The Odeion of Ancient Ephesus is a small, semi-circular theater originally constructed in the 2nd century A.D and financed by PubliusVedius Antonius and his wife FlaviaPaiana. The building would have served as a space for political meetings, social events, concerts and theatrical performances.

Two councils administrated Ephesus. The Bouleia, or senate, served as the advisory council of Ephesus and would have used the Odeon for its gatherings. The members of this governing body were chosen from the aristocratic class of Ephesians. This group held all political, executive, religious and judicial power. They would have overseen construction of all public structures in the city, including temples, theatres, and baths. The Bouleia would have also been in charge of collecting taxes, and control over running public buildings.

On feast days the Odeon would have filled with spectators for concerts. The semi-circular building had capacity for 1500 spectators. It had five total entrances, three of which would have opened from the stage to a narrow podium. The podium is raised about one meter higher than the orchestra section. This podium and some parts of the seating areas have been restored.

The stage building had two stories and would have been enclosed with a wooden roof. The tiered seats were divided into two sections by a circular walkway known as a “diazoma”. Seats in lower sections would have been reserved for important people. This is evident because they are wider than seats in the upper level which would have been used by less important or affluent citizens.

Two corridors on each side of the Odeon would have given people access to the higher seats. There are circular gaps among the upper seats shaped like open mouths. These arched entryways are called “Vomiteriums” for their shape. Vomit is the Greek word meaning mouth. These would have served as entrances for late comers searching for seats.

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