Roman Odeon of Kos

The Roman Auditorium is thought to have been one of the most crucial public buildings of ancient Kos. It was found by the Italian archeologist Laurenzi in an excavation conducted in 1929.

Erected during the 2nd century A.D it is believed to have taken the place of an older public building that could have been the parliament of the city.

Despite the auditorium being originally designed for hosting musical competitions, it was also used as the seat for the local senate.

The building was initially roofed and seated approximately 750 persons. Its cavea with a northern orientation was supported by arched constructions built on pillars of caster masonry (opus caementicium). It had fourteen rows of marble seats, nineteen of which have been restored, and was divided by a corridor into two sections; the cunei of the lower section were divided by four staircases. Under the cavea lied two semicircular porticos and a series of rooms used as shops or workrooms.

The form of the scene was unusual: an irregular pentagon made of two parts, the proscenium (front of scene) and the paraskenio (backstage), communicating thanks to three entrances. On both sides of the scene were two more doors leading to the parodoi (passageways). The floor of the circular orchestra was decorated with opus sectile (marble works), while mosaic floorings adorned the parodoi.

The inner galleries of the Odeon were decorated with marble statues initially standing in niches; the most notable is that of Hippokrates, today exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Kos.

Today the auditorium hosts a number of cultural happenings. Moreover, within the Auditorium the exhibition of photography of the Aegean Institute of archeological studies is housed.

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