Photo by Aaron Levin

The elegant 5,000-seat theater at Caesarea, once the capital of Roman Palestine, was one of many public entertainment buildings concentrated in the center of town. Author Yosef Porath argues that Herod designed Caesarea specifically to project power and enhance the prestige of its rulers. As the Byzantine-period wall visible in the picture indicates, successive rulers renovated and altered the city. Indeed, modern Israelis have reconstructed parts of the theater and use it today for performances. Also visible in the picture is a semicircular space behind the stage, which the Romans added after its original construction for use in nautical combat games.