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Audience dynamics in Philippopolis’ theater and their shaping of roman Thrace’s metropolis



Set between the hills Dzhambaz and Taksim Tepe in modern Plovdiv, Bulgaria, ancient Philippopolis’ theater is a highly visible monument to its city’s prominence in the Roman province of Thrace between the late 1stand 4th centuries CE.1 The theater was constructed in a city-wide building campaign in the last two decades of the 1st century CE, relatively soon after the emperor Claudius established direct Roman control (45-46 CE) over what had been an independent client kingdom of Thrace (fig. 1). The theater’s construction thus marked the city’s growth in response to Thrace’s steadily maturing participation in the Roman Empire.2 As a monumental indicator of leisure and the only one of its kind known to have been built in inland Thrace before later in the 2nd century, the theater shows that life at Philippopolis was thriving at this pivotal time for Roman Thrace’s development.3 Its construction even coincided with an imperial grant of “metropolis” status to Philippopolis.4 For these reasons, the theater began as an especially potent symbol of its city’s privileged place among Roman Thrace’s urban centers, culturally and politically.5

“Map of Roman Thrace and its Surrounding Provinces with Some Important Cities”, 2019, from the Ancient World Mapping Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Fig. 1. “Map of Roman Thrace and its Surrounding Provinces with Some Important Cities”, 2019, from the Ancient World Mapping Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The theater did not only symbolize Philippopolis’ prominence in the new settlement hierarchy that emerged in Roman Thrace between the late 1st and early 2nd centuries CE. For the next c. 300 years, the entertainments (dramatic performances, musical events, and gladiatorial games and animal hunts) and civic and provincial assemblies hosted by the theater regularly brought together large audiences that broadly represented the demographics of Philippopolis and its hinterland. Since the city was a large population and administrative center, the theater likely also regularly hosted visitors from elsewhere in Thrace or nearby provinces.

By frequently bringing together crowds of spectators differentiated by factors like origin and status for sustained interpersonal exchange, the theater could promote various interactions.6 As with all Roman public entertainment venues, the emotionally charged performances that people witnessed en masse in the theater would have been especially conducive to interactivity.7 Audience dynamics (composition and interactions) facilitated by Philippopolis’ theater thus had great potential to shape the intangible and tangible parameters of urban life at Thrace’s metropolis in ways that displayed a dialogue among local, regional, and interregional influences.

The following discussion uses the theater’s architecture and inscribed and relief-decorated monuments found in the theater, in and around Philippopolis, and in the city’s hinterland to demonstrate how this potential was realized. In doing so, this discussion is unconventional for at least two reasons in comparison with earlier scholarship on Roman public entertainment and Philippopolis’ theater in particular. First, like this volume’s other chapters, this one intends to highlight the multiple facets of audience experiences in the Roman world. This means not only calling attention to identity markers of spectators individually or in groups when possible but also differentiating the ways these spectators responded to each other and performers.

Study of Philippopolis’ theater has certainly touched on these topics. Most notably, Lyudmil Vagalinski has examined varied types of evidence (e.g., monuments, coins, sculpture, and ceramic vessels) for gladiatorial games, animal hunts, and athletic events at the city. Petya Andreeva similarly compiled much of the known epigraphic and numismatic data for festivals in Early Roman Philippopolis.8 Nikolai Sharankov’s work on inscriptions from the theater has also profiled several of the building’s elite patrons.9 Studies like these have identified prominent spectators, confirmed the kinds of performances the theater hosted, and highlighted specific games, among other findings. Such studies, however, do not dwell on audience composition or expound on theater–goers’ varied interactions. This study contends that when the theater’s architecture is interrogated further and connected to archaeological data from in an around the entertainment venue, the diversity of audience experiences can be reconstructed more fully.

This treatment is also unconventional for insisting that Philippopolis’ theater actively participated in the interactions it hosted. Like many past studies of Roman public entertainment venues, scholarship on Philippopolis’ theater largely focuses reductively on how the building was shaped by human activity and reflected imperial authority. This chapter instead emphasizes that, through games and assemblies, the theater promoted ideas (e.g., communal leisure or esteem for martial skill) that people took into wider Philippopolis and expressed in material form. In this way, the theater shaped both intangible and tangible characteristics of urban life.10

In exploring audience dynamics and their effects on Philippopolis, this chapter first touches on the city’s history until the 2nd century CE to generally assess audience demographics. Discussion then turns to the theater’s architecture to establish its capacities to shape exchange among audience members and performers before next addressing the evidence for this exchange’s effects on urban life. Since the theater’s restoration (1979-1981) and excavations (1968-1978, 1982-1984, 2008-2009) are not fully published, some of its features are not clearly dated.11

This chapter’s final section analyzes the material manifestations of the interactions through which the theater participated in urban life. The cohesive effects of audiences’ interactions are addressed first. Civic ornamentation and commemorative monuments indicate that performances endorsed communal support for moral values like esteem for martial skill and reverence toward the gods. References to Philippopolis’ privileges on statue bases also show that the theater reinforced civic identity/pride. The building articulated separate group identities at the same time. Honorific statues there and in other public spaces highlight that games and assemblies bolstered the class consciousness of elites tied to provincial administration. This same evidence attests that assemblies encouraged identification by civic tribe. Other monuments display performers’ esprit de corps. All this evidence presents the theater as a microcosm of the interplay among local, regional, and wider influences that made Roman Philippopolis “the metropolis of the Thracians.”

Sketching Out Audience Composition
Based on Philippopolis’ Urban Development

Philippopolis had been inhabited for thousands of years before it gained this title. Archaeology reveals that its defensible hills, rich agricultural land, and position on a major river (the Hebros) and land route – all in central Thrace – had made it attractive to settlers since c. 6,000 BCE. When Theopompus mentions the site in the context of Philip II’s campaign in Thrace (342-340 BCE), he implies that it was a noteworthy urban center. Finds from Philippopolis’ three largest hills only generally support this idea. Theopompus writes that the site’s strategic value led Philip II to settle Macedonian veterans there, at which point he renamed it after himself (Phil., f. 107).12 Thracians and Macedonians thus seem to have been most of Philippopolis’ earliest residents,13 although the site would have attracted settlers of other ethnicities. Greek traders from Asia Minor, for example, had operated out of nearby Emporion Pistiros since the mid-5th century BCE.14

The next watershed moment in Philippopolis’ development was the late 1st century BCE, when it became an administrative seat in the Roman client kingdom of Thrace (13 BC-45 CE). Apparently the first client king Rhoemetalkes I (r. 13 BCE-12 CE; Tac. Ann. 2.64)15 sought to enhance the site as a hub of activity in central Thrace by authorizing large-scale projects like a grid-plan of streets and a monumental agora. The lack of evidence for similar initiatives at the few other urban centers known for inner Thrace at this time and the fact that most of Rhoemetalkes I’s coins come from Philippopolis’ territory both speak to the site’s special status in the client kingdom. So too does Tacitus’ mention that Rhoemetalkes II and Roman forces under Trebellienus Rufus were besieged by rebels there in 21 CE (Ann., 3.38-39).16 Philippopolis’ distinction would have attracted settlers and visitors from across Thrace. As an administrative center, for example, it would have hosted more Thracians from the Odrysian, Sapaean, and Astaean tribes that the Romans authorized to supply the kingdom’s regional governors and kings (Tac. Ann., 2.64).17

The opportunities that the city’s special status in the client kingdom offered people in Thrace would have attracted immigrants or visitors from Roman provinces, too. Some foreign architects and craftsmen, for example, likely helped to build Philippopolis’ agora since its form, a square colonnaded courtyard surrounded by shops, was typical for agoras built at Roman-affiliated cities across the Mediterranean in the 1st century BCE-1st century CE (e.g., Athens, Delos, and new cities in Spain).18 The required expertise was likely not unfamiliar to local craftsmen or ones from elsewhere in Thrace like its Greek colonies. Still, the agora’s rare monumentality for inland Thrace and Rhoemetalkes I’s eagerness to please Rome make foreign involvement plausible.19

Inscriptions show that increasingly more immigrants from around the Roman Empire joined urban life over the 1st century CE and especially after Thrace became a province. Indeed, the epigraphic record of Philippopolis and its hinterland for the late 1st–late 3rd centuries CE reveals various Greek and Latin names that, together with other inscribed information, indicate origins in provinces near and far.20 Army service in the Moesian provinces is a prominent example of how Roman administrative priorities fueled Roman Philippopolis’ diversity. Ivo Topalilov has used honorific and funerary monuments to explore the careers of several legionary and auxiliary veterans who participated in life at Philippopolis, sometimes as city council members in the latter’s case. Their origins are rarely clear but besides Thrace include eastern provinces like Syria.21

Philippopolis was sufficiently cosmopolitan by the late 1st century CE to merit becoming the “metropolis of the Thracians.” This title also recalls the site’s urban history, to which the city’s majority inhabitants of Thracian and to some extent Macedonian and Greek ancestry would have been living testaments. Based on the University of Leiden’s “An Empire of 2,000 Cities” project, Damjan Donev estimates Philippopolis’ intramural population to have been one of the largest for Thrace in the 2nd-3rd centuries CE, between c. 11,500 and 12,500. This number was likely higher and does not account for those in the city’s hinterland, which Donev estimates to have been large (c. 7,000 km2). The estimated capacity of Philippopolis’ stadium (c. 20,000-30,000), which was built when Hadrian was emperor, likely approximates Philippopolis’ combined intra- and extramural population.22 As a prominent monument to its city’s metropolis status, then, the theater was a place where this status was reinforced through exchange among large numbers of the diverse individuals (Thracians, Macedonians, Greeks, traders, legionary and auxiliary veterans, etc.) who lived at and around the city. How this is so is captured in the varied material expressions of this exchange (discussed further below) and in the entertainment venue’s structural features.

The Structural Features and
Development of Philippopolis’ Theater

Philippopolis’ cosmopolitanism is reflected in its theater’s design. Like the theaters at Maroneia and Thasos in Aegean Thrace and others in Macedonia (e.g., Philippi, Dion, and Stobi), Philippopolis’ mixed aspects of Greek and Roman theater architecture.23 The seating area (cauea) was the focal point for audience interactions. The Greek-style, over-semicircular cauea first had two tiers (ima and summa caueae), but a third, marked by wall remnants behind the middle of the summa cauea, was added in the early 4th century CE (fig. 2).24 The original tiers were separated by a wide (c. 2.5 m) walkway (praecinctio) and an orthostat podium wall that elevated the upper tier to bolster spectators’ viewing angle (fig. 3). All staircases (c. 0.6 m wide) in the lower caueae met at this praecinctio. Spectators amassed here after using a vaulted stairway centrally located under the summa cauea. This stairway continued at a slight incline and acute angle out behind the upper seating tier. A VIP box was set above this entrance in the summa cauea.25

“Plan of Philippopolis’ theater”, modified from Fig. 1, p. 69 in Martinova-Kyutova and Sharankov 2018, by M. Martinova-Kyutova and architect D. Mushtanova.
Fig. 2. “Plan of Philippopolis’ theater”, modified from Fig. 1, p. 69 in Martinova-Kyutova and Sharankov 2018, by M. Martinova-Kyutova and architect D. Mushtanova.
“The walkway between the ima and summa caveae in Philippopolis’ theater”, photo by author, 2017.
Fig. 3. “The walkway between the ima and summa caveae in Philippopolis’ theater”, photo by author, 2017.

The ways the cauea’s features regulated the duration and density of interpersonal exchange meant that the seating area enabled simultaneously cohesive and differentiating spectator experiences. In the praecinctio(nes), staircases between seating wedges, and vaulted stairway under the summa cauea, people divided in everyday life by various factors had chances to intermingle for sustained periods of time. However, these spaces were also transitional, open to brief meet–ups for small groups on occasion but mainly intended to move spectators to and from their status-appropriate seating. Fraternization of spectators contrary to status distinctions was then limited by the seating tiers and to some extent their rows. Simultaneously, though, like the aforementioned transitional spaces the seating tiers worked together to challenge these distinctions and others by enabling close sustained contact within large cross-sections of Philippopolitans.26

The separation of the whole cauea from the orchestra by another podium wall would have further promoted a sense of cohesion among spectators from different walks of life (fig. 4). Inspired by barriers around amphitheater arenas, the wall’s height (1.75 m) created a better viewing angle for spectators and provided a protective barrier to stop gladiators’ and animal hunter’s performances from spilling into the audience. While the central and final staircases of the seven in the ima cauea reached the orchestra, vertical slots at their ends indicate they were closed with doors or metal grills for animal hunts. The walkway at the top of the podium wall also had sockets for installing a netting system when hunts featured high-jumping animals such as big cats.27

“View of Philippopolis’ theater from the cavea”, photo by author, 2015.
Fig. 4. “View of Philippopolis’ theater from the cavea”, photo by author, 2015.

Vagalinksi argues that the podium wall was added later since to him the three staircases in the ima cauea that reach the orchestra indicate that lower rows were removed for the wall, as at Philippi, Thasos, and Maroneia’s theaters (all built in the 4th century BCE) between the late 1st and mid-2nd century CE. It seems more likely that the podium wall was original to Philippopolis’ theater for two reasons. First, removed lower seating does not seem to have been found. Second, the theaters at Stobi and Dion (the “Roman theater”), which were built between the late 1st and early 2nd century CE, both had podium walls with staircases that reached the orchestra.28

The tall Greek-style stage (proscaenium) of the scene building (scaena) supplied the opposite side of the orchestra-arena. According to Greek theater architecture, engaged columns (Ionic) supporting an architrave decorated its façade and allowed for replaceable scenery boards (fig. 4). Three doorways connected the scaena’s bottom story and the orchestra. While they would have been closed during gladiatorial games and animal hunts, they likely introduced performers and animals into the orchestra (and permitted the former’s egress). Indeed, given the lack of animal pens elsewhere in the theater, animals were most likely caged under the scaena before hunts.29

The later installation of a passageway from behind and under the scaena into an elevator shaft at the orchestra’s center further supports this possibility (fig. 2). Although not necessarily a more efficient way to introduce animals, gladiators, and animal hunters into the orchestra, this update would have permitted more visually captivating preludes to combat. It did not necessarily negate the use of the three doors in the proscaenium. The update most likely dates to the late 2nd–early 3rd century CE since the theaters at Philippi in Macedonia and Tralles, Magnesia ad Meander, and Sardis in Asia Minor were similarly upgraded at this time.30

Gladiators, animal hunters, and animals also could have entered the theater via the passages between the scaena and cauea (aditus maximi) since doorways were set in the scaena’s sides (fig. 2). The aditus maximi further provided access to the orchestra for spectators who sat in the ima cauea. All spectators could reach the aditus maximi by hillside staircases at the scaena’s sides, but many likely preferred the passage under the summa cauea to these more strenuous approaches. Perhaps, however, a more direct approach to the theater from the base of its hillside location was more convenient for some spectators. The aditus maximi were first uncovered but were later vaulted to join the scaena and cauea as in Roman architectural tradition (fig. 5). While obscuring the lower porches in the scaenae frons’ protruding sides (parascaenia), this change facilitated closing the aditus maximi for gladiatorial games and animal hunts. The masonry and moldings of the aditus maximi’s vaults are similar to those of the vaulted passage in Philippopolis’ stadium (fig. 6), so they were likely added when it was built in the 130s CE.31

“View toward the western parascaeneum and aditus in Philippopolis’ theater”, photo by author, 2017.
Fig. 5. “View toward the western parascaeneum and aditus in Philippopolis’ theater”, photo by author, 2017.
“Vaulted entrance in the curved end of Philippopolis’ stadium”, photo by author, 2013.
Fig. 6. “Vaulted entrance in the curved end of Philippopolis’ stadium”, photo by author, 2013.

Unfortunately, no examples of dramatic performances in the theater are known. The orchestra potentially held choral performances on occasion while the stage indicates a capacity to showcase mimes and pantomimes (if their dancing did not require the orchestra) and actors in renditions of old Greek and Roman tragedies or comedies.32 The Roman-style three-story scaenae frons with its Greek-style parascaenia, decorative Ionic- and Composite-order porches, and statue-studded appearance would have made an inspiring backdrop. Actors perhaps even appeared in the parascaenia’s lower porches, although less effectively after the aditus maximi were vaulted.33 Inscriptions and coins do indicate that the theater hosted musical events at Pythian-style athletic games at least in 214/5 and 218/9 CE (Alexandrian and Kendrisian Pythia, respectively). Such events included any of those typical for such games (e.g., kithara and aulos playing).34

Musical events, dramatic performances, gladiatorial games, and animal hunts in the theater likely consistently attracted its full capacity. This has been estimated at c. 3,000-3,500 spectators by previous scholars, but measurements of row lengths based on the theater’s published plans support a larger maximum capacity of c. 4,260 people.35 Taking the estimated capacity of Philippopolis’ stadium as an estimate for the city’s full population by the mid-2nd century CE (c. 20,000-30,000 inhabitants), this means that c. 14.2-21.3% of these people could have attended a day of games. More would have experienced games over multiple festival days. Assuming overgenerously that each successive day’s audiences were completely new, up to c. 28.4-42.6% of the city’s population could have passed through the theater by day two. These percentages would have increased substantially after the third seating tier was added; if it stretched all along the original summa cauea, it would have held at least the same number of spectators c. 2,710.

These percentages are based on many unknowns, such as the frequency with and numbers in which people from wider Thrace or elsewhere visited the theater. Other unknowns involve the logistics of public entertainment at Philippopolis. Few games are known: the Alexandrian and Kendrisian Pythia and two days of games between the late 2nd and early 3rd centuries CE that are advertised on a public invitation. Philippopolis’ full festival calendar is obscured and thus so is the percentage of inhabitants who attended games in a year.36 It should also be considered to what extent audiences represented intramural over extramural residents.

Estimating that up to c. 28.4-42.6% of Philippopolitans could attend a two-day festival between the late 1st and early 4th century CE quantitatively underscores the theater’s significant potential to mold urban life through audience dynamics. Even lower percentages could have ensured that most inhabitants of Philippopolis and its hinterland and many visitors experienced games in the theater in a year. Moreover, these numbers suggest that at any given time, those who had not attended the theater had heard first or second-hand about someone else’s experiences.37

While most went to the theater for performances, some attended meetings of Philippopolis’ civic assembly there, as civic tribe inscriptions in the ima cauea show. The assembly seemingly involved several hundred to c. 1,550 people in most of the 2nd century CE before this number was drastically reduced to c. 100-150 representatives by early in the next century.38 It is also unknown how many representatives attended the provincial assembly. An inscription (late 2nd–first half of the 3rd c. CE) found near Philippopolis’ bouleuterium once enumerated all the elites from across Thrace who gathered for a meeting of the κοίνον. The only possible parallel for Thrace’s κοίνον is Asia’s, which is known in an inscription from Sardis to have had 150 representatives in 4 BCE. This number seems too low for Philippopolis’ theater, especially since the bouleuterium could host c. 350 people.39 Perhaps the theater’s greater monumentality made it more suitable for the κοίνον.

The Theater as a Shaper of Urban Life

A range of material evidence demonstrates that audiences’ interactions in Philippopolis’ theater during performances and assemblies impacted people’s thoughts and actions after they left the building, thereby shaping the ideological and physical parameters of urban life. Thinking about a modern sporting event makes it easier to imagine the ways in and extent to which most people encountered one another in Philippopolis’ theater and to appreciate the lasting impressions such experiences made. The evidence for such impressions leading to cohesion in the forms of shared community values and civic identity are addressed first. The overlapping evidence for audiences reflecting on differences among them (e.g., according to status and civic tribe) is discussed second.

Dramatic and agonistic games in the theater presented to audiences various morals that were supposed to better an individual’s life while furthering their participation in society. The theater facilitated this goal by physically optimizing spectators’ capacities to watch games while heightening their awareness of each other. Not every audience member would have embraced particular morals to the same degree, but the energizing sights, sounds, and presence of the closely–packed crowd would have made dissension from the majority view difficult. The theater’s high-quality building material, eye-catching scaenae frons, and other features like the elevator in the orchestra would have enhanced audience excitement and thus receptivity. Alex Scobie notes, for instance, the pleasant surprise with which spectators would have greeted a fully–armed gladiator’s appearance in the orchestra via a hidden elevator. Sylvain Forichon similarly discusses how elaborate scenery in the Circus Maximus’ arena helped to fuel the various vibrant emotions that textual sources attribute to audiences watching animal hunts.40 As for specific morals to which audience were made receptive, one is the desirability of leisure as a restorative act and celebration of urban prosperity. Every discovery from Philippopolis that bears performance-related imagery or wording manifests this moral and others, such as esteem for the martial prowess, bravery, and determination shown by gladiators and animal hunters in the theater.

A monument that explicitly blends a promotion of such values and leisure in general is the aforementioned invitation to two days of games, which Flavius Montanus and his wife Aigialis offered in the late 2nd or early 3rd century CE. Posted for wide visibility (likely in the agora), this large stone plaque bore a relief of gladiators and animal hunts to help advertise upcoming games. After these, it likely remained on display for a time to build passersby’s anticipation of future games. Half of one animal hunter identified by the stage-name Μασχάλις (“The Mutilator”) survives (fig. 7). His name and the depiction of him attacking with his spear imply that he and other performers in the relief were meant to evoke onlookers’ admiration for the martial skill, bravery, and even ferocity they were set to exhibit. The invitation suggests in turn that hunts like that of Μασχάλις also prompted spectators to endorse firm human control over the natural world.41

“Relief of the animal hunter Μασχάλις on an invitation to games from Philippopolis”, Vagalinski 2009, Fig. 90.
Fig. 7. “Relief of the animal hunter Μασχάλις on an invitation to games from Philippopolis”, Vagalinski 2009, Fig. 90.

The theater’s promotion of leisure and martial values through gladiatorial games and animal hunts was also expressed in smaller monuments and consumer goods.42 A limestone leg (c. 1 m tall) for a small table found at a Late Antique sanctuary outside Philippopolis exemplifies the small monuments that affluent spectators could commission after gladiatorial games. Reliefs on the leg show a secutor advancing toward a fallen retiarius with his tall shield against his body and sword drawn. The molding band on which the secutor stands calls him both Epiptas and “The Striker” (Πουλσάτωρ). The defeated retiarius reaches up for mercy, and a referee stands between the men, signaling the fight’s end. Above the scene floats a pipe organ played by two cherubs (fig. 8).43 The table leg may present an actual fight or could represent a type of scene often witnessed by theater audiences. Either way, Epiptas’ martial skill and mercy are on display to highlight such traits’ desirability. The referee represents, on the table leg as he would have in the theater, an exhortation to behave in an orderly manner. The cherubs and pipe organ hint at the sideshows that could accompany gladiatorial games and were intended to promote a lively leisurely atmosphere.44

“Limestone table leg decorated with a gladiatorial relief”, National Archaeological Institute and Museum-Bulgaria, photo by author, 2015 (cf. Vagalinski 2009, Fig. 75; back of the main room in the virtual tour at www.naim.bg).
Fig. 8. “Limestone table leg decorated with a gladiatorial relief”, National Archaeological Institute and Museum-Bulgaria, photo by author, 2015 (cf. Vagalinski 2009, Fig. 75; back of the main room in the virtual tour at www.naim.bg).

Available evidence speaks more indirectly to values imparted by dramatic performances or musical events in the theater. These performances certainly endorsed the benefits of leisure like gladiatorial games and animal hunts, but they also stood to inculcate spectators with a wide range of moral values. One only needs to consider known Greek and Roman plays to think of examples.

Respect for traditional Greco-Roman polytheism is one such value. The tribe names in the cauea suggest that Dionysos, Herakles, Artemis, Kendrisos, and Asklepios were among the gods to which all performances in the theater could have drawn spectators’ praise.45 “Kendrisos” is an epithet for Apollo that is only attested at Philippopolis, so its use represents the potential for games to bolster local cult traditions.46 The other gods were worshipped across the Roman Empire. However, the Greek versions of the gods’ names and the use of Greek to write them shows that cult practice in the theater underscored Thrace’s longstanding interactions with the Hellenic world. All of these deities could have been honored through invocations at performances, invocations and images in attendant ceremonies, statues in the scaenae frons, or specific festivals.

It has already been noted that the theater would have hosted the musical events of the Pythian games for Kendrisian Apollo in 218/9 CE. Some of the coins minted at Philippopolis to commemorate these Pythia show Apollo and so reflect that Pythian musical events in the theater helped to bolster his worship as a divine civic patron.47 Two statues of Pythian Apollo placed near the stadium in the early to mid-3rd century CE convey the same message. They were dedicated by the ephebarch Mucianus and Beithys Kotys, a priest of the Syrian goddess.48 By promoting Apollo’s worship, the theater furthered its city’s involvement in an Empire-wide, polytheistic belief system. By doing so through Pythian Games, Philippopolis’ links to the traditions of the Greek world were strengthened as well. Moreover, by honoring Apollo as Kendrisos on at least one occasion, Pythian musical events in the theater stressed local traditions.

While encouraging audiences packed together in sustained contact to bond over shared moral values, emotionally–charged entertainments in the theater also motivated them to share a sense of civic identity/pride. Civic assemblies would have done the same both for those involved but also for other Philippopolitans whose knowledge of these meetings stood to inform their attendance of festivals in the theater. The same can be said for meetings of the Thracian κοίνον, except that Philippopolitans’ participation in and awareness of these was able to flavor their sense of civic identify with greater regional Thracian pride or allegiance to Roman imperial authority.

As an effort to beautify Philippopolis, the aforementioned invitation to games exemplifies the monuments that manifested the civic pride generated among theater audiences. Other examples convey the theater’s bolstering of civic pride by explicitly noting Philippopolis’ metropolis status. The earliest such monuments, which indicate that the theater was built near the end of the 1st century CE, were statues dedicated to T. Flavius Kotys and Ti. Claudius Sacerdos Iulianus in the scaenae frons. Kotys’ statue base boldly refers to Philippopolis only as “the metropolis.”49 Besides calling Philippopolis “the metropolis,” the base of Iulianus’ statue also conveys a unified civic identity by formulaically specifying “the city council and assembly of the Philippopolitans” – a union of the two halves of Philippopolis’ administration – as the monument’s dedicator.50

Two other inscriptions call Philippopolis a metropolis. One is on three architrave blocks from the theater’s eastern parascaenium. It records that Tarsas, son of Bessos funded construction in the theater in Trajan’s principate (c. 116-117 CE) and refers to Philippopolis as “the metropolis of the Thracians.” Like the inscription dedicated to Iulianus, it also captures a sense of civic pride by using the “city council and assembly of the Philippopolitans” phrase.51 The base for a statue of Emperor Alexander Severus that the game-giver T. Flavius Priscianus dedicated outside the theater also calls Philippopolis “the metropolis of the Thracians.” It does so rather grandly by prefacing this title with “most illustrious” and ending it with Philippopolis’ name.52

The inscription on Priscianus’ dedication also expresses civic pride through Philippopolis’ neokoros title. The multiple series of coins (and medallions) minted for the Kendrisian Pythian games are the earliest finds bearing this title and so identify Elagabalus as its grantor. These coins thus further manifest the theater’s bolstering of Philippopolitan identity, in this case by hosting musical events to celebrate Philippopolis’ new neokorate status. Although Alexander Severus may have revoked this status, Priscianus’ dedication marks how at least for a short time, its invocation at games in the theater further underscored Philippopolis’ prominent regional status. After all, the provincial capital Perinthus was the only other city in Thrace that could boast this distinction.53

Two other statue bases placed together in the scaenae frons in the early 2nd century CE do not mention Philippopolis’ titles but still manifest the capacity for interactions in the theater to reinforce civic pride. One recalls the Thracian κοίνον’s “continuous goodwill,” which at least entailed allowing Philippopolis to host its meetings. The base thus reflects the theater’s role in emphasizing to audiences Philippopolis’ regional prominence as the κοίνον’s home. The base’s statue was most likely a personified Thrace and so would have endorsed this message by representing the province’s numen dwelling at Philippopolis.54

The other base calls Perinthus, the provincial capital, Philippopolis’ “brother” and celebrates the “goodwill” and “harmony” between the cities. Like the last monument, it thus highlights that spectators’ experiences in the theater led them to dwell on Philippopolis’ regional status as a metropolis and the κοίνον’s seat to the extent that Philippopolitans regarded their city as rivaling Perinthus. The rivalry between the two cities seemingly became sufficiently heated to merit imperial mediation since the statue base uses the term “harmony” to describe their reconciliation. “Harmony,” as Sharankov notes, features on contemporary statue bases and coins commissioned to mark the end of bitterness between other cities in the eastern Mediterranean, particularly in Asia. The same epigraphic evidence makes it clear that the emperor had to step in to resolve these disputes. The monument honoring Philippopolis and Perinthus’ harmonious relations therefore appears to have been commissioned to quite formally remind Philippopolitans to moderate their civic pride and to do so in a prominent venue for that pride’s generation.55

As in the cavea’s civic tribe inscriptions, the use of Greek in the above expressions of civic pride is a product of Thrace’s historical engagement with the wider eastern Mediterranean. Across this geographic expanse, Greek was simply the official language of urban life. As with any aspect of Greek culture, however, this status required continual reaffirmation. Thus, the exclusive display (and likely verbal use) of Greek in the theater—in other words, emphasizing a dominant linguistic tradition linked with particular cultural practices—was part of a programmatic effort to reaffirm for audiences the links between Philippopolis’ culture and Thrace’s “Hellenistic” pedigree.56 The same holds for the preference to call the city “Philippopolis” in and outside the theater rather than “Trimontium,” the city’s official name after Thrace became a province. Given its claimed debt to Philip II, “Philippopolis” also invoked Macedon’s legacy. As Topalilov notes, Philippopolis thereby joined in the 2nd c. CE trend of cities around the Aegean claiming descent from famous figures for greater notoriety.57 Thus, by endorsing its city’s commemoration with a particular name and in Greek (even if often subliminally), the theater reinforced its city’s claims to be a leading steward of Thrace’s heritage and that heritage’s ongoing dialogue with the Hellenophone world.

While theater audiences bonded over civic pride and moral values, the same interactions that allowed for these cohesive outcomes also reminded audience members of what divided them. Status distinctions were obvious as spectators beheld themselves arrayed in the theater’s seating tiers. Elites were most conspicuous by way of their elaborate clothing, jewelry, perfume, etc. and seats closest to the orchestra-arena, or in the VIP box in the case of high officials and game-givers. The movement involved in sitting in the ima cauea (e.g., walking along the podium wall or entering the theater via the orchestra) visually set elites apart from non-elites as well. Each visit to the theater was thus intended to impress upon spectators the importance of social hierarchy to Philippopolis’ success. Many of the monuments already discussed prove that this message was delivered. The same monuments show too that, in the process, Philippopolis’ and Thrace’s elites gained a greater sense of class consciousness, one intimately tied to Roman imperial authority.

Iulianus and Flavius Kotys’ statues, for example, attest that their appearances in the theater while exercising their offices garnered them renown. The base of Iulianus’ statue identifies him as the governor of Thrace and a benefactor, in which capacities the city acclaimed him as a spectator and most likely game-giver.58 Kotys was seemingly more involved in local and regional affairs. He was a priest of Asklepios, superintendent of building works, city representative, three-time imperial high priest of Thrace, and all-around virtuous man (ἐνάρετον ἄνδρα). These distinctions and his Roman citizenship guarantee that Kotys was highly honored in the theater. Moreover, his citizenship, representation of the city to the emperor, and priesthoods for the κοίνον (and the imperial cult festivals these entailed) stressed that his, Philippopolis’, and Thrace’s success entailed loyalty to Rome. Kotys’ Thracian ancestry, marked by the patronymic “son of Rhaskuporis” and the note that he is “the foremost man of the province following his ancestors,” would have enhanced this message. Kotys’ statue also implies that his ancestry and status brought pride to fellow native Thracians, as the “son of Sostratus” who dedicated his statue perhaps was.59

Five other elites who received special recognition in the theater have already been mentioned: Montanus; Mucianus; Beithys Kotys; Tarsas; and Priscianus. Beithys Kotys and Tarsas are clearly identifiable as Thracians like T. Flavius Kotys. Like Kotys’, then, the monuments that commemorate them highlight a proud Thracian element among the elites of Philippopolis and, by virtue of the city’s metropolis status, of Thrace in general. Tarsas’ architrave inscription, for example, reveals that he received acclaim at performances and in civic assemblies as first archon and a great benefactor because of his additions to the theater. Tarsas sought further respect from audiences by tying his local office to Roman administration, thereby contributing to the theater’s promotion of a social hierarchy and loyalty to Rome. The inscription captures Tarsas’ efforts in this regard by first wishing good health for the imperial family and the Roman Senate and people and then mentioning the provincial governor and imperial high priest Gn. Minicius Faustinus.60

Based on their names, Montanus, Mucianus, and Priscianus perhaps traced their descent to the western Mediterranean. Whether or not this was the case, through their names alone these men’s monuments, like their attendance at performances and assemblies in the theater, convey that Philippopolis’ elites were cosmopolitan like the city’s population.61 The inscription on Montanus and Aigialis’ invitation to gladiatorial games and animal hunts would have hierarchically outlined their ties to Rome like Tarsas’ inscription, which was standard for such invitations. Preserved lines reveal that during and after his games, Montanus was honored in the theater for giving games and for his priesthoods of Olympian Zeus and the imperial cult for both Philippopolis and the κοίνον. All three priesthoods declared that the identity shared by Montanus and other elite Philippopolitans was allied to Rome. Similarly, his games’ celebration of Zeus and the imperial cult reinforced for all spectators the connection between civic identity and Roman imperial authority.62

Mucianus’ dedication speaks similarly to the theater’s promotion of a social hierarchy and elite class consciousness but are more regional in outlook. Mucianus’ statue was of course meant to enhance his public image among fellow elites and other audience members who had noticed him at Pythia. Mucianus’ statue particularly calls attention to his work guiding Philippopolis’ affluent young men at an inaugural set of Pythian games, most likely the Alexandrian Pythia of 214/5 CE. He thereby highlights the acclaim he received for ensuring, at a pivotal moment in Philippopolis’ history, that the city and Thrace’s future leaders embraced the skills and values expected of them because of Thrace’s historical ties to the Greek world. Mucianus also attaches his name to the game-givers, one of whom is known from another inscription as a renowned veteran. In this way, Mucianus ties the identity of Philippopolis’ elites – and the theater’s role in sustaining that identity – to the city’s cooperation with Roman imperial interests.63

The inscription that attended Priscianus’ statue conveys this idea more overtly by referring to the emperor and Priscianus’ position as thracarch, the high priest of the imperial cult for the provincial assembly. As thracarch, Priscianus would have frequented the theater for meetings of the κοίνον and performances. He was expected to fund games, too; his title of lifetime high priest of the imperial cult (ἀρχιερεὺς δι’ ὅπλων) confirms that he funded gladiatorial games and animal hunts. Priscianus’ third office, that of first archon, further dictated his presence at the theater for both performances and civic assemblies. Altogether, then, the theater played a large part in articulating Priscianus’ place in a local elite class that took pride in cultivating Philippopolis’ and Thrace’s traditions and the participation of both in the wider Roman Empire.64

The theater did not only foster elite group identity. Civic assemblies also worked together with performances to strengthen tribal affiliations. A monument that attests to this effect was dedicated 225-250 CE in the theater on behalf of the Kendrisian tribe by Aurelius Apollonides, son of Aelius Valens, to Publius Virdius Iulianus, one of the game-givers on Mucianus’ statue base. This is the monument that accents Virdius’ renown as a veteran and father of two military tribunes. The Kendrisian tribe was thus united in honoring Virdius for serving Philippopolis, indirectly as a soldier and father of soldiers and seemingly directly as a game-giver. The tribe’s monument does more than speak to the theater’s promotion of tribal identities, however. Virdius’ veteran status, the local relevance of the tribe’s name, and the Latinate, Greek, and Thracian names of those involved in the dedication (the tribe’s leader is Aurelius Hreboukenthos) further convey that audience dynamics fueled cosmopolitan urban life at Philippopolis.65

The Eumolpian tribe dedicated a similar monument in the theater with much the same message. Named after a mythical Thracian king, this tribe exemplifies the theater’s advertisement of Philippopolis’ Thracian heritage like the Kendrisian tribe and two others named after Orpheus, the mythical Thracian musician, and Hebros, Philippopolis’ river. Contemporary with the previous monument, the Eumolpian tribe’s statue, dedicated by Aurelius Chrestos, son of Glaukos, when the tribal leader was Aurelius Pollionos, son of Georgos, honors the deceased P. Virdius Iulianus (Jr.) as an orator, tribune, and likely game-giver, since he is noted as having followed the example of his father.66 On-display in the scaenae frons, the younger Virdius’ statue would have brought pride to members of the Eumolpian tribe while inviting all audience members to respect their civic leaders and, as these leader’ names convey, Philippopolis’ active ties to the wider Mediterranean.

While elites stand out in the evidence that underscores the formative effects of audience dynamics in the theater, some finds substantiate the promotion of lower-class identities as well, particularly in the case of performers. Set apart from spectators by the orchestra and the wall at the cauea’s base, actors, gladiators, and animal hunters were essentially another audience. Since the theater regularly made this audience the object of the other’s gaze and clearly elevated spectators over performers, the building reinforced the generally low status the latter held across the Roman world. At the same time, the theater’s separation of spectators and performers and its decorative framing of the latter showcased performers’ skills. In this way, the theater encouraged esteem for entertainers – shown by Montanus and Aigialis’ invitation to games and the relief-decorated table leg discussed earlier – and the emergence of an esprit de corps in performer troupes.

Two funerary monuments dedicated to performers exemplify both effects well. One is a sarcophagus honoring Sabinus the animal hunter, whose epitaph stresses that he died from sickness and not “the jaws of wild animals.” The epitaph further vouches for Sabinus’ proficiency in the arena by noting that his wife Zoe dedicates the sarcophagus “as a gift worthy of [his] memory.”67 The sarcophagus only mentions Zoe’s esteem for Sabinus, but the fact that he could afford a fairly costly monument means that his troupe sufficiently compensated him for his performances. This in turn implies that Sabinus had a decent fanbase at Philippopolis.

At least three monuments for deceased gladiators have been found at Philippopolis or in its hinterland.68 One stands out for its colorful epitaph commemorating Victor “the left-handed” from Thessalonica. Similar to Sabinus’, it highlights Victor’s martial skills by specifying that “a divine spirit killed [him], not the liar Pinnas”, which is followed by an exhortation to not let Pinnas boast. That Victor’s comrade-at-arms Polyneikes avenged him captures the sense of community within Victor’s troupe. The Claudius Thallos who set up the altar was seemingly also in this community. Since he was a free(d) man with Roman citizenship and had the authority to use the deceased’s earnings for the altar, he was likely the lanista of Victor’s troupe, in which case his name acts as a stamp of approval for Victor’s career. The altar’s relief further conveys professional pride; Victor is shown in triumph with a victory palm by his side and a wreath crown in his right hand (fig. 9).69 Overall, then, Victor’s funerary altar is a fitting testament to the energizing and memorable nature of experiences in Philippopolis’ theater for performers and spectators alike.

“Close-up of the funerary altar of Victor the secutor”, Vagalinski 2009, Fig. 9.
Fig. 9. “Close-up of the funerary altar of Victor the secutor”, Vagalinski 2009, Fig. 9.

Avenues for Further Research

More can be said about how the material evidence discussed here demonstrates that audience dynamics in Philippopolis’ theater shaped tangible and intangible characteristics of urban life in its city between the late 1st and early 4th centuries CE. Several other finds from the theater and around its city could also be marshalled as evidence for this. These finds elucidate even further the complex mix of local, regional, and interregional influences in the theater’s promotion of moral values, civic pride, and sub-communities (e.g., an elite class, civic tribes, and performer troupes).70

Future publications and discoveries at and around modern Plovdiv promise to shed more light on the cohesive and distinguishing interactions Philippopolis’ theater accommodated. For example, little-published inscriptions across the cauea indicate that the theater bolstered ideas like elite class consciousness, group identities, and familial bonds through spectators purchasing preferred seating. The civic tribe leader (phylarch) Ti. Claudius Dorziates, for instance, had a seat in the ima cauea’s first row. In this way, Dorziates ensured that fellow audience members, particularly fellow elites, registered his leading role in their community. Another front-row inscription claims seating for a seemingly quite affluent guild (techne). A second group with links to the imperial cult (philokaisares) held seats at the front of wedge d in the summa cauea (fig. 2). This seating position at the front and near the middle of the summa cauea suggests that the philokaisares held a middling socio-economic status, but the location of the VIP box leaves a higher status possible. Just as these groups reinforced their sense of sub-community to themselves and other spectators by sitting together, so did families like the Munatii, who claimed part of the row behind the techne. The family’s desire to receive attention as prominent civic benefactors in the theater is affirmed by Gn. Munatius’ name on five inscribed column bases from the agora, which indicates that his family funded the reconstruction of this space’s northern colonnade.71

Additionally, connections between festivals in Philippopolis’ theater and craft production and commerce in the city have not been significantly explored in scholarship. The finds discussed here certainly show that elite Philippopolitans spent a fair amount of money based on their experiences in the theater. Increasingly more evidence is also emerging for commercial activity centered on entertainment venues across the Roman Empire (e.g., the amphitheaters at Carnuntum, Chester, and Londinium).72 Moreover, fairs known to have coincided with public festivals at Rome support the likelihood of a similar situation at Philippopolis.73

While more data is forthcoming, available evidence still underscores the integral role that Philippopolis’ theater played in making its city “the metropolis of the Thracians.” In their composition and interactions, audiences at performances and civic and provincial assemblies both represented and promoted Philippopolis’ participation in the wider Roman Empire. They did so, however, in ways that sustained the city’s connections to Thrace’s past. Like its city, then, the theater provides an invaluable look into the exciting complexities of urbanism in Roman Thrace.


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  1. This chapter is based on two talks that I gave in spring 2020 and fall 2021. These talks presented research that featured in my doctoral dissertation (Schueller 2020). I would like to thank everyone who supported my research, particularly my PhD advisors Profs. Jennifer Gates-Foster and Hérica Valladares. Botusharova 1980, 11; Djambov 1980; Kesiakova 1999, 19, 61; Ivanov et al. 2006, 86; Topalilov 2012, 391; Martinova-Kyutova & Sharankov 2018, 67; Minchev 2019, 210. Here the term “province” refers to both the large and small administrative units that existed between the second half of the 1st to the late 3rd and the late 3rd to the 6th centuries CE, respectively. The designation “Early Roman” is used here to refer to the earlier province of Thrace.
  2. Djambov 1980, 5; Kesiakova 1999, 13-15; Sharankov 2007, 521; Topalilov 2011, 25; Topalilov 2012, 367, 369, 384, 387; Martinova-Kyutova and Raycheva 2013, 318; Dana 2015, 253; Topalilov 2018, 155-156; Minchev 2019, 210-211; Topalilov 2021, 429. Scholars place Philippopolis’ late 1st century growth in the time of the Flavians; Topalilov supports Domitian’s principate specifically. The theater’s construction is dated by two inscribed statue bases found in the theater and dedicated to T. Flavius Kotys and Ti. Claudius Sacerdos Iulianus (discussed below).
  3. Edmund Thomas’ definition of a “monumental” building in Roman architecture – one large in scale, made of durable and decorative materials, and with more than practical functions – is the one understood here (2007, 4-13).
  4. Sharankov 2005a, 55, 57; 2005b, 235, 241-242; 2007, 521; Topalilov 2011, 25; 2012, 368. Kotys and Iulianus’ statues are the earliest attestations of Philippopolis’ metropolis status, which honorifically (not administratively) acknowledged the city as the most respectable one in its province. Domitian let the city mint coins c. 88, but this likely does not mark the city’s increased status since the coins do not call it a metropolis. As Topalilov (2021, 429) also notes, their images do not suggest such a change, and they were minted in low denominations and quantities.
  5. I define an “urban center” as a sizeable and densely settled population of diverse people who interact in various ways with each other, their environment, and the objects they acquire and structures they inhabit. “City” here means particularly complex urban centers. This approach to urbanism is inspired by classical archaeologists like Robin Osborne (2005) and urban studies scholars like William Frey and Zachary Zimmer, who see urbanism as a spectrum of relative population and territorial size and complexity (2001, 19-21).
  6. Here “interactions” are defined as the combined ways by which people sense each other (through sight, sound, touch, or smell) when they meet and their resulting feelings and ideas.
  7. Fagan 2011; Urbanus 2017; Forichon 2020. The phrase “collective effervescence” coined by Garrett Fagan remains perhaps the best way to summarize this energizing effect of Roman (and modern) public entertainment.
  8. Vagalinski’s (2009) and Andreeva’s (2014) works are invaluable to any study of Roman public entertainment not only at Philippopolis but across early Roman Thrace.
  9. Sharankov 2005a; 2005b; 2007; 2014; 2018; Martinova-Kyutova & Sharankov 2018.
  10. My approach to both Philippopolis’ theater and urbanism is informed by Actor-Network-Theory. Developed by sociologists Bruno Latour (2005) and Michel Callon, ANT accentuates the ideas, objects, natural features, and built spaces involved in human interactions, thus identifying them as “actors” that construct society alongside people.
  11. Maya Martinova-Kyutova and Nikolai Sharankov (2018, 68, 75) cite all publications on the theater to-date, which include those cited in this chapter by Botusharova, Kolarova, and Martinova (–Kyutova).
  12. Kesiakova 1999, 7, 9; Bouzek 2005, 83; Delev 2015, 50-51; Nankov 2015, 402-403; Popov 2015, 116-117; Topalilov 2012, 363-365; 2014, 7; 2021, 426. Regarding Philippopolis’ farmland, Donev (2019, 369) estimates that c. 90% of it in a 15 km radius of the city was arable. On the subject of the archaeology of early Philippopolis, there were fortifications on two hills, but their remains are only broadly datable to the 4th-2nd centuries BCE. It is generally accepted that Philip II named the city, but some like Topalilov suggest that it was Philip V instead.
  13. Bouzek 2005, 81, 107-108; Topalilov 2012, 364; 2014, 6, 7, 11; Delev 2015, 51; Nankov 2015, 401-402; Delev 2018, 24. Diodorus Siculus (Bib. Hist. 16.71.2) identifies the site’s Thracians as from the Odrysian tribe. Livy (Hist. 39.53.12-14) asserts the same, writing that Odrysians expelled Philip V’s short-lived garrison at the site (183/2 BCE).
  14. Nankov 2015, 403-404. Publication of excavations at Pistiros continue in an ongoing series of volumes.
  15. Tacheva 2004, 53, 68; Zahariade 2009, 55-56, 58; Lozanov 2015, 75, 78-79, 84; Delev 2018, 26-27. Rhoemetalkes I was the first Thracian king to rule over all the lands that would become the Roman province of Thrace. The kingdom’s capital was at Bizye in southeastern Thrace.
  16. Bouzek 2005, 114; Zahariade 2009, 56-57; Topalilov 2012, 367; 2021, 426. While excavations may reveal infrastructural growth at other urban centers in late 1st century BCE Thrace, present data strongly suggests that no other contemporary site in central Thrace (e.g., Uskudama or Kabyle) hosted as much activity as Philippopolis.
  17. Tacheva 2004, 50, 53, 58-59, 68; Zahariade 2009, 29-30, 55-58; Lozanov 2015, 75, 78-84; Delev 2018, 26-27.
  18. Ivanov 1983, 143; Kesiakova 1999, 11, 13; Ivanov et al. 2004, 290-291; Dickenson 2012, 199, 222-223; Topalilov 2012, 365-366, 375, 380, 384; Martinova-Kyutova and Raycheva 2013, 318.
  19. Zahariade 2009, 55; Lozanov 2015, 79; Paunov 2015, 274-275, 278. Rhoemetalkes’ eagerness to tie himself to Rome is exemplified by the inclusion of Augustus and Livia’s faces on his coins. Rhoemetalkes also strove to prove his loyalty to Rome by leading a cavalry force in support of Moesia’s governor during a revolt in Pannonia in 7-8 CE (Bouzek 2005, 114; Zahariade 2009, 55-56, 69; Haynes 2011, 7; Topalilov 2012, 365-366; Lozanov 2015, 79).
  20. Dana 2015, 254. Dana’s discussion on Thrace’s epigraphic record is an invaluable primer on the topic.
  21. See, for example, Topalilov 2013 and 2018 in this chapter’s works cited. Dan Dana (2015, 255) notes that most auxiliary veterans who lived at Philippopolis were likely Thracian since Thrace is well-known from inscriptions found across the Empire to have supplied recruits to Rome’s armies and the praetorians. Moreover, around 200 known military diplomas from the province suggest that these soldiers often returned home after their service.
  22. Ivanov et al. 2006, 82, 85; Vagalinski 2009, 12; Topalilov 2012, 364; Donev 2019, 167-168. Donev’s estimates are based on a constant of 150 people/ha multiplied by the lower and upper estimates for the sizes of cities’ built environs. The stadium was likely larger than needed, even for extramural residents. Hanson and Ortman note that entertainment venues at smaller cities in the Roman Empire (Philippopolis counts as medium-sized) were commonly one to several times larger than their intramural populations required (2020, 431). As for the stadium’s construction, I agree with Topalilov’s reasons for dating it to Hadrian’s principate (2011, 26, 32; 2012, 404).
  23. Discussions of these theaters and their structural parallels to Philippopolis’ feature in Schueller 2020 (263-273).
  24. Topalilov 2012, 397; Martinova-Kyutova & Sharankov 2017, 328-329; 2018, 68.
  25. Botusharova 1980, 11; Djambov 1980, 4; Kolarova 1980, 13; Kesiakova 1999, 19-20, 61; Ivanov et al. 2006 81, 86-87, 89; Martinova-Kyutova 2010, 390-391; Topalilov 2012, 391, 393, 395; Martinova-Kyutova & Sharankov 2018, 67-69, fig. 1; Minchev 2019, 211; Hanson & Ortman 2020, 423.
  26. Scobie (1988, 207-209) similarly considers possibilities for social-hierarchy-defying intermingling among spectators, and architectural measure to curb them, in western Mediterranean amphitheaters (e.g., as at Pompeii).
  27. Botusharova 1980, 12; Kolarova 1980, 14; Ivanov et al. 2006, 81, 87, 89; Vagalinski 2009, 77-78; Martinova-Kyutova & Sharankov 2018, 68. Netting was not used in the stadium, which suggests that it did not host animal hunts. The track’s podium wall perhaps permitted gladiator fights, but no evidence confirms that it did.
  28. Vagalinski 2009, 77-78; Di Napoli 2018, 323, 328-329, 332, 334; Pavlovski 2018, 415-417; Schueller 2020, 151-152, 262, 266. Additionally, Philippopolis’ theater was built within the same two decades in which Philippi’s was remodeled, so it would be strange for the former to have been built anew according to an out-of-fashion design.
  29. Botusharova 1980, 11; Djambov 1980, 4; Kolarova 1980, 13; Kesiakova 1999, 19-20, 61; Ivanov et al. 2006 81, 86-87, 89; Martinova-Kyutova 2010, 390-391; Topalilov 2012, 391, 393, 395; Martinova-Kyutova & Sharankov 2018, 67-69, fig. 1; Minchev 2019, 211. For discussion of animal storage and presentation in Roman amphitheaters in general and at Rome in particular, see Golvin 2015 and Scobie 1988, (esp. 209-215), respectively.
  30. Scobie 1988, 199; Ivanov et al. 2006, 84, 89; Koukouli-Chrysanthaki & Karadedos 2006, 65-66; Vagalinski 2009, 76-77; Topalilov 2012, 392-393; 2014, 9; Koukouli-Chrysanthaki & Karadedos 2016, 199-200, 202; Martinova-Kyutova & Sharankov 2018, 68.
  31. Botusharova 1980, 12; Kolarova 1980, 14; Ivanov et al. 2006, 88-89; Martinova-Kyutova & Sharankov 2018, 68; Minchev 2019, 212. Unlike in a Roman theater, the scaena was not as wide as the cauea.
  32. I think as most scholars that mimes and pantomimes were the most common dramatic performances around the Empire in the 2nd-4thcenturies CE. It does not seem likely, though, that traditional tragedies and comedies were largely disregarded, as some scholars believe. Their scenes and masks often feature in various artistic mediums into the 3rd century CE, which strongly infers that they were still staged across the Empire (see Skotheim 2016).
  33. Botusharova 1980, 12-13; Kesiakova 1999, 64; Ivanov et al. 2006, 81, 87-88; Topalilov 2012, 392; Martinova-Kyutova & Sharankov 2018, 67-69, fig. 1. As can be seen in Fig. 2 here, at least a couple statues are mostly extant and have been placed in the upper porch at scene left. To my knowledge, they have not been published.
  34. Vagalinski 1994; Kesiakova 1999, 47; Miller 2004, 83-84; Ivanov et al. 2006, 82-83, 86; Vagalinski 2009, 11, 31-33, 48, 129; Topalilov 2012, 371, 404-405; Andreeva 2014, 309-310, 316-317; Lozanov 2015, 83. A monument to the Athenian athlete Valerius Eclectus indicates at least one other iteration of Kendrisian Pythian games in Philippopolis’ theater and stadium after 218/9 CE.
  35. Kolarova 1980, 13; Ivanov et al. 2006, 81; Topalilov 2012, 393. I base my measurements on the plan in Fig. 2 here (Martinova-Kyutova & Sharankov 2018, 69, fig. 1). The lengths of the theater’s 28 rows, minus the width of the stairways through them, was divided by a seat width of 0.5 m for all rows except the bottom two, which were accorded wider seats for elites (0.8 m). These widths are based on the parallel of Stobi’s theater, where bisellia 0.8 m wide were marked in the lowest two rows (Pavlovski 2018, 423); an extra 0.1 m was added to each regular seat for greater realism. Scobie (1988, 204-205) posits seats 0.5 m wide for the Fratres Arvales in the Colosseum, too; he also grants, as I do, that entertainment venues at full capacity would have entailed tight seating. Given the ratio (c. 1.7/1) between highest and lowest row lengths in both tiers of the theater (these lengths for the ima cauea are c. 73 and 43 m), a gain of c. 2.3 m was postulated per row. The VIP box was accorded 5 m stretches of 4 rows and double bisellia. Dion’s Roman theater had a similar capacity at c. 5,000 spectators (Schueller 2020, 157). The capacities of theaters at other big cities in nearby provinces, like those noted above, is not readily available but were similar if not larger; the theaters at Stobi and Scupi, for example, held c. 7,000 spectators (Schueller 2020, 206).
  36. Vagalinski 2009, 194, #90; Andreeva 2014, 333, Cat. # II/366.
  37. The basic quantitative assessment presented here is inspired by Hanson and Ortman (2020), who developed an equation for estimating the numbers of people who heard about games through first- and second-hand accounts.
  38. Kesiakova 1999, 64; Ivanov 2006, 23; Ivanov et al. 2006, 81; Topalilov 2012, 391, fig. 23f; Minchev 2019, 211-212. By my reckoning, the ima cauea’s full capacity was c. 1,550 people (cf. footnote 35). The lack of tribe inscriptions in the summa cauea and the steady reduction in space for each tribe show that people did not sit by tribe at games.
  39. ISardis 8.76-78; Minchev 2019, 211; Sharankov 2007, 521-522. The inscription (Plovdiv Arch. Mus., inv. n. II-1326 and II-2185) now only conveys that cities had two or four (or one to four) representatives based on population.
  40. Scobie 1988, 199; Forichon 2020, 182-190.
  41. Vagalinski 2009, 84, 194, Cat. #90, fig. 90; Andreeva 2014, 333, Cat. # II/366; Ducros 2018, 345.
  42. Ceramic oil lamps decorated with gladiatorial imagery, a common “souvenir” across the Roman Empire, were available for sale at Philippopolis, as a 3rd century CE example showing a dueling pair of heavy gladiators found in a street drain attests (Vagalinski 2009, 119-120, 209, Cat. #138, no photo). Minchev (2019, 212) also notes that ceramic lamps with theater scenes were found in an unpublished, 2nd century CE ceramic workshop at Philippopolis.
  43. IGBulg III,1 1453; V, 5532; Vagalinski 1991, 30-31, fig. 4; Ajootian 2000, 501; Vagalinski 2009, 188, Cat. #75. The table leg (late 2nd–early 3rd c. CE) comes from Tatarevo, which is around 79 km southeast of Plovdiv. Its original function is unclear; it could have been a decoration in an elite home, which seems most likely; a votive offering; a feature of larger civic monument; or perhaps a funerary marker.
  44. Vincent (2016, 151-153) argues that musical accompaniment would have been an essential element of all Roman public entertainments, particularly as a way to bolster orderly relations between the city and its gods.
  45. Topalilov 2012, 391, fig. 23f; Minchev 2019, 211-212. The Hadrianic tribes are inscribed as: φυλῆς Φιλιππ[η]εί[ς], Διονυσιάδος, Ἡρακληίδος, Ἀρτεμισιάδος, Ὀρφεείς, Εὐμολπηίδος. The tribes added later under the Severans appear as: φυλ(ῆς) Εὐμολπηίδος, Ὀρφείδ[ο]ς, Ῥοδοπηίδος, Φιλιππίδος, Ἡρακληίδος, Ἑβρηίδος, [Δι]ονυσιάδος, [Ἀ]ρτεμισιάδος, [Κεν]δρεισηίδος, Ασ[κ]λ[ηπιάδο]ς.
  46. Dana 2015, 354. Rabadjiev (2015, 447) notes that Apollo is first called Kendrisos at the city in the time of Trajan.
  47. Ivanov et al. 2006, 86; Vagalinski 2009, 48-52, 129; Topalilov 2012, 371, 404.
  48. For Mucianus’ dedication see IGBulg III,1 1040; Sharankov 2005a, 64-66; Andreeva 2014, 313, Cat. #II/361; ([Ἀγαθ]ῇ [τύχῃ]./ [Μου]κιανὸ[ς . . . . .]-/[. . .]του ἐφηβ[αρχή-]/[σας κ]οσμ[ί]ως τ[ῇ πρώ-]/[τῃ τ]ετρα[ετηρίδι]/ [τοῦ ἱ]εροῦ ἀ[γῶνος Ἀ-/[πόλ]λωνα ἀ̣[νέστη-]/[σα τ]ὸ(ν) Πύθι[ον, ἀγω-]/[νο]θετού[ντων Πο(πλίου)]/ [Οὐι]ρδίου Ἰου[λια-]/[νοῦ] καὶ Αὔλου [no-]/men – -]ΞΡΛ[- – – – – -]/ [. . .]ΕΤΗ[- – – – – -]/ [. . . . .]ΛΤΟΣ[- – – -]). For Beithys’ see IGBulg III,1 918 (Ἀπόλλωνι/ Κενδρισῳ Βειθυς/ Κοτυος ἱερεὺς/ Συρίας θεᾶς/ δῶρον ἀνέ-/θηκεν). A third such statue was set up by L. Aurelius Rufus, the son of Rufus the thracarch (IGBulg III,1 915 and Sharankov 2005a, 66).
  49. Sharankov 2005a, 55-58; 2014, 277; Martinova-Kyutova & Sharankov 2017, 329; 2018, 69-71, fig. 2.2. Τὸ̣ν [ἀ]π̣ὸ̣ π̣ρογόνων πρῶτον/ τῆς ἐπα̣[ρχεί]ας καὶ ἐνάρε/τον ἄνδρα, [ἀ]ρχιερέα τε τρὶς τῆς/ Θρᾳκῶν ἐπαρχείας καὶ τῶν ἐ-/ν αὐτῇ πόλεων̣ καὶ ἔγδικον τῆς/ μητροπόλεως κα̣ὶ ἐργεπιστάτην/ διά τε τοῦ πρῶτον [ἄρ]ξ̣αι τόπον με/γάλοις ἔργοις τὴν πόλ̣[ιν κε]κ̣οσμηκότα,/ δημοφίλητον καὶ δ̣ι[ὰ βί]ου ἱερ[έ]α Ἀσ-/κληπιοῦ Τ(ίτον) Φλάουιον [Ρησκου?-]/ πορεως υἱὸν Κυρείνα Κοτ[υν], etc. Kotys’ praenomen and nomen together with Philippopolis’ metropolis title date his statue in the theater to around the same time as Julianus’.
  50. Sharankov 2005b, 235-237; Vagalinski 2009, 76; Sharankov 2014, 277; Martinova-Kyutova & Sharankov 2018, 69. Ἡ βουλὴ καὶ ὁ δ-/ῆμος ὁ Φιλιππο-/πολειτῶ̣ν ἐτείμη-/σεν τὸν εὐεργέ̣την τῆς μητρ̣οπόλεως/ Τ̣ιβέριον Κλαύδιον/ Σακέρδωτα Ἰου-/λιανὸν ἐπίτροπον/ Σεβαστοῦ. Iulianus is a suffect consul for 100 CE in an inscribed aedicula at Rome, so he was the governor of Thrace in the 90s CE, soon after which his statue was set up in the theater.
  51. AE 2005, 1375; SEG 55:763; Djambov 1980, 4; Kesiakova 1999, 64-65; Sharankov 2005b, 237-240; Ivanov et al. 2006, 81, 86, 89; Vagalinski 2009, 76; Topalilov 2012, 393; Sharankov 2014, 276; Martinova-Kyutova & Sharankov 2018, 67, 71-72, fig. 3; Minchev 2019, 211. Ὑ̣πὲρ τῆς αὐτοκρά̣[τορος Νέρουα Τρ]αιανοῦ Καίσαρος Σεβαστοῦ [Γερμ]α̣νικο̣ῦ Δ̣α̣[κικοῦ Παρθικοῦ]/ [Ἀ]ρίστου ὑγείας καὶ δ̣[ιαμονῆς καὶ Πλωτείνη]ς Σεβαστῆς καὶ τοῦ σύνπαντος α[ὐτων οἴκου ἱερᾶς τε συγκλήτου] κ̣α̣ὶǀ [δήμου Ῥωμαίων βουλῆς τε καὶ δήμου Φιλιπποπολειτῶν, ἡ]γ̣ε̣μονεύοντος ἐπαρχείας Θρᾴκης Γν[αίου Μινικίου Φαυστείνου (?) πρεσβευτοῦ/ Σεβαστοῦ ἀντιστρατήγου, ὁ πρῶτος ἄρχων (vel ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς) τ]ῆ̣ς Θρᾳκῶν μητροπόλεος (sic) Ταρσας Βασσου κα̣ὶ̣ [ἡ δεῖνα τοῦ δεῖνος ἡ γυνὴ (?) α]ὐτοῦ/ κατεσκέυασαν τὸν πύργον δηναρίων [-]. This inscription was the same as another fragmentary one on the other parascaenium (AE 2005, 1376; Sharankov 2005b, 240-241; 2014, 276; Martinova-Kyutova & Sharankov 2018, 72). The “tower” (τὸν πύργον), that Tarsas funded likely refers to the construction or renovation of the parascaenia.
  52. IGBulg V, #5408; Vagalinski 2009, 83, 193, Cat. #88; Andreeva 2014, 310; Streinu 2018, 360. Ἀγαθῆι τύχηι./ Τὸν θεοφιλέστατον αὐτοκράτορα καὶ τῆς οἰκουμενης ἁπάσης/ δεσπότην Μᾶρ(κον) Αὐρ(ήλιον) Σεουῆρον Ἀ̣[λ]έ̣[ξ]α̣ν̣δ̣ρ̣ο̣ν̣ σεβαστὸν ἡ/ λαμπροτάτη Θρᾳκῶν μητρόπολις Φιλιππόπολις νεοκόρος (sic)/ πρωταρχοῦντος καὶ ἐπιμελουμένου Τ(ίτου) Φλ(αβίου) Πρεισκιανοῦ/ θρᾳκάρχου καὶ ἀρχιερέως δι’ ὅπλων.
  53. Sayar 1998, 75-76; Kesiakova 1999, 49; Sharankov 2007, 529; Vagalinski 2009, 49, fig. I.3/4b; Topalilov 2012, 371; Andreeva 2014, 310, 315-318, 349. Images of these coins are available at www.wildwinds.com; Vagalinski provides a representative sketch of the contemporary medallions. Septimius Severus most likely granted Perinthus neokoros status (the privilege to host a temple to the imperial cult) in 195 CE. Elagabalus’ damnatio memoriae is supposed to have negated his reaffirmation of this status for Perinthus. Sayar then holds that Alexander Severus confirmed Perinthus as neokoros. Andreeva asserts that he did not do this for Philippopolis, but Topalilov disagrees.
  54. Sharankov 2005a, 59-62; 2007, 519-520. Ἠ βουλὴ{ι} καὶ ὁ/ δῆμος τὸ κοινο-/βούλιον τῆς Θρᾳ-/κῶν ἐπαρχείας/ τῆς διηνεκοῦς/ εὐνοίας χάριν/ ἐτείμησεν. Later inscriptions all call the provincial assembly τὸ κοίνον.
  55. Sharankov 2005a, 58-61; 2007, 520-522; Topalilov 2021, 426-428. Ἠ βουλὴ{ι} καὶ ὁ/ [δῆμ]ος τὸν Περίν-/[θιον δῆμο]ν̣ τὸν̣/ ἀ̣δ̣ε̣λ̣[φὸν τῆς δι-]/ηνεκοῦς εὐνο[ί-]/ας καὶ ὁμονοίας/ χάριν/ ἐτείμησεν. The monument’s statue likely personified either harmony or Perinthus.
  56. Latin’s absence is particularly noticeable given the theater’s services to Roman imperial authority. Linguistic anthropologists Bucholtz and Hall (2005, 377-378, 380-381) acknowledge that a language to which people have been long habituated is most often used subconsciously. However, the cultural practices associated with that language ensure that every so often conscious intent informs its use. This is especially the case when those practices are performative, as monuments and interactions in Philippopolis’ theater predominantly were.
  57. Pliny, Nat. Hist., 4.11.41; Kesiakova 1999, 9, 13; Haynes 2011, 9; Topalilov 2012, 364-365, 367-368; 2014, 7-8, 11-12; Dana 2015, 253; Topalilov 2018, 154. “Trimontium” features sparingly in 2nd-3rd c. AD Latin inscriptions from the city (i.e., laterculi praetorianorum, military diplomas, and funerary inscriptions).
  58. Sharankov 2005b, 235-237; Vagalinski 2009, 76; Sharankov 2014, 277; Martinova-Kyutova & Sharankov 2018, 69. Ἡ βουλὴ καὶ ὁ δ-/ῆμος ὁ Φιλιππο-/πολειτῶ̣ν ἐτείμη-/σεν τὸν εὐεργέ̣την τῆς μητρ̣οπόλεως/ Τ̣ιβέριον Κλαύδιον/ Σακέρδωτα Ἰου-/λιανὸν ἐπίτροπον/ Σεβαστοῦ.
  59. Sharankov 2005a, 55-58; 2007, 518-519; 2014, 277; Martinova-Kyutova & Sharankov 2017, 329; 2018, 69-71, fig. 2.2. Τὸ̣ν [ἀ]π̣ὸ̣ π̣ρογόνων πρῶτον/ τῆς ἐπα̣[ρχεί]ας καὶ ἐνάρε/ τον ἄνδρα, [ἀ]ρχιερέα τε τρὶς τῆς/ Θρᾳκῶν ἐπαρχείας καὶ τῶν ἐ-/ν αὐτῇ πόλεων̣ καὶ ἔγδικον τῆς/ μητροπόλεως κα̣ὶ ἐργεπιστάτην/ διά τε τοῦ πρῶτον [ἄρ]ξ̣αι τόπον με/γάλοις ἔργοις τὴν πόλ̣[ιν κε]κ̣οσμηκότα,/ δημοφίλητον καὶ δ̣ι[ὰ βί]ου ἱερ[έ]α Ἀσ-/κληπιοῦ Τ(ίτον) Φλάουιον [Ρησκου?-]/πορεως υἱὸν Κυρείνα Κοτ[υν], etc. As superintendent of building affairs, Kotys perhaps facilitated the theater’s construction. It has even been suggested that Kotys’ name, patronymic, and mention of his ancestors mean that he was related to the Thracian client kings.
  60. AE 2005, 1375; SEG 55:763. Ὑ̣πὲρ τῆς αὐτοκρά̣[τορος Νέρουα Τρ]αιανοῦ Καίσαρος Σεβαστοῦ [Γερμ]α̣νικο̣ῦ Δ̣α̣[κικοῦ Παρθικοῦ]/ [Ἀ]ρίστου ὑγείας καὶ δ̣[ιαμονῆς καὶ Πλωτείνη]ς Σεβαστῆς καὶ τοῦ σύνπαντος α[ὐτων οἴκου ἱερᾶς τε συγκλήτου] κ̣α̣ὶ/ [δήμου Ῥωμαίων βουλῆς τε καὶ δήμου Φιλιπποπολειτῶν, ἡ]γ̣ε̣μονεύοντος ἐπαρχείας Θρᾴκης Γν[αίου Μινικίου Φαυστείνου (?) πρεσβευτοῦ/ Σεβαστοῦ ἀντιστρατήγου, ὁ πρῶτος ἄρχων (vel ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς) τ]ῆ̣ς Θρᾳκῶν μητροπόλεος (sic) Ταρσας Βασσου κα̣ὶ̣ [ἡ δεῖνα τοῦ δεῖνος ἡ γυνὴ (?) α]ὐτοῦ/ κατεσκέυασαν τὸν πύργον δηναρίων [-].
  61. It is possible that their names obscure Thracian ancestry. This could be due either to their or their parents’ hope of great advancement opportunities through the adoption of a more Roman-style name or to patriarchal naming conventions that would not reflect the ancestry of a native Thracian mother.
  62. Vagalinski 2009, 84, 194, Cat. #90, fig. 90; Andreeva 2014, 333, Cat. # II/366; Ducros 2018, 346. The largest of the invitation’s three fragments is restored as: – – – – – – – -/ [- – – ἱερεὺς τοῦ] Ὀ̣λυμπ̣[ίου Διὸς καὶ – – – καὶ ἱερεὺς τοῦ]/ [Σεβαστ]οῦ καὶ ἱε̣[ρεὺς – – – – τῆς Θρακῶν/ [ἐπαρ]χ̣είας Φλ(άβιος) Μοντ̣[ανός – – – – – – ἡγεμονεύοντος τῆς]/ [Θρακῶν] ἐπαρχείας Και[- – -καὶ/ [Αἰ]γιαλὶς σύμβιος αὐ[τοῦ – – – ἐπιτελέσουσιν κυνηγεσίων καὶ μονομαχιῶν ἡμέρας] δύο [- – -]/ – – – ΔΙ πρὸ Θ’ καὶ πρὸ Η’ κα[λ(ανδῶν) – – -] ὥ̣ρας Α – – -/ – -ΕΥ’- -.
  63. IGBulg III,1 1040; Van Nijf 1999, 190-193; Sharankov 2005a, 64-66; Andreeva 2014, 313, Cat. #II/361. [Ἀγαθ]ῇ [τύχῃ]./ [Μου]κιανὸ[ς . . . . .]-/ [. . .]του ἐφηβ[αρχή-]/[σας κ]οσμ[ί]ως τ[ῇ πρώ-]/[τῃ τ]ετρα[ετηρίδι]/ [τοῦ ἱ]εροῦ ἀ[γῶνος Ἀ-/[πόλ]λωνα ἀ̣[νέστη-]/[σα τ]ὸ(ν) Πύθι[ον, ἀγω-]/[νο]θετού[ντων Πο(πλίου)]/ [Οὐι]ρδίου Ἰου[λια-]/[νοῦ] καὶ Αὔλου [no-]/ men – -]ΞΡΛ[- – – – – -]/ [. . .]ΕΤΗ[- – – – – -]/ [. . . . .]ΛΤΟΣ[- – – -].
  64. IGBulg V, #5408; Sharankov 2007, 530-531; Vagalinski 2009, 83, 193, Cat. #88; Topalilov 2013, 187; Andreeva 2014, 310. Ἀγαθῆι τύχηι./ Τὸν θεοφιλέστατον αὐτοκράτορα καὶ τῆς οἰκουμενης ἁπάσης/ δεσπότην Μᾶρ(κον) Αὐρ(ήλιον) Σεουῆρον Ἀ̣[λ]έ̣[ξ]α̣ν̣δ̣ρ̣ο̣ν̣ σεβαστὸν ἡ/ λαμπροτάτη Θρᾳκῶν μητρόπολις Φιλιππόπολις νεοκόρος (sic)/ πρωταρχοῦντος καὶ ἐπιμελουμένου Τ(ίτου) Φλ(αβίου) Πρεισκιανοῦ/ θρᾳκάρχου καὶ ἀρχιερέως δι’ ὅπλων. As Sharankov (2007) discusses, 18 thracarchs are known from inscriptions at Philippopolis. Based on prosopography and onomastics, he posits that many of these men were Thracian (Sharankov 2007, 532; Dana 2015, 253).
  65. IGBulg. III,1 886; Sharankov 2005a, 62-63; Vagalinski 2009, 190, Cat. #80; Andreeva 2014, 313, Cat. #II/360; Sharankov 2014, 285; Topalilov 2014, 9. – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -/ ΩΝ Πό(πλιον) Οὐ̣ί̣[ρδιον]/ Ἰουλιανὸν π̣α̣[τέ-]/ρα δύο χε[ι]λιάρχων̣/ καὶ αὐτὸν ἀπὸ στρα̣-/τείας φυλὴ Κεν-/δρεισηὶς, ἐκδικοῦν-/τος Αὐρ(ηλίου) ‘Ρηβουκενθου,/ ἐπιμελουμένου Αὐρ(ηλίου) Ἀπολ̣-/λωνίδου Αἰλ(ίου) Οὐάλεντος./ εὐτυχῶς.
  66. AE 1999, #1394; IGBulg V, #5468; SEG 47:1088; Sharankov 2005a, 66-67; Topalilov 2012, 391, fig. 23f; 2014, 9; 2021, 433-434. Πό(πλιοιν) Οὐίρδιον Ἰ̣[ουλι-]/ανὸν νέον χ̣[ειλί-]/[αρ]χ̣ον τὸν ῥή̣[τορα]/ φ[υ]λὴ Εὐμολπ[ηὶς]/ τὸν ἥρωα./ Ἕστηνκα ἐν μέ̣[ρει] ǀ πατρὸς παῖς, ὡ[ς ἐ]ǀφέδεν με. ǀ ζωὸν ἐόντα π[ά] ǀǀ τρη στῆσεν ἐ[νὶ] ǀ μεσάτῳ/ Ἐκδικοῦντος Αὐρ(ηλίου) [Πωλ-]/λίωνος τοῦ καὶ Γεωρ̣γ[οῦ]/ ἐπιμελουμένου Αὐρ(ηλίου)/ Χρήστου Γλαύκου.
  67. IGBulg III,1 1020; V, 5450; Vagalinski 2009, 99, 189, Cat. #78. The intact portion of the inscription reads: Σ̣α̣β̣ε̣ῖ̣ν̣ος/ [ε]ὐ[φ]ρ̣α̣σ̣ίαις π̣άσαις τὸν βίον ἐξανύσας/ ο̣ὐ̣ θ̣ηρῶν γενύεσσι δαμείς, νούσῳ δὲ βροτείῃ/ τρειακονταέτης ἤλυθον εἰς Ἀΐδην./ θῆκε δέ μοι μνήμης ἀντάξια δῶρα ποροῦσα/ Ζωὴ τήνδε σορὸν σύνγαμος οὖσα φίλη.
  68. The other two are those to the secutor Pherops (IGBulg V, 5465; Vagalinski 1991, 29, fig. 1; Kesiakova 1999, 49; Vagalinski 2009, 98, 188, Cat. #76, fig. 76) and retiarius Phlameates from Perge in Pamphilia (IGBulg III,1 1018; Kesiakova 1999, 49; Vagalinski 2009, 98, 188-189, Cat. #77). Both are discussed in Schueller 2020, 276-278.
  69. IGBulg III,1 1019; Vagalinski 1991, 29, 31, fig. 3; Kesiakova 1999, 49; Vagalinski 2009, 90-91, 149, Cat. #9. The altar (late 2nd–early 3rd c. CE) from Asenovgrad, c. 18 km from Plovdiv, reads: Βίκτωρ σκευᾶς ἐνθάδε κεῖμαι, πατρὶς/ δέ μου Θεσσαλονείκη· ἔκτεινέ με δαί/μων, οὐχ ὁ ἐπίορκος Πιννας· μηκέτι/ καυχάστω· ἔσχον ἐγὼ σύνοπλα̣ // Πολυνείκην, ὅς κτείνας Πινναν/ ἐξεδίκησεν ἐμέ. Κλ(αύδιος) Θάλλος/ προέστη τοῦ μνημείου ἐξ ὦν κατέλι/πεν.
  70. For further examples, see Ch. 6 in Schueller 2020 (263-307).
  71. Botusharova 1980, 13; 1984, 28-29; Scobie 1988, 204; Kesiakova 1999, 64; Ivanov 2006, 23; Ivanov et al. 2006, 81; Sharankov 2006, 194-195; Vagalinski 2009, 76; Topalilov 2012, 391; Martinova-Kyutova & Sharankov 2018, 74. All these inscriptions date between the 2nd and early 3rd centuries CE. As far as I know, no groups of “philokaisares” have been attested at other cities in the eastern Mediterranean. Martinova-Kyutova & Sharankov suggest that they included members of the council of elders (Gerousia), which would seemingly mean high status.
  72. Wilmott & Garner 2009, 68-69; Urbanus 2017. Magnetometry and ground-penetrating radar have famously revealed shops and inns near Carnuntum’s amphitheater. Archaeologists have also uncovered evidence for vendors’ stalls around Chester and Londinium’s amphitheaters.
  73. Holleran 2012, 189-192. Holleran mentions the mercatus Apollinares, mercatus Romani, and mercatus Plebeii for games of the same names at Rome
ISBN html : 978-2-35613-549-0
Chapitre de livre
EAN html : 9782356135490
ISBN html : 978-2-35613-549-0
ISBN pdf : 978-2-35613-551-3
Volume : 23
ISSN : 2741-1818
Posté le 23/04/2024
30 p.
Code CLIL : 3385; 4117
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Comment citer

Schueller, Matthew, “Audience dynamics in Philippopolis’ theater and their shaping of roman Thrace’s metropolis”, in : Bell, Sinclair W., Berlan-Gallant, Anne, Forichon, Sylvain, dir., Un public ou des publics ? La réception des spectacles dans le monde romain entre pluralité et unanimité, Pessac, Ausonius éditions, collection PrimaLun@ 23, 2024, 187-216, [en ligne] https://una-editions.fr/audience-dynamics-in-philippopolis-theater/ [consulté le 24/04/2024].
Illustration de couverture • Montage S. Forichon et S. Vincent, à partir de :
Sezione interna del Colosseo con spettatori e finta caccia al leone (1769-1770), Vincenzo Brenna, Victoria and Albert Museum, Londres (d'après Gabucci, A. ed. (1999): Il Colosseo, Milan, p. 166-167) ;
Relief dit de Foligno (130×55 cm), Détail, Museo di Palazzo Trinci, Foligno, Italie (photo de S. Bell) ;
Mosaïque dite du Grand Cirque de la villa de Piazza Armerina, Détail, Sicile (d’après Gentili, G. V. et A. Belli (1959) : La Villa Erculia di Piazza Armerina: i mosaici figurati, Collana d’arte Sidera 8, Rome, pl. X) ;
Diptyque en ivoire dit des Lampadii (29×11 cm), Détail, Santa Giulia Museo, Brescia (d’après Delbrueck, R. (1929) : Die Consulardiptychen und verwandte Denkmäler, vol. I-II, Studien zur spätantiken Kunstgeschichte, Berlin-Leipzig, vol. II, pl. 56) ;
Mosaïque dite de Gafsa (4,70×3,40 m), Détail, Musée du Bardo, Tunis (d’après Blanchard-Lemée, M., M. Ennaïfer, H. et L. Slim (1995) : Sols de l’Afrique romaine : mosaïques de Tunisie, Paris, p. 196, fig. 143).
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