Richard Nowitz

The Theater of Dionysus, on the south slope of the Athenian Acropolis, lies in a precinct that was once sacred to the god associated with wine and wild ecstasies. The amphitheater, with its terrace of stone benches carved into the natural hillside, was first built about 500 B.C. to hold dramatic recitations from ancient poets, particularly Homer. The earliest still-visible remains date to 330 B.C.; most of the rest were the work of the Romans, who enlarged the theater to hold 14,000 spectators.