Theatre of Trimontium
Philippopolis (Plovdiv), Bulgaria
108 - 114 CE
Outer diameter - 82 m.
The spectator seats are orientated to the south, towards the ancient city in the lowland and the Rhodope Mountains. In outline, the theatre is a semi-circle with an outer diameter of 82 meters. The theatre itself is divided into the seating section (auditorium) and the stage (orchestra). The auditorium, the area in which people gathered, is hollowed out of a hill or slope, while the outer radian seats required structural support and solid retaining walls. The auditorium was not roofed. The spectator seats (cavea) surround the stage – the orchestra – which has the shape of a horseshoe, 26.64 meters long, includes 28 concentric rows of marble seats, divided into two tiers by an aisle (diazoma). The upper part of the tiers is interrupted by narrow radial stairways, which divide the cavea into wedge-shaped sectors (kerkides). The theatre also has a podium, which supports the columns of the scaenae frons.
Similar to all the theatres on the territory of the Roman Empire, in the theatre of Trimontium the honorary spectator seats were inscribed. There were inscriptions not only for the representatives of the city council but also for magistrates, friends of the Emperor, etc. Some honorary inscriptions show that the building was used as the seat of the Thracian provincial assembly. Built with around 7,000 seats, each section of seating had the names of the city quarters engraved on the benches so the citizens knew where they were to sit.