It’s easy to get lost in the hugeness of Athens. The large, statuesque Parthenon. The way the Acropolis towers over the city. The various Stoa buildings in the Agora. All at once, its centuries of history can be pretty overwhelming (albeit beautiful) and the signs there are no help. Usually, they discuss architectural dimensions rather than history.
On a recent visit to the Agora however, I was fascinated by one ruin in particular: the Odeon of Agrippa. The look of the building wasn’t particularly interesting or even intact but I did read that it was an ancient concert hall.
Well…that’s an understatement. The concert hall sat 1000 guests which isn’t massive by today’s standards but for a building smack dab in the middle of the Agora (basically the city centre of Ancient Greece) that’s pretty impressive. Oh and I suppose it being built in 15 BC is doubly impressive.
19 rows of seating, a roof and a marble orchestra pit topped this impressive building off. Can you imagine the sound? Can you imagine the music? I’d say that’s pretty much the dream- live music in the middle of the Ancient Greek Agora.
Unfortunately, the building was partially destroyed, rebuilt as a lecture hall and destroyed completely in later years. Today, what remans are a few pillar bases and capitals. The ruins stand as a reminder of how deeply and for how long our society has been entwined with music.
Peace, love and history.
P.S. Here are some other photos from my trip to Athens, Aegina, Poros and Hydra!