Provence 2007: Orange
John and I hopped in the car at 10:30 am and by lunchtime we were in Orange for lunch. Orange, 20 minutes north of Avignon, is famous for its Roman Theater built around 1 ad. It is the only remaining ancient Roman Theatre in Europe with the wall intact making for astounding acoustics. In fact today it is the site for many a show with top artists.
The statues you see on the wall had removable heads that were switched out with the latest emperor. Same body different head. A variety of shows were performed from Greek tragedies to mime which became the most popular form of theatre by the 5 century Ad. Each show started with an animal sacrifice. Seating was strict and done according to social rank with nobility closest to the stage and beggars, slaves and prostitutes in the nosebleed sections. Shows were free and on public holidays. One other item of note from our photos is the double rows of knobs on the upper outside of the Theatre wall. There are holes in the middle into which ropes were threaded that were then attached to a wench down below and above a velum or canvas which protected performers and spectators from the elements. A necessity when by the end of the Republic when there were over 150 holidays or shows a year!
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