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Herodian Entertainment Structures

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Chapter Summary

Entertainment structures constituted a significant part of the Herodian building projects in Herods kingdom and beyond, serving his internal and external political interests. According to Josephus, theatres were built in Jerusalem, Jericho, Caesarea, Sidon and Damascus; amphitheatres/hippodromes in Jerusalem, Jericho, and Caesarea. Gymnasia were constructed only outside his realm, in Tripolis, Damascus and Ptolemais, and in Cos he set a yearly endowment for the gymnasiarch. In year 12 BCE, as a reward for his munificence in providing funds for the Olympic Games, Herod was awarded the title of perpetual president of the games. The sources of architectural inspiration on the Herodian entertainment structures in the Hellenistic and Roman world, and their role in the later evolution of the theatre and hippo-stadium in our region are discussed in this chapter.

Keywords: Caesarea; Damascus; Herod; hippodrome; Jericho; Jerusalem; Sidon



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