© Ministry of Culture and Sports, © 15th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities
General view of the small theatre
The Second, also called ?small? Ancient Theatre of Larissa, lies on the south-western slope of Pefkakia hill, which was flattened during the 50s in order to facilitate allotment and the construction of residential buildings in the region. It is not certain whether Pefkakia hill was standing alone or formed the natural prolongation of Frourio hill; nevertheless, we know that the area was already inhabited in the Early Bronze Age (third millennium BC). By the finding of an inscribed column dedicated to Dimitra and Kore, it is deemed that, during classical antiquity, besides the theatre, here lied also a Thesmoforio, a temple dedicated to these two deities. In the Byzantine era, that spot was probably chosen for the erection of a church dedicated to St. Sofia, or according to others, to St. Paraskevi. The religious importance of the place did not diminish with the passage of years, not even during the Ottoman dominion, when at the consequent ruins of the Byzantine church was erected the Hassan Bei mosque, most renowned in the city. Based on excavation evidence, the construction of the Second Ancient Theatre is dated to the second half of the first century BC. The person responsible for the excavation of the monument, Athanasios Tziafalias, formulated the opinion that it was related to the ?Elefth?ria? celebration, including sporting events and horse races, theatrical and musical performances, as well as recitation of poetry. Very likely, the First Ancient Theatre of the city could not suffice for cultural events anymore, since it was slowly deprived of its purely theatrical nature and gradually altered into an arena.

The cavea (gr.: koilo, auditorium) was divided by fourteen staircases into thirteen cunei. Each cuneus comprised two rows of seats made of grey-white marble, probably produced at the Gonnous quarries. The average seats were 1.20m in length, 0.80m in width and 0.30m thick; on their upper surface, a shallow concavity (0.40m wide and 0.02m deep) ensured comfortable placement for the legs of spectators sitting on the upper row. The marbling of the cavea was never completed, probably because of financial recession; thus the remaining part was presumably covered with wooden seats, known in the antiquity as ?ikr?a?. The orchestra floor, 29.70m in diameter, is composed of two layers of beaten earth containing river gravel. At its right came to light part of the theatre's stepped thymeli (altar), made out of white marble and decorated with Lesbian waterleaves. Out of three sections it appeared to have in its initial form, only the base and the lower section are preserved. At its south side was uncovered a marble block with tenons on the upper surface, probably the base of a statue. The theatre's scene is 15.70m long, 4.50m wide and consists of three small rooms. Its 0.60m high walls survived; they are built of small rubble stones cemented by mud, yet the front includes sparse blocks, supported by poros stone slabs. The brick superstructure was covered with Laconian type roof tiles. The flooring of spaces consists of beaten earth containing fine gravel, and each room has an entrance to the orchestra with a marble threshold. At the back of scene was found part of a 50m long fortified wall, eventually an enclosure, whereas the scenic building is flanked by two independent constructions forming a T. Their nature and their likely relation to the scene remain obscure. Remarkably enough, the marble used for the benches and stairs of the cavea, as well as for the retaining walls of the parodoi (passageways, public entrances) does not come from quarries, but is re-used building material of some older building. By the form of the stones we suppose that this particular building had a circular ground plan; a fact eventually significant of its use, are the inscriptions by emancipated slaves on the stones' surface, dating back to the late third century BC.

On the first May 1978, the theatre was located at the junction of Velissariou and Ergatikis Protomagias streets, following excavation works for the construction of a residential complex. The systematic excavation of the monument took place between 1985 and 1986, bringing to light the scene, the orchestra, the cavea, as well as the right and part of the left parodos.
15th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities
  See Also
Ancient Theatre A of Larissa