Theater of Mount Ietas
Mount Ietas, Sicily, Italy
4th century BCE
The Monte Jato theater was built in the late fourth century BCE probably imitating the most famous theater of the time- that of Dionysius in Athens.
Both the auditorium of the theater scene of Mount Ietas were rich with various module stone sculptures; the decorative ensemble has been reconstructed on the basis of elements found in their original location, in collapsed position or reused in later buildings or set aside as a result of their disposal.
The lower tiers of the auditorium (proedria) were probably ornate at the lateral ends by lion’s paws, as suggested by the discovery of a paw. The two east and west sides of the auditorium, in front of the stage building, lay a foundation on which was placed the limestone statue of a crouching lion, who turned his head toward the scene. The original stage building was embellished by various decorative elements, but the most notable are made up of four limestone sculptures in high relief, and larger than life reproducing two male figures (Satyrs) and two women (maenads) who were part of the action Dionysus, god of the theater, maenads and satyrs have the attributes that distinguish them as followers of Dionysus: the maenads wear peblo Doric and carrying on her head a crown of ivy leaves and fruits; satyrs, with beards and equine ears, the loins and girded by a fur skirt and lead to strap an ivy crown. It is statues with decorative function but also structural, scenic architecture support; Mount Ieta can be counted among the earliest examples of this type of architectural decoration for that subject and composition of the figures with arms raised and folded back, it features typical of theaters in Sicily. At the current state it remains dubious the exact location of 4 sculptures as part of the stage. Each is composed of three superimposed blocks, stuccoed and painted origin. And their state of preservation is uneven. The sculptures of satyrs, are in bad state, and were spotted embedded in medieval buildings: the maenads, best preserved, were found west of the stage. The scenic roof of the building was adorned by acroteria (architectural elements figured). Three of these, palm-type “flame” shape with acanthus at the center, already attested in the Parthenon of Athens were found collapsed in the northwestern area of the agora and were attributed to the eastern end of the scene. Made in the same limestone of the other decorative elements of the theater, including menhaden and satyrs, the palms of Iato have narrow types and stylistic similarities with three acroteria from Soluntum, whose relevance context is not known. There is no news acroteria similar to those of Monte Jato from other theaters of Sicily.