Even ancient amphitheaters had VIP box seats! Archaeologists uncover private seating areas with names engraved on them at a 1,800-year-old arena in Turkey
Ancient amphitheaters had box seats, according to a new study, which found a private seating area with names engraved at a 1,800-year-old arena in Turkey. The discovery of the ‘VIP box seats’ was made during an excavation of the Pergamon amphitheater in the ancient city of Pergamon, which is located in Turkey’s western Ismir province.
The amphitheater was a replica of the Colosseum in Rome, and could seat up to 50,000, according to experts from the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin. Pictured: A view of excavation works in Pergamon Ancient City in Bergama district of Izmir, Turkey, on September 22, 2021.
Inside the 1800-year-old amphitheater in the ancient city of Pergamon, special seats were found for the elite who watched shows such as gladiator or wild animal fights through the 2nd century. The space was likely also used for public executions and to re-enact naval battles, the team said.
The discovery of the ‘VIP box seats’ was made during an excavation of the Pergamon amphitheater in the ancient city of Pergamon, in Turkey’s western Ismir province.
Among these thousands of seats were a selection of exclusive VIP boxes, and on the seats in the boxes they found Latin names engraved using Greek letters.
Pictured: The location of Pergamon Amphitheater in Turkey.
‘They wanted to build a replica of the Colosseum here, which was frequented by all segments of society,’ researcher Felix Pirson told the Anadolu Agency (AA).
People from the upper class or important families had private seats in special sections with their names engraved on them.
Archaeologists excavating the remarkable amphitheater have discovered five private seating areas and efforts are underway to understand the exact number. Excavation work on the amphitheater started in 2018, and it has been described as important to archaeology due to the fact it is so similar to Rome’s Colosseum.
The VIP areas, recently uncovered, are remarkably similar to those found in modern day sports stadiums and entertainment venues, according to the team.
It was built during the Roman era and was designed to be very large, in order to give it an edge over other ancient cities in the region – including Ephesus and Smyrna.
Very rich and important families had special areas reserved for them in private boxes, and the team behind the discovery say they were ‘mainly Italian’.
The discovery was made as part of the TransPergMicro Project, that is bringing together archaeology, research, and physical geography to judge the historical human-environment relations during the ‘Anthropocene’.
The Anthropocene is a yet to be ratified unit of geologic time that describes the most recent period in Earth’s history, covering the period of human activity.
They discovered the settlement of Pergamon in Turkey started in the 2nd Century BCE, with evidence of some people living there as far back as the 7th Century BCE.
It was a rich and powerful ancient Greek city in Mysia, a region in the northwest of ancient Asia Minor, which is the Asian part of modern Turkey.
In the second century BCE it became the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon, where it became one of the major cultural centers of the ancient Greek world.
Pirson said all the finds of the project will be displayed at Pergamon Museum in Izmir, after the excavation is scheduled to finish, toward the end of this year.
Under Roman rule it came to become one of the most important cultural and economic centers of the region by the 2nd Century CE, with a spate of building work, including the amphitheater, a forum and monuments.