Remains of temple found under ancient theater on Greek island of Lesvos

ATHENS, May 16 (Xinhua) — Remains of a 1st century AD temple were found by archaeologists under the ancient Theater of Mytilini on the island of Lesvos in the northeastern Aegean Sea, the Greek national news agency AMNA reported on Thursday.

The remains of the temple, which is believed to have been dedicated to Nemesis, the goddess of divine retribution and revenge in Greek mythology, were found in an entry passage of the theater under a series of large limestones, AMNA reported, citing an article on the local news website ‘Sto Nisi’ (On the Island).

According to experts, the theater was built in two phases: in the Hellenistic era (3rd century BC) and the Roman era (1st century AD).

The temple is believed to date from the 1st century AD and was identified by a stone altar for offerings and a series of dedicatory inscriptions by priests and prominent personalities.

According to leading excavator and head of the Lesvos Ephorate of Antiquities Pavlos Triantafyllidis, the temple’s existence did not come as a surprise to experts, since an arena for gladiator duels was built at the theatre during Roman times.

“As their contests had to conclude with the serving of justice and the awarding of victory to the best gladiator, the existence of a temple of Nemesis was obligatory,” Triantafyllidis said.

Excavations in the area continue with the help of the Politecnico di Bari’s Department of Civil Engineering.

Diazoma, a movement whose mission is to help protect, restore and promote ancient Greek theaters, quotes ancient Greek historian and biographer Plutarch (46-120 AD), who said the Theater was so important in antiquity that Pompei copied its plans to build a similar theater in Rome in 55 BC, which in turn became a model for subsequent such buildings.

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