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Steps in the Agora of Kamiros

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“Theatre” is clearly a conventional term, as this is a stepped area forming part of an open-air sanctuary in the agora of Kamiros. From the steps, the faithful could watch the ceremonies and sacrifices carried out onan altar/sacrificial hearth in front of the steps. According to another interpretation, the area,   though   sacred,   was   used   as   a   meeting-place   of   the   local   councils   and city authorities.   This   function   is   consistent   with   the   inscribed   list   of   names   of   thedamiurges, the eponymous archons of Kamiros, who were also priests of Hestia andZeus Teleios. The inscription, on the lateral sides of the fountain colonnade, is dated to the latter half of the 1st c. BC. The sanctuary consists  of two  squares, a   smaller one  on the  south with a central rectangular altar or votive offering base, and a second, larger one on the north. On the east side of the second square lie the three steps, arranged in an open U-shape. Very close  to them is  preserved an  altar or sacrificial hearth  of upright slabs.  The two squares are divided by a free-standing colonnade. This is the remnant of an older, Late Classical fountain, which was abolished when the sanctuary was built in the early Hellenistic period. The sanctuary remained in use into Roman times. At some later phase, during the Hellenistic period, the originally open face of the square with the steps was closed off by a wall adorned with half-columns and with three doorways in its centre. In the Roman period, a paved road ran through the centre of the square, along which votive offering bases were discovered during the Italian excavation The sanctuary, along with the rest of the Kamiros archaeological site, was excavated and  reconstructed by the  Italian Archaeological  Institute of  Rhodes in 1928-1944,during the period of Italian rule.

 

 

 

 

Monument Name
“Theatre” at the “sanctuary of the Fountain Square” in the agora of Kamiros.
Category
Sanctuary
Brief Description

“Theatre” is clearly a conventional term, as this is a stepped area forming part of an open-air sanctuary. From the steps, the faithful could watch the ceremonies and sacrifices carried out on an altar/sacrificial hearth in front of the steps. According to another interpretation, the area, though sacred, was used as a meeting-place of the local councils and city authorities.

Images - Plans

Documentation is held in the archives of the 22nd Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and the Italian School of Archaeology at Athens.

Documentation - Bibliography

1.       G. Jacopi, Esplorazione archeologica di Camiro II, Clara Rhodos VI-VII, 1932,223 ff.

2.       Γρ. Κωνσταντινόπουλος, Φιλέρημος, Ιαλυσός – Κάμιρος, Οδηγός Εκδόσεων Απόλλων, pp. 40-63.

3.       Γρ. Κωνσταντινόπουλος, Αρχαία Ρόδος, Αθήνα 1986, 168-178.

4.       H. Lauter, Struktur statt Typus. Zu einem hellenistischen Architekturmotiv, AA 1982, 703-724.

5.       L. M. Caliò, Lo ΙΕΡΟΘΥΤΕΙΟΝ e la funzione della stoa di Camiro, Parola del Passato LIX, 2004, pp. 451-452.

6.       A. Di Vita, La topografia della città, in Livadiotti –Rocco, op. cit., pp. 66-70.  7. D. Heilmeyer, ΘΕΟΙΣ ΠΑΣΙ – Pergamon und Rom, in Ρόδος 2400 χρόνια. Η πόλη της Ρόδου από την ίδρυσή της μέχρι την κατάληψη από τους Τούρκους (1523). Διεθνές Επιστημονικό Συνέδριο, Ρόδος, 24-29 Οκτωβρίου 1993, Vol. II, Αθήνα 2000, pp. 83-88.

 Location

Ancient Kamiros, Municipality of Rhodes, Prefecture of the Dodecanese.

Dating

Hellenistic / Roman period.

General Description of Monument

The steps, conventionally termed a theatre, forms part of an open-air sanctuary in theagora of Kamiros, consisting of two squares, a smaller one on the south with a centralrectangular altar or votive offering base, and a second, larger one on the north. On the east side of the second square lie the three steps, arranged in an open U-shape. Very close to them is preserved an altar or sacrificial hearth of upright slabs. The two squares are divided by a free-standing colonnade of Doric pilasters and piers at its ends; this is the remnant of an older, Late Classical fountain, which was abolished when the sanctuary was built in the early Hellenistic period. The colonnade was retained as a dividing line between the two squares. According to D. Heilmeyer, the maller square, behind the colonnade, was the most important area of the sanctuary.The faithful, sitting on the steps of the second square, could observe through the half-columns the ceremonial rites carried out behind the dividing colonnade and on the altar in front of the steps. He also believes that the sanctuary was dedicated to all the Greek gods, as indicated by its architecture and, above all, the inscription θεοῖς πᾶσι (“to all the gods”) on the bases of the many votive offerings. More recently, the Italian researcher of Kamiros L. Caliò has opined that the area,though sacred, was used as a meeting-place of the local councils and city authorities.This function is consistent with the inscribed list of names of the damiurges, the eponymous archons of Kamiros, who were also priests of Hestia and Zeus Teleios. The inscription, on the lateral sides of the fountain colonnade, is dated to the latter half of the 1st c. BC.The sanctuary remained in use into Roman times. At some later phase, during the Hellenistic period, the originally open face of the square with the steps was closed off by a wall adorned with half-columns and with three doorways in its centre. In the Roman period, a paved road ran through the centre of the square, along which votive offering bases were discovered during the Italian excavation. The road is no longer visible, as it was filled in during the Italian reconstruction. That is also when the inscribed votive offering bases must have been placed in the square and on the steps.

Current Situation

Relatively good state of preservation.

Excavations - Interventions

The sanctuary, along with the rest of the Kamiros archaeological site, was excavated and reconstructed by the Italian Archaeological Institute of Rhodes in 1928-1944, during the period of Italian rule.

Permitted Uses

Located in an archaeological site open to the public.

History of Modern Uses

Additional Information

There is no public access to the south square of the sanctuary, in order to protect the antiquities.

Intellectual Rights

Jurisdiction

Ministry of Culture /22nd Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities.

Latitude

Longitude

Altitude