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Iguvium Roman Theatre, Modern Gubbio, Italy.

This monument has been mentioned and described since the 15th century. It underwent several restoration works, the most important one being that carried out by G. Sacconi and D. Viviani in I900, when it was freed by all the surrounding buildings.

The 70 meters wide cavea could accommodate up to 6000 spectators. The theater, built in an opus quadratum of rusticatedl imestone blocks, is a two-storey structure: the ground level in opus reticulatum, with vaulted access to the tiers, and the upper storey, occupied by the porticus in summa cavea, with Doric colonnade. A praecinctio separated two maenania (orders) of white limestone tiers accessible by means of steps. The concave limestone orchestra floor is separated from the stage by a low wall behind which are the curtain-handling cabins. The emblem depicting a fight scene between a lion and a leopard, which used to be part of an opus vermiculatum polychrome mosaic, might very likely come from the area: discovered in XVI cent., due to changing fortunes, it is nowadays held at Holkham Hall, Norfolk, in England.

Not much is left of the stage, which was articulated in three niches that frame the access to the stage, and enriched by a facade on two order levels (Ionic and Corinthian) and niches with polychrome marble facing and plasterwork. On the sides are two rectangular halls (basilicae). The theater was mainly built by the middle of the 1st. cent. B.C., as attested by a monumental epigraph inscribed on squared limestone blocks, which was originally installed in the building and is now exhibited at the Museo Comunale of Palazzo dei Consoli.

The work was completed around 20 BC. by quattuorvir Cn. Satrius Rufus, as documented by two twin-inscriptions that were placed at the entrance of the basilicae like balustrades.At the back, the fornices have been enhanced and arranged to hold a permanent exhibition of archaeological finds from the theater.A series of chambers were dug up in the area in front of the theater, some of them showing remains of pavements in opus signinum,walls built in opus caementicium with an opus vittatum facing of small limestone blocks, gutters and two cesspits. Materials allowed dating levels to Pre-Roman Age and they also documented that the theater was in use until the end of IV cent. A.D. For example, a heap of Late Imperial Age coins was found in a burnt layer, which probably dates back to the period when the pertaining
settlement fell into disuse.

This building, well known since the 15th century, undervent several restorations: the final one was made in 1900 by G. Sacconi and D. Viviani, who removed the
modern houses attached to its walls. The 70 metres wide cavea had a capacityof 6000 spectators. The two-storey theatre was built in an opus quadratum of
limestone blocks. The ground level has an outer wall in opus reticulatum withvaulted accesses to the cavea: the upper storey had a doric colonnade running
around the top of the summa cavea. The auditorium was divided horizontally in two zones by a broad corridor (praecinctio). Each of these zones, often called
maeniana by modern scholars, was reserved for a particular section of the population. The rows of seats and the orchestra pavement were made of white

The back wall of the poorly preserved stage was decorated by two storeys of columns (ionic and corinthian) with niches containing statues: each niche was
adorned with polychrome marbles and frescoes. The theatre can be dated to the mid-first century BC: this is evidenced by some inscribed limestone blocks
belonging to the building, now on display in the Museo Civico. The building was finished circa 20 BC by the magistrate Cn. Satrius Rufus: this
is recorded by two identical inscriptions, now in the Museo Civico, which were placed at the entrance of the basilicae (rooms beyond the lateral accesses to
the stage).

The inscription mentions Cnaeus Satrius Rufus, son of Cnaeus, a quattuorvir iure dicundo who was commemorated for roofing the basilicas, paving them with
stone and providing new skirting-boards: he paid for this with his own money and donated HS 6,000 when he was elected decurion, HS 3,450 as provisions
to the army, HS 6,200 for restoring Diana’s temple and HS 7,750 for “games in honour of the victory of Augustus."

From: Iguvium Archiological Site in Gubbio, Italy. 2015.



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Copyright © 2003 Thomas G. Hines, Department of Theatre, Whitman College. All Rights Reserved. The Ancient Theatre Archive is a non-profit, educational project, located at Whitman College, USA. Research and Publication Partially Funded Through Grants from Whitman College, The United States Institute for Theatre Technology, and The National Endowment for the Humanities.
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