Roman Odeon

Location: Town   

The Roman Odeon of Kos, Dodecanese: The ancient Odeon found at Kos was built by the Romans around the 2nd and the 3rd centuries. It was found in the early 20th century along with the Gymnasium and the Roman baths, all of them in general good condition. These constructions are placed on the east and west of the Casa Romana, which is part of the Ancient Town and its several excavation areas. One of the main advantages of this complex, is that it concentrates many important places to the point that they can be comfortably visited during just one walk, without having to travel across distant points and without wasting time or spending money.

Regarding the Roman Odeon, although it has been restored, its first nine rows of seats are still the original marble ones that were occupied the important citizens of the time. After a landing, the Odeon has other five rows of seats made of granite, destined for regular people. It currently has a total number of 18 rows of seats. Some other parts that were also found in good condition were the floor, the wings, and the orchestra pit. In addition, several statues have been discovered as well.

Faithful to their tradition and ideology, the Romans built the Odeon at Kos, as well as some others across their Empire. In fact, their famous amphitheatres were the truly centres of entertaining in Rome, being the Coliseum the largest one, able to seat a total of 50.000 people. Basically, people went to the amphitheatres like the Odeon to see fights between slaves, criminals, prisoners of war, and sometimes between them and wild animals. This tradition began with the idea of entertaining funerals, and consisted of one man fighting another.

However, there were so many people that crowded together to watch these fights that it was necessary to build some special places to hold them. In fact, this became so popular that there used to be many schools offering special training to turn ordinary men into Gladiators. Of course, this was in part used by the Romans as a distraction in order to keep people happy and avoid them to confront them in political terms.

Although the Romans usually receive the credits for these kinds of inventions, they were highly influenced by one of their dominated nations: the Greek, from which they took many tips; for example in terms of light and sound at theatre plays. For these occasions, the Greeks built special precincts with semi-circular rows of sittings, where the actors would perform outdoors. They were very related to this type of art, as they were the pioneers of the tragedy concept, elaborating intricate myths that were expressed in many tales.

Therefore, in frame of the rich cultural exchange that Rome and Greece shared, Romans took many important facts of Greek culture like the ones just mentioned, and used them for their benefit. The available remains of these times in our days are the ruins of these places, such as the Roman Odeon at Kos, which deserves to be explored and appreciated as a living piece of History that captured the ancient splendor, and kept itself in very good conditions.

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