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Temple of Nemesis found under remains of ancient theatre on Greek island of Lesvos

A temple of Nemesis has been found under the ancient theatre of Mytilini, on the northeast island of Lesvos, according to a report by a local news website.

Temple of Nemesis found under remains of ancient theatre on Greek island of Lesvos
View of the excavation [Credit: Sto Nisi]
The remains uncovered on the south parodos of the ancient theatre, under successive layers of large stone plinths originating from the south parodos and skene, and which were removed.

Latest dates show that the theatre had two construction phases, in the Hellenistic era (3rd century BC) and during the Roman occupation (1st century AD). The temple itself dates to the 1st century AD and was identified by a stone altar for offerings and a series of dedicatory inscriptions by priests and prominent personalities.

According to leading excavator and head of the Lesvos Ephorate Pavlos Triantafyllidis: ‟It is no accident that a sanctuary of Nemesis exists inside the south parodos, since in the theatre’s Early Roman period construction of the underground arena in the Hellenistic orchestra allowed for the spectacular duels between the gladiators, whose families lived in Mytilene. The existence of a sanctuary of Nemesis was necessary since the gladiators’ combat had to be rewarded by the administering of justice and for the best among them to be proclaimed a victor”.

Nemesis was an ancient Greek goddess of divine retribution and revenge, especially for hubris committed against the gods.

The excavations in the area continue with the contribution of the University of Bari's school of civil engineering, in Italy. The dual phases of the theatre's construction were established by its professors Georgio Rocco and Monic Livadiotti.

Diazoma, an organisation promoting ancient Greek theatres, quotes Plutarch who said the theatre was so important in antiquity that Pompey copied its plans to build a theatre like it in Rome in 55 BC which became a model for subsequent buildings.

In modern times, very little is preserved of the earlier phases, as the remains have suffered from soil erosion and from removal for use in the Mytilini castle during the middle Ages.

Source: ANA-MPA [May 17, 2019]


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