Memorial to the Wife of Herodes Atticus
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus, located next door to the Dionysos Theatre, was probably the finest theatre in Greece and was built in 160 A.D. by Tiberius Claudius Atticus Herodes (c.107-177 A.D.), a very important figure at this period of time, who was a teacher and philosopher.
The theatre was actually built as a memorial to his wife, Regillas, who died in 160 A.D. It was actually the third Odeion to be built in Athens, after the Odeion of Agrippa and Odeion of Peicles.
Herodes, originally from Marathon, inherited a vast fortune when his father died. This fortune was also increased due to some activities that Herodes undertook. In 117 A.D., when he was only aged 16, he assisted Emperor Hadrian in acceding to the Roman throne. In 143 A.D., he became the consul to Rome, and was a teacher to Emperors Lucius Verus and Marcus Aurelius.
The theatre itself is a visually beautiful one, consisting of a three-storey stage building. This consisted of a central block with two separate wings. The walls were broken up by columns and windows, which were decorated with stunning statues and other works of art. The theatre, built into the Acropolis rock is semicircular in shape, with a radius of 38 meters (124 ft). It can seat up to 5000 spectators.
The facade of the theatre was 28 meters (92 ft) in height, and is a visual treat, set against the backdrop of the Acropolis and Parthenon, which look on majestically. Unfortunately, this theatre is only open to the public during special performances or concerts, and the Athens Festival, which takes place here every summer.
However, on approaching the Acropolis for a visit to the Parthenon, or the Dionysos Theatre, one will almost certainly make a brief stop here, and admire the theatre and its dominating and inspiring appearance.