Sigillata Pottery

Terra Sigillata refers to a style of fine pottery used in Italy; Gaul; Germany. And throughout the Roman Empire from the first century BCE to ...

Abydos Ware

So Abydos pottery ware is a unique pottery group from the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC. Now the group mainly includes jugs; juglets and ...

The Temple at Ein Gedi

The Chalcolithic Temple at Ein Gedi is one of the three sanctuaries dated to the Chalcolithic period that can be found in the area.

Need help?

Skip to content