The virtual theatres

The Odeon of Pericles

This is the Odeon of Pericles, situated next to the Theatre of Dionysus on the south slope of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. Although no longer standing, recent excavations have revealed the exact site of the Odeon to be below the south-eastern corner of the Acropolis, in the sanctuary of Dionysus. The Odeon is believed to have been the first roofed theatre building devoted to performance.

The model that you can see here is a visualisation of the Odeon based on a combination of evidence gleaned from both historical writings and archaeological excavations undertaken in the twentieth century.

Standing to the right of the Theatre of Dionysus as we look towards the Acropolis, the Odeon of Pericles was constructed between 446-442 BC. Built mainly from timber, the Odeon is believed to have stood for over three centuries before being destroyed by fire and later rebuilt using stone. The Odeon of Pericles was regarded as being one of the finest architectural wonders of ancient Athens.

The Odeon was used for theatrical performances and poetry readings, and probably accommodated political and philosophical lectures. The Odeon also hosted rehearsals for the Lenaean and Panathenaic festivals, as it provided the acting companies with a year-round housed theatre-space, as well as being used as a gathering place for choruses, a store for theatrical props, and a place to stow tribute to the gods, such as the armour of the dead.