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Space, imagination and Vitruvius in archaeological [re]construction : reconsidering a modus operandi Millette, Daniel M. 1997

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Space, Imagination and Vitruvius in Archaeological [Re]construction; Reconsidering a Modus Operandi Daniel M. Millette B.A. (Hons), The University of Ottawa, 1993 M.A. (Geog), The University of British Columbia, 1995 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ADVANCED STUDIES IN ARCHITECTURE in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (School of Architecture) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August 1997 ® 1997, by Daniel M. Millette In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes" may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of 5t^oau -ft.-fw The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date DE-6 (2788) Abstract This thesis challenges the way hypothetical Vitruvius-based classical theatre [reconstructions are readily undertaken and accepted in conventional architectural and archaeological research. The cultural matrix born out of the settling of the Roman provinces—in this case, Gaul—was one which evolved out of the adaptation and adoption of mores, crafts, techniques and meanings of meeting cultures; cultural and geographical context were inextricably linked to a region-specific architecture. In Gaul, there remain enough examples to state that the theatre probably deviated substantially from the design tenets elucidated by Vitruvius. Analysis of a hypothetical architecturally [reconstructed theatre—that of Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges—reveals that the [reconstruction is based on sparse archaeological evidence and, for the most part, is grounded within an imaginative interpretation of Vitruvius' broad Roman theatre design tenets. The [reconstruction recalls Vitruvius' Book V section on theatres but neglects archaeologically revealed architectonic details that highlight the monument as one which deviates from Vitruvius' Roman model. Thus, from the historical and cultural evidence, including an overview of Gaul's extant theatre remains, and from an analysis of one such [reconstruction, it is unlikely that Vitruvius can be relied upon with any certainty to [reconstruct Gaul's theatres. The epistemology of the interpretation of the De architectura libri decern suggests that the tradition of [reconstructing monuments—in this case, theatres—is mired within a set of "tendencies" that exist within the architectural and archaeological professions: The tendency to borrow Vitruvius as a means to render authority to one's work, the tendency to use the treatise within a didactic framework, the tendency to position the text vis-a-vis the study of classical monuments and vice versa, and the tendency to use "imagined" illustrations within translations of Vitruvius' work and similar treatises, have all been part of a process through which a canonization of Vitruvius' writings has taken place. It is through this process that [reconstruction by means of the text has become accepted and condoned within the architectural and archaeological professions. ii Contents Abstract ii List of Figures iv Acknowledgements v i Chapter 1 - Beginnings 1 1.1 Introduction 1 1.2 Argument 3 1.3 Context 3 1.4 The Classical Theatre 10 1.4.1 The Vitruvius Theatre Design Tenets 13 1.4.1a The Roman Design 14 1.4.1b The Greek Design 17 1.5 Conclusion 18 Chapter 2 - Society and Culture in Constructing Gaul's Theatre 20 2.1 Introduction 20 2.2 Historical Background 20 2.3 Gallo-Roman Society and Building 22 2.3.1 On the Use of Wood 24 2.3.2 On the Use of Earth 26 2.3.3 On the Use of Stone 27 2.3.4 On the Use of Quarries and Marble 29 2.4 Theatre Design in Gaul 31 2.5 Conclusion 39 Chapter 3 - {Reconstructing the Theatre 42 3.1 Introduction 42 3.2 The 1920's Explorations 44 3.3 The 1990's Excavations 53 3.4 The [Reconstruction 62 3.5 [De]constructing the [Reconstruction 66 3.6 Conclusion 75 Chapter 4 - Tradition, Imagination and Theatre Constructions 79 4.1 Introduction 79 4.2 Authority and Authentication 80 4.3 Didactics 83 4.4 Interpretations and Imaginations 86 4.5 Conclusion; Filling in the Gaps 108 Chapter 5 - Conclusions 114 Bibliography 119 iii List of Figures Figure 1.1 - The Theatre of Marcellus 13 Figure 1.2 - The Roman Theatre According to Vitruvius 15 Figure 1.3 - The Greek Theatre According to Vitruvius 18 Figure 2.1 - Quarry Surface at Saint-Beat 30 Figure 2.2 - Theatrical Mask - Eglise Saint-Just 33 Figure 2.3 - Theatre Typologies - Comparative Schematics 38 Figure 3.1 - Roman Town Plan; Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges 43 Figure 3.2 - Upper Cavea Excavations; 1929-30 45 Figure 3.3 - Theatre Excavations; 1920's 46 Figure 3.4 - Theatre Exploration areas; 1920's 47 Figure 3.5 - Post-Hole Detail; Upper Cavea Trench 50 Figure 3.6 - The "Grande Arche" 51 Figure 3.7 - Sapene's Theatre and Porticus Postscaenam Siting Plan 53 Figure 3.8 - Theatre Excavation Areas; 1990's 54 Figure 3.9 - Possible Construction Phases of the "Grande Arche" 56 Figure 3.10 - Hill profile Through the Cavea 58 Figure 3.11 - Drain Detail; Porticus Postscaenam 60 Figure 3.12 - Detail Plan of the Theatre's Eastern Extremity 61 Figure 3.13 - [Reconstructed Theatre; Plan 63 Figure 3.14 - [Reconstructed Theatre; Axonometric 63 Figure 3.15 - [Reconstructed Theatre; Plan Study 65 Figure 3.16 - [Reconstructed Theatre; Sectional Study 65 Figure 3.17 - [Reconstructed Theatre; Preliminary [Reconstruction Plan 68 Figure 3.18 - [Reconstructed Theatre; Section 72 Figure 3.19 - The "Grande Arche"; Part Elevation 74 Figure 3.20 - Preliminary and [Reconstruction Plans; Superimposed 77 Figure 4.1 - Alberti's Version of the Vitruvius Theatre 90 Figure 4.2 - Filarete's Schematic Version of the Theatre 93 Figure 4.3 - Cesariano's Version of the Vitruvius Theatre 96 Figure 4.4 - Fra Giocondo's Version of the Vitruvius Theatre 97 Figure 4.5 - Serlio's Version of the Vitruvius Theatre 99 Figure 4.6 - Perrault's Version of the Vitruvius Theatre 104 Figure 4.7 - Palladio's Version of the Vitruvius Theatre 105 Figure 4.8 - Palladio's Drawing of the Theatre at Berga 106 Figure 4.9 - Palladio's Teatro Olimpico 108 Figure 4.10 - Choisy's Version of the Vitruvius Cavea 110 Figure 4.11 - Morgan's Version of the Vitruvius Theatre 111 Figure 4.12 - The Theatre at Aspendus as Used by Morgan 111 Acknowledgements This thesis was written in relatively short time: nine months. Its themes, however, developed over a much longer period: nine years. It was through undergraduate studies in Classics and numerous seasons of archaeological investigations at Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges in southern France that I began thinking about Vitruvius' writings and the role of imagination in architecture and archaeology. There are many people who have helped me along the way. At the University of Ottawa, Professor Michel Janon's willingness to accept me as a member of his archaeological research team was instrumental in sparking my interest in classical architecture. Even now, from his office at the Institut de Recherche sur l'Architecture Antique in Aix, he continues to be an inspiration for my academic undertakings and theoretical meanderings. Professor Barry Bell at Carleton University's School of Architecture has provided me with intellectual support throughout my graduate studies in architecture; my critique of his theatre [reconstruction is in the spirit of academic debate and in no way deflects my respect and admiration for his work. Professor Anthony Barrett, Head of the Classics Department at the University of British Columbia gave me sound advice with the final draft; his comments have greatly enabled the final outcome. Here at the School of Architecture, I am indebted to Professor Deborah Weiner, Chair of the MASA program, who has allowed me to think freely and pursue my own ideas. I remain especially thankful to Professor Sherry McKay who read, discussed, re-read, listened, and most of all, motivated. Finally, there are two people without whose moral support I could not have successfully undertaken this study: Mai, who was there in the beginning. And Joanne, who was, is, and will be. vi Space, Imagination and Vitruvius in Archaeological [Reconstruction; Reconsidering a Modus Operandi "Le philologue cherchera d'abord a reconstruire la realite, le monde, a partir du texte, en retrouvant I'intention de I'auteur et en iinterpretant en fonction des modes de penser du lecteur contemporain. Cependant, le mot «reconstruire» presuppose deja une relation souple, voire une certaine mouvance interpretative." Georg Germann, 1991, 4. "...I'etude des ruines de theatres romains n'en constitue pas moins une tache indispensable, qui incombe precisement a I 'histoire de I'architecture..." Edmond Frezouls, 1982, 348. Chapter 1 - Beginnings 1.1 Introduction In the late 1920's, the local schoolmaster of the French town of Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges was busily undertaking archaeological excavations throughout the local terrain. The name of the original settlement is not clear, although scholars have come to refer to it as Lugdunum Convenae. Certainly, the fact that the area was rich in Roman vestiges was not a new discovery; as early as 1555, Jan Gardet and Dominique Bertin had included it in their regional architectural and archaeological studies (Graillot, 1919, 294). And by 1913, Raymond Lizop, among others, had undertaken brief archaeological explorations throughout the area (Lizop, 1931; 1935, 123). Situated in a somewhat remote region of the French Pyrenees, the schoolteacher aimed to highlight the importance of the town and its origins; his goal was to confirm that the settlement had been a key regional centre established by Pompey on his return from Spain in 72 BC (Sapene, 1954). In the typical archaeological method of the time, Bertrand Sapene's excavations and research focussed on digging for artifacts all-the-while following the outlines of built structures. In this rudimentary fashion, he was easily able to confirm what previous travellers had deduced by observing the local landscape: Among 1 other buildings, a theatre had been built along the main slope of the hillside town (Lizop, 1931, 391-93). Interestingly, Sapene seems to have spent very little time speculating on the theatre's construction. With the exception of cryptic field notes (Sapene, 1930-34), somewhat brief excavation reports (Sapene, 1931; 1932) and sporadic articles that replicated his reports (Sapene, 1928-32; 1947), he did not pursue the theatre further. And although Grenier (1958, 808-14) described the theatre within his general archaeological overview of the region, no one subsequently undertook a detailed study of the monument. Its site and situation, construction details and overall importance within the urban and social setting remained unexamined for almost sixty years. Site explorations resumed in 1985 (Lequement, 1986, 316), but excavations encompassing both the theatre and its porticus postscaenam, the open-air circulating space located to the rear of the theatre, were not re-instigated until 1990. After eight seasons of work, many sections of the two linked structures have been surveyed, with the theatre's situation within the urban context partially established and various components of both monuments now understood. In spite of the many questions that have been answered, there is still insufficient evidence to establish the true built form of the original theatre. The theatre's western extremity, for example, was completely destroyed during the late eighteenth century (May, 1989, 119) and the orchestra and stage structures continue to be covered by nineteenth century buildings. Yet in spite of the lacunae of evidence, a design [reconstruction has been undertaken! The [reconstruction is based in great part on the ideals and design tenets described by Vitruvius and therefore, not surprisingly, mirrors the ideal Roman theatre. But is the [reconstruction a true representation of the theatre at Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges? 2 1.2 Argument Can we continue to adopt the principles outlined by Vitruvius, a priori, in the design [reconstructions of Gaul's theatres? In this thesis, it is posited that Vitruvius cannot be relied upon with any certainty to [reconstruct Gaul's theatres. More broadly, the thesis challenges the way [reconstructions based on the Vitruvius ideal are readily undertaken and accepted. The argument is three-pronged: First, it is predicated upon the place-specific social, cultural and colonial realities of Gaul. Second, it is based on the technical aspects of theatre design and construction. And third, it is established upon an analysis of the tradition of theatre [reconstruction. The thesis first examines the impact of Roman colonization as it relates to the building crafts on the one hand, and to theatre architecture on the other, highlighting the differences between Gaul's theatres and Vitruvius' Roman theatre ideal (Chapter 2). It then analyzes the [reconstruction of a specific Gallo-Roman theatre—the theatre at Saint-Bertrand-de-Comrninges—deconstructing it, so-to-speak, to show that it may not be appropriate to base [reconstructions of Gaul's theatres on Vitruvius' design tenets (Chapter 3). And finally, it takes a rear-view look at Vitruvius-based treatises and translations, uncovering the process by which it has become acceptable practice to imagine [reconstructed theatres and use Vitruvius to authenticate and legitimize these constructions (Chapter 4). The importance of the latter is highlighted when we consider that [reconstructions become part of the "record" which in turn becomes evidence that can be utilized, as Frampton (1994) has noted, in "the restoring [of] the ruin to the artificiality of its imagined 'original state'" (22). 1.3 Context Conventional research in classical archaeology relies extensively on the writings of Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (born around 84 BC) to understand technique, intent and meaning in 3 classical architecture. As the only comprehensive architectural treatise surviving from antiquity, Vitruvius' De architecture! libri decern, or Ten Books on Architecture, reveal design ideals that would otherwise not be obvious among often confusing archaeological evidence. Architects and archaeologists turn to the text to gain insight into the surviving monuments of Rome and the provinces and produce theoretical [reconstructions of monuments. In this way, the theatres of Gaul are interpreted and [reconstructed vis-a-vis the ancient writer's text. Vitruvius, however, was a single writer with a singular point of view; he was a retired military officer living in Italy and was observing architecture at a particular moment in time. The exact date of Vitruvius' written work is unclear. Granger (1983) estimates that it was completed before 27 BC (xiv). Fleury (1990), on the other hand, leaves the date at between 35 and 25 BC (xxiii). And Baldwin (1990) posits that the text's completion may have been more gradual (425). Ambiguous as the final date may be, Vitruvius would have taken considerable time in "researching" his work and probably finished the treatise shortly after Augustus (d. 14 AD) assumed power, dedicating it to the emperor in his Book I's preface. He seems to have been only moderately successful as an architect, writing of a single personally designed building: a basilica at Fano (Le Roy, 1991, 389; MacDonald, 1977, 28-29). He had a noble ambition, however, hoping to raise the field of architecture to the level of scientia, or knowledge, especially by relating theory and praxis, or rationatio and fabrica, to mathematics. He turned to his own travels and observations to elucidate his generalized design "theory". It was within this intellectual mindset that he wrote his treatise, spending considerable time associating himself with a variety of Greek writers from which he saw the origins of architectural discourse (Book III, preface). It was in the Greek writings relating to the theatre that Vitruvius saw the first written discussions on architecture. He considered the comments of Agatharchus (5th century BC) on Aeschylus' (525-456 BC) use of the stage as the birth of architectural theory-related discourse (Book VII, preface, 11). To Vitruvius, it was the statements of Agatharchus that 4 influenced Anaxagoras (500-428 BC) and Democritus (460-370 BC) to reflect on the stage, light, perspective and corresponding theatrical illusion (Vitruvius, Book VII, preface, 11; Boyer, 1996, 77). Because of this, it should not be entirely surprising, as Gros (1996) points out, that only temples were more detailed than theatres in Vitruvius' treatise (278). Through the influence of Greek thought, Vitruvius promoted "the past in terms of authority" (Allsopp, 1970, 19) as he "set out both to ennoble... [architecture] as an art and to reform it in practice" (Onians, 1988, 33). It was in these terms that his ideals were reflected by the urban and provincial architects of Augustus. When Augustus assumed power (around 27 BC) he implemented massive urban renewal programs, partly in an attempt to revitalize Rome and its territories, and also in part to complete the projects begun by his father, Julius Caesar (Ward-Perkins, 1988, 47). The Civil Wars had ended in 31 BC and Rome was undergoing a period during which its war-weary population was yearning for the familiarity and prosperity of the past (Howard, 1960, vi). Augustus reformed and endowed Rome's cultural institutions all-the-while rebuilding monuments and settling new territories (Hibbert, 1985; Sear, 1989, 49). As in earlier Roman times, architecture continued to be a means to influence people and shape society, in a sense, like rhetoric had been in Greece (Boatwright, 1990, 189). Thus Augustus had a policy of rebuilding and establishing "presence" in new territories by imposing Mediterranean-like urban planning strategies. It is not surprising to find that vast construction programs were undertaken in Gaul. In the provinces the colonial authorities looked to past experience in adopting the Roman urban plan for new towns (Adam, 1995, 12; Galantay, 1975, 24). We know that in planning the military camps that would eventually become colonial centres, the army officers of Augustus looked to some extent to the writings of Vitruvius (Adam, 1989, 7). Even where terrain, topography and regional geography were not particulary amenable to its relatively strict grid-like requirements, the Roman plan was duly inscribed upon the landscape (Bedon, 5 et al., 1988, II, 31-32; Sear, 1989, 213; Ward-Perkins, 1988, 115). This colonial urban planning strategy not only consisted of establishing a street grid per se, but it also involved the siting of a set of monuments and other civic structures within the plan. In Gaul, the replication of the grid-like arrangement and corresponding monuments is easily confirmed when we consider that at least 140 theatres were incorporated within the province's urban plans (Landes, et al., 1989). Less clear, however, is the extent to which the ancient writer's tenets were adhered to when it came to the actual design and construction of monuments and more specifically, theatres. There are place and culture-specific realities in addition to technical variances considerations that require closer analysis. First, consider a place-related feature to theatre building: orientation and relation to local topography. Sear (1996) notes that his research of some 900 sites "indicates that very few theatres follow the Vitruvian rule of orientation" (personal communication.). Bejor's (1979) research suggests the same disregard for the rules outlined by Vitruvius in terms of the placement of theatres (126-27). In their study, Bedon, et al. (1988) also confirm that no two theatres in Gaul have identical orientation (II, 12). Within southern Gaul, Labrousse (1968a) indicates that many theatres had different angles of orientation (441, footnote 290). And although Baldwin (1990, 425) highlights that Vitruvius probably had contact with Caesar's praefectus fabrum while in Gaul and his observations may therefore have included the theatres of the same province, Brommelaer (1987, 22) shows quite clearly that there are many inconsistencies when it comes to Vitruvius' geographic and topographic notes relating to the provinces. It would seem that Vitruvius may even have altered his observations to suit his design generalizations (Brommelaer, 1987, 28). What this suggests is that the theatres of Gaul did not necessarily follow the same design instructions in terms of construction planning. Next, there are cultural considerations. Founded in 72 BC, the colonial settlement of Lugdunum Convenae was part of the first generation of colonies established by Rome (King, 1990, 41). Certainly, the Roman strategy of establishing Mediterranean-like urban centres 6 in new territories was one which had been successful (Galantay, 1975, 24-25). Yet also certain is that within these first generation centres there persisted non-Roman ideals and mores which competed with the Roman view (Ward-Perkins, 1988). At the early site of Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges, for example, the pre-Roman Gauls had already dedicated the opidum to their warrior god, Lug (Sarramon, 1982, 18). They had their own well established culture and mythology and we do not fully understand how this may have conflicted with the Roman ideal of the theatre, especially if we are to accept that the Roman theatre was at least partly associated with Roman religion (Coulon, 1990, I, 165; MacKendrick, 1972, 98; Saint-Saens, 1886 14). We are still, for example, unable to explain why some 60 theatres were built outside urban areas and away from the planned centres of Gaul (Gilbert, 1969, 185); this is a feature that may be tied to religious functions but certainly conflicts with the Roman town plan. Further, we do not know if the pre-Roman Gauls even desired the theatre or if they felt its true relevance; they had their own modus vivendi. Conversely, we do not know if the Roman settlers saw the replication of the ideal Roman theatre as essential or central to their relatively stressed reality. Ever-present was a very different climate and geography, a somewhat unfriendly "conquered" people, a financial burden imposed by the Empire, and the threat of invasion from various competing armies. Thus, there are culture-specific realities that require consideration. In addition to the uncertainties relating to place and culture, there are technical variances which lead us to question the use of Vitruvius' design tenets for the [reconstruction of provincial theatres. The level of expertise in terms of architectural, engineering and building technique was not necessarily the same in the provinces as it was in Rome; the use of clay and clay brick, for example, changed from region to region (Adam, 1995, 58-63). And it took as long as three generations after the start of colonization (after 121 BC) for stone building technique to be partly adopted from the Romans (Coulon, 1990, II, 7). In his survey of the monuments of Gaul, Grenier (1958, 714-16) outlines some of the differences in Gaul's 7 theatres. More recently, Frezouls (1989) emphasizes that some of the region's theatres differed in form and therefore, probably in purpose (18). Similarly, Dumasy (1975) debates the merits of a specific Gallo-Roman "type"; to her, many of Gaul's theatres were clearly of a different design ideal (1010). The specific differences in design will be discussed in Chapter 2, but for now, suffice it to say that even though there are theatres in Gaul that seem to have resembled the classical "type," it is difficult and perhaps imprudent to envisage the province's theatre construction campaigns always mirroring that outlined by Vitruvius. Finally, there are temporal considerations related to the Vitruvius text that must be taken into account before we adopt his tenets a priori. We know that his treatise was completed some time after Augustus assumed power as it was dedicated to him in Book I's preface (1). However, it seems certain that Vitruvius was more "representative...of late Republican society...[and not] of early-Augustan" (Geertman, 1989, 11). Further, while research for his material "was [probably] put together in the early thirties if not the forties...", the text's ideals represent those of a much earlier time (Rawson, 1985, vi). In fact, his comments related more to the Greek past than to the Roman present. In his discussion of the theatre, for example, he spoke about having to visit "many Greek cities" to see theatres because there were so few stone examples around Rome (Book V, 5.7). So why then, should it be assumed that his Roman theatre was some sort of template for all builders to follow? Many of the theatres observed by Vitruvius were designed and constructed within an earlier era. His "design", therefore was more akin to earlier theatres. This may explain in part why so many of the theatres of Gaul do not seem to have adhered to his tenets; it may be that as the Gallics and Romans faced cultural, economic and military challenges, Augustus' colonial architects deliberately chose to alter the older design. Or it may simply be that the new Gallo-Roman society had a different perception of the theatre. Indeed, this may have been the case with the theatre at Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges; the settlement was established, as we shall see, by bringing together different peoples who had very different cultural mores. 8 Contrary to assumptions regularly made by scholars, the theatres of the Vitruvius and post-Vitruvius periods do not necessarily correspond to his descriptions and design tenets. While scholars continue to generally state that Vitruvius "described in his De Architecture flibri decern] what must have been the classical theatre of Augustan time" (Boyer, 1996, 76), there are a number of concerns that render such generalizations difficult to accept. Vitruvius was probably summarizing his observations of older theatres to formulate a very generalized design theory. There are serious considerations then, that include geography, culture, technique in building, and as importantly, temporal context of the treatise itself, that must be taken into account before we arbitrarily project a generic theatre design outlined by an architect living in Rome to the theatres built by settlers who were removed, in perhaps more than geographical terms, from urban Rome's context. In spite of the geo-cultural realities of Gaul and the temporal considerations of the Vitruvius text, and because of the persisting generalities within the research literature, the theatres of Gaul are still architecturally and archaeologically [rejeonstructed with the design principles elucidated by Vitruvius as main tenets. The validity of this modus operandi is the central question explored in this thesis. It is especially relevant as hypothetical archaeological [rejeonstructions become translated into architectural restorations throughout the classical world; one of the proposals for the [reconstruction of the theatre at Ferento, for example, is based partly on the interpretation of Vitruvius' principles. And in Gaul, where the theatre of Lyon has been rebuilt on several occasions during this century, we know that each time a further masking of the original structure has taken place, partially destroying the archaeological record and reconstituting the design according to a particular interpretation of the classical ideal (Mandy, et al., 1989, 30). Before proceeding, it seems appropriate to 9 outline the theatre's origins as well as the Roman and Greek design tenets as described by Vitruvius. 1.4 The Classical Theatre Beacham (1991), Bieber (1961), Green (1994) and Hartnoll (1976) describe the classical theatre in detail. The intent here, is simply to introduce the reader to the theatre's beginnings and to the Vitruvius design tenets in order to contextualize the thesis argument. Briefly then, we know that temporary wooden theatres existed in Greece as early as 500 BC because an account of one such structure collapsing during a performance in Athens was provided by Aeschylus (Granger, 1983, iv). Theatre was central to Greek social and cultural life. It was not, however, limited to its entertainment function; it operated as a mechanism by which spectacles could project to the audience an idealized image of Greek society. In fact, early Greek theatre aimed to investigate and to some extent, question, society's morality. Etruscan actors later brought Greek dance and drama to Rome during the fourth century BC (Montilla, 1969, 76). By the mid third century BC, Livius Andronicus (fl. 240 BC) had imported literary theatre to Rome, with Plautus (254-184 BC) following and Terence (190-159 BC) writing around 166-59 BC (Arnott, 1971, 93-98). Not surprisingly, as Greek plays were imported into Rome, so too were generalized ideas on theatre design (Allen, 1927, 57; Bieber, 1961, 167; Burckhardt, 1985, [1867], 268). Initially, Roman theatres were also built of wood and temporary in structure (Grenier, 1958, 717). Yet while based on similar ideals, the two designs were quite different. The Roman play required no chorus, for example, allowing the orchestra to take on a different role. And because there were more actors in the Roman drama, the plays took place on a larger stage. Also, in terms of seating, the Roman viewers installed themselves on hillsides, seemingly mirroring the arrangement of 10 the Greek theatre, yet without built seats or their Greek structural equivalent. The notion of permanence within the Roman design only emerged after 150 BC as the elite were provided with fixed seats (Bieber, 1961, 167-71; Guhl and Koner, 1994, 565-67). The earliest known completely permanent Roman theatrum lapideum, or stone theatre, was built by Pompey (106-28 BC) in 55 BC, with the theatre of Marcellus following a short time later (begun in 13 BC). Curiously, while the two theatres were extremely popular with the public at large, a senatorial decree made it illegal for more stone theatres to be built; the governing elite felt that frequent theatre-going would produce "moral-decay" and civil unrest (Shelton, 1988, 338). Temporary structures provided a way of limiting frequency of presentation and therefore access to public gatherings (Granger, 1983, 28). In fact, it was only due to Pompey's installation of a small temple to Venus along the upper edge of the theatre that he was able to have the senatorial decree overturned in his favour (Landes, 1989, 20). Thus, in addition to the two stone theatres, temporary wooden structures continued to be utilized for some time (Beacham, 1991, 56). When stone construction did resume, the theatre of Marcellus became somewhat representative of the theatres built in Italy (Sear, 1982, 37; Ward-Perkins, 1988, 28). Finished by Augustus in 13 or 11 BC (Sear, 1989, 37), the theatre of Marcellus incorporated an imposing facade comprising three tiers, with relatively plain Doric pilasters along the lower level, Ionic columns and capitals supporting the middle level, and more elaborate Corinthian columns along a top tier. The outer wall was thus made up of an increasingly complex arrangement, as one's line of sight moved upward. The cavea was built on a level site and supported by radiating walls and vaulting, including some forty-one arches made possible by the invention of concrete (Ward-Perkins, 1988, 87). The seating accommodated at least 10,000 spectators. Partly based on the interpretation of the forma urbis Romae—the ancient, yet later, fragmentary marble plan of the city—the theatre of Marcellus' plan has been redrawn by 11 Bieber (1961, 185) (figure 1.1). We can see that it was a cohesive structure, with a cavea, or main seating space, orchestra and scaena, or stage, all linked together as a single building. The theatre of Marcellus' cavea had two levels as well as an upper porticus situated along its top tier. The orchestra was accessed by two covered side entrances, or parodoi, to use the same Greek term employed by Vitruvius. Combined, the two parodoi served as a geometrical link between the circular cavea and the rectangular scaena building. The scaena was built with corresponding versurae, or tall, block-like rooms to each of its sides, and a raised pulpitum, or stage platform between the versurae. A porticus postscaenam was located to the rear. Interestingly, while its plan appears to have been based to some extent on the theatre of Pompey, this style of porticus postscaenam was not generally adapted in later theatre plans (Bieber, 1961, 184-85). Out of the Greek-borrowed circular arrangement then, the Romans built a more complex and elaborate structure. At the rear of the orchestra, the scaena recalled the temple in form while accommodating storage, actors' vestibules and stage machinery. On the exterior facade of the scaena, decoration based on the Orders, usually superimposed and ornate, parallelled the even more elaborate decor of the scaenae frons, or interior facade. Verticality was emphasized with the versurae. Superior engineering standards provided for less dependency on topography while arches and vaulted passageways were rendered possible with the invention of concrete. Vomitoria, or access corridors, provided easier entry and egress to the cavea seating areas. And roofed porticus sections located along the upper reaches of the cavea connected the cavea and stage structures; the arrangement formed a consolidated design (Allen, 1927, 91; Wheeler, 1968, 116-17). By the middle of Augustus' reign, complex designs based to some extent on the Greek ideal, yet embellished, ameliorated and transformed by the Romans were being undertaken throughout the provinces. The Greek theatre design centered on the orchestra and its planimetric nature; the 12 Figure 1.1: The Theatre of Marcellus adapted from Bieber, 1961, 185. Roman theatre design accentuated the scaena and its verticality. Although significantiy different, Vitruvius chose to highlight links between the Roman and Greek theatres, at least in a generalized sense, in his Book V. 1.4.1 The Vitruvius Theatre Design Tenets Vitruvius's directions for theatre design were rendered within a step-by-step set of instructions. Paradoxically, and perhaps because he attempted to fit his descriptions to as many theatres as possible, the instructions were also relatively quite general. Certainly they were of a technical nature and they were delivered in an authoritative tone. The following oudines his design tenets as presented in the various passages of the De architectu.ro. libri decern. Figures 1.2 and 1.3 are schematic diagrams that incorporate only the given tenets. The fact that his observations and descriptions focussed primarily on the plan (a fact which 13 is seldom mentioned in the research literature), would seem to support the notion that Vitruvius was observing mostly the plan-based Greek theatres. 1.4.1a The Roman Design Vitruvius instructed that as soon as the market had been situated, the best site possible should be chosen for the theatre ([A], Book V, 3.1). If a suitable topography was not within the immediate surroundings, foundations and substructures had to be erected for the cavea. The cavea formed the first and main part of the structure, while the orchestra, or area used for the installation of bisellia, the seating for leading dignitaries, formed a second important space. The third space, as we have seen, consisted of the scaena (Book V, 3.3). In terms of the spatial plan and design, the orchestra was the defining entity. First, a circle designating the orchestra was drawn (figure 1.2). Inside the circle, four triangles were placed, equilateral and equidistant from each other, touching the inner circumference of the circle at twelve points (Book V, 6.1). It was important that the base of one of the triangles be perpendicular to the axis of the desired structure. The base of this first triangle, in this case line A-B, was the line which designated the scaenae frons, or the short front wall of the scaena. Behind the scaenae frons was situated the postscaenam, or the set of rooms designated for actors, storage and theatre-related fitments. A second line (C-D), parallel to the first, was drawn through the middle of the orchestra, forming the proscaenium, or forward limit of the pulpitum. This defined the basic limits of the orchestra, the scaenae frons and the theatre axis (line G-J) (Book V, 6.1). The diameter line of the circle was dotted by the twelve points of the triangles. Points C, D, E, I, F, H and G reflected the positions of the entrances into the cavea, dividing the seats into six radial cunei, or wedge-shaped seating sections (Book V, 6.2). The cunei were further divided into two tiers each, separated by open horizontal corridors, or praecintia. In 14 Figure 1.2: The Roman Theatre According to Vitruvius J adapted from Vitruvius (V, 6, 1-9); Sear (1990, 251); Isler (1987, 142). dmm the higher tier, additional sets of stairs were placed, for more efficient access, halfway between the lower cunei stairs. The precise number of praecintia related to the height of the structure. The other inner triangle points, A, B, K, L and J, were used to identify the main scaena features. The valva regia, or main royal entranceway into the scaena space from the porticus postscaenam, was determined by the line through J and was opposite the regia, or central doorway, halfway through line A-B along G-J. The points where the lines formed by the sides of the triangles at H-L and F-K intersected line A-B, indicated the hospitalia, or secondary scaena entrances. The tangent lines to points C and D designated the location of the side entrances from the versurae (Book V, 6.8). Bisellia occupied a section of the orchestra, somewhat complicating the limits of this space (Book V, 6.3). Further notes on the additus maximi, or passages in the wings to the inner cavea, as well as the positions of the periaktoi, the machines that operated the scaena scenery were also included in Book V (2-15 8). In terms of overall dimensions and heights, Vitruvius noted that the scaena's length was to be double the diameter of the orchestra and to reach from the front of the scaenae frons (line A-B) to the line stretching through C-D. The scaena was thus one fourth the diameter of the orchestra in depth (Book V, 6.1-9). Along the upper tier of seats was to be constructed a porticus, with its roof at the same height as the scaena (V, 6.4). Similar dimension-controlling arrangements were stipulated for the theatre's overall height, where Vitruvius mentioned, for example, that "the section of the theatre is to be so managed that if a line is drawn touching the lowest part of the top rows, it shall also touch the front angles of all rows" ([B], Book V, 3.4; 6.3-5). The pulpitum was to be five feet high, complete with a podium rising above its surface. The podium's height was to be one-twelfth the orchestra's diameter, with columns rising to a height equal to one-quarter of the diameter of the orchestra (Book V, 6.6). Vitruvius described the scaena heights in some detail, yet interestingly he wrote nothing regarding the niches making up the scaenae frons. Height-related proportions for the entablatures making up the three levels of the stage building were also provided in Book V (6.6). Behind the scaena, a porticus postscaenam was to be constructed, complete with a covered, double colonnaded and single-storied walkway surrounding an inner open space (Book V, 9.1-2). The instructions for the types of columns to be utilized for the porticus were specific: Doric columns on the outer limits of the porticus' outer perimeter, Ionic and Corinthian columns along the inner rows. The height of the outer columns of the porticus was to be equal to the distance from the outer column to the middle column (Book V, 9.2). The space within the colonnaded walkway was to be open to the air, complete with covered drains and channels to evacuate any water that would accumulate within (Book V, 9.7). Finally, Vitruvius devoted sections to harmonics and sounding vessels, as well as various 16 notes on theatre acoustics (Book V, 3.6-8; 4; 5; 6.4; 8.1-2). Thus was the Roman theatre as perceived and elucidated by Vitruvius in his Book V. He spent a great deal more time describing the Roman theatre than the Greek theatre; paradoxically, we know that he spent more time observing Greek examples which he describes fairly briefly (Book V, 7.1-2). 1.4.1b The Greek Design The design tenets that Vitruvius described for the Greek theatre remain somewhat less clear than those of the Roman theatre. As with the Roman theatre, the circle outlining the orchestra was the main determinant in terms of the overall spatial arrangement (figure 1.3). Where the Roman orchestra was inscribed by four triangles, the Greek one had three equidistant squares whose corners touched the inner circumference of the orchestra circle. One square was perpendicular to the theatre's axis. This square's baseline (line H-G extended to A and B) determined the limits of the proskenion, or the forward area of the skene, or stage structure. Line C-D, which was parallel to A-B and tangential to the circle, delineated the front of the scenery (Book V, 7.1). To give the plan its particular shape, two additional control centres were required. A line was first drawn across the centre of the orchestra (line E-F). Where this line met the circle at E and F, a compass was used to trace an arc to each side of the orchestra (at F-G and E-H). The orchestra was thus made larger and the skene was situated slightly further from the cavea. The steps leading up into the cavea aligned with the angles opposite the corners of each square. Another set of stairs was then situated at mid-points between the first set of stairs of the lower cavea. The same was repeated as one went up the cavea (Book V, 7). 17 Figure 1.3: The Greek Theatre According to Vitruvius adapted from Cenni (1973. 18); Isler (1987, 142); Vitruvius (V, 7.1). dmm 1.5 Conclusion While somewhat detailed, the descriptions Vitruvius provided for the Roman and Greek theatres pertain mainly to the plan and leave much to interpretation. Broadly speaking the main differences are as follows. The Greek theatre was made up of two distinct sections: the cavea, which was a slighdy exaggerated semi-circle, and the small skene, with the curvature of the front row seats around the orchestra almost forming a complete circle. The Roman theatre, on the other hand, was made up of three sections: The cavea, inscribed in plan as a half-circle, the scaena, attached to the cavea, and the orchestra, which was completely enclosed. The whole formed a cohesive structure (Barratte, 1984, 18; Coulon, 1990, I, 48). The scaena became increasingly important in the Roman theatre as its design provided more direct contact with the spectators. Where the cavea and the scaena of the Roman theatre met, vaulted entrances were installed to enable access to the orchestra; in the Greek theatre, 18 the access path to the sides of the orchestra were completely open. The Roman theatre's scaena was only slightly raised, yet to accommodate many players it was deeper than the Greek skene. Because part of the Roman theatre's orchestra space was occupied by seats, its exact delimitation was always left ambiguous (Cenni, 1973, 17-19; Kahler, 1965, 28; Robertson, 1945, 271). As the Greek drama made its way to Rome (at around the mid-third century BC), so too did ideas relating to theatre design. The Romans adopted many features yet transformed them according to their own particular needs. Advances in vaulting, particularly as they related to the invention of concrete, made many changes possible. The Roman theatre became enclosed, certainly in plan, while the Greek theatre essentially remained open to the natural landscape. Although probably initially based on the Greek model, the Roman theatre was clearly of a very different type. The transformation of spaces and modifications to overall design seem to have varied according to place and Vitruvius would have had to generalize a great deal in order to allow as many examples to "fit" within his idealized plan. It should not be surprising that as a different set of geographical and cultural realities manifested themselves within a distinct building technology, Gaul's theatre architecture may have been conceptualized within a completely different set of meanings. And as we are about to see, it is difficult to accept that the theatres of Gaul were designed specifically with Vitruvius' Roman ideal in mind. In fact, Gaul's theatres often look as if they were deliberately designed differently than Vitruvius' Roman generic. 19 Chapter 2 - Society and Culture in Building Gaul's Theatres "...en Gaule, la vivacite des traditions locales est si tenace que des innovations interviennent parfois, qui aboutissent a la creation de monuments originaux." Gerard Coulon, 1990, I, 27. 2.1 Introduction In this chapter, Gallo-Roman society is discussed with a particular emphasis on the way building materials, technique and theatre design differed from that of Rome's. The new territory was different in terms of geography and people and it is worth considering the culture evolving as the Romans arrived and settled. Did this "new" culture manifest itself through a slightly different architecture? And if so, could this have rendered a different conception of the theatre? A brief historical synopsis is provided, followed by a discussion highlighting Gaul-specific building materials and techniques. A third section outlines and discusses theatre architecture and design of Gaul. 2.2 Historical Background Prior to the arrival of the Romans, Gaul was Gallic in culture, made up of Celts, Ligurians and Iberians to the south, and Germanic tribes in the northeast regions. Exactiy when these various cultural groups arrived remains unclear but it is probable that they had settled the area well before the ninth century BC (Bedon, et al., 1988, I; Brunaux, 1988, 3). The Romans had some knowledge of the territory as previous travellers had documented the region; the Greek Strabo (64 BC-25 AD), for example, was writing about some of the southern landscapes in his Geography, describing in detail the resources, access routes and peoples of the territory (IV, 1-5; IX). Similarly, Pliny (23-79 AD) later listed and discussed the different tribes and regions of Gaul (Nat. Hist., Book III, 4). From their writings, it is almost certain that the Gallics had a unique and diverse set of skills and crafts that included 20 smithing and herding (Bruneaux, 1988, 3; Jullian, 1908-26, I, VI, 227). Oppida, or walled hilltop centres, functioned primarily as commercial and artisanal nodes while the plains ensured a steady supply of agricultural products (Arcelin and Dedet, 1987, 11; Bedon, et al., 1988, I, 77). Because the walled oppida had little organized defensive capabilities, they were subject to the frequent threat of attack. The Romans answered the need for protection and established defensive centres and Narbonensis was founded (121 BC) as the earliest Roman settlement of Gaul. Eventually, Julius Caesar founded civitates, or city-states, and beyond Narbonensis the three Gauls remained somewhat independent until 61 BC, when the Aedui people asked for Rome's help against invading Germanic tribes (MacKendrick, 1972, 36). Caesar was well aware of the resources within the territories and as he intervened, he gradually gained control of land for settling. In this way, he "consolidated the gains" of his predecessors (King, 1990, 42-43). Caesar's strategy, however, was not one of complete subjugation; his regime was one which was distinctly more liberal than that in Rome. Key to this thesis is that as settlements were founded by the Romans, individual Gallic tribes were allowed to maintain traditions and crafts. The founding of civitates usually consisted of transforming existing settlements into Roman centres. This, in a sense, was what allowed the Gallics to maintain their cultural mores. Smaller towns formed part of the Roman-defended landscape; these too had previously been organized as commercial centres, complete with religious and cultural spaces, and eventually, varying levels of trade and defense infrastructure. It was mostly because of the pre-existing level of organization that the Romans did not necessarily found new settlements per se. But probably in an effort to reproduce their city plan as visible signs of their presence, they did impose a version of the orthogonal town plan within both, pre-existing sections and new areas of these settlements (Castagnoli, 1971, 124). While the grid-plan of Gaul's towns appears to have been regular, close inspection 21 reveals that each was different and most were highly irregular. Some towns, like Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges, had at least 2 partly superimposed grids, each oriented slightly differently (Paillet, 1991). Others, like Vaison, had organizing grids that changed from one area of the settlement to the other. These irregularities may have been due to local topography, but just as likely, they may have been necessitated by the will to match the new grids to pre-existing axes (Coulon, 1990, II, 14). Regardless of the anomalies in grid-plans, most rural town plans included a set of public monuments that appeared to mimic, in general terms, the monuments of Rome. However, because of the local traditions that were allowed to persist, it is possible that many Roman-based monumental designs were altered and changed significantly to suit local cultural needs. Some monuments appear to have been constructed very differently than those found in Rome. At Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges, for example, there are traces of an elliptically shaped structure located to the west of the settlement's entrance (Paillet and Petit, 1992). Gaul's craftspeople was very slow in adopting Roman traditions in general; this was especially true of the building crafts. Building technique changed at an even slower rate than adaptation of building design (Coulon, 1990, II). And where there were many Roman settlers, "some [provincial] buildings ... were largely unaffected by Roman taste" (Sear, 1989, 213). The result was a provincial architecture that would have been more representative of local culture and perhaps not so much of the ideals of the Romans or Vitruvius. 2.3 Gallo-Roman Society and Building From the onset of Roman settlement, Gallic society began to diversify itself. With the introduction of the Roman garrisons during the mid second centuries BC and later, society became transformed; there was a mix of Druids, Nobles and "free" people which included Roman subjects, Latin citizens, and of course, Roman citizens. To these groups were added 22 slaves, freed-slaves, and peasants (Coulon, 1990, II, 94-97). The list does not preclude an important mix of craftspeople of Celtic and Roman origin, however, who continued to work wood, earth, stone, as well as pottery, glass, metal, textiles, leather and a combination of these within the building trades. The meeting of the Roman and Gallic cultures very quickly formed a new cultural matrix within which traits of both were maintained; a unique and adaptive cultural entity resulted. Religion, for example, was altered to suit the needs of both the newcomers and the pre-Roman Gallics. The Romans adapted pre-existing divinities to their own religious beliefs while the pre-Roman Gallics, in a similar process, took on some of the Roman deities (Coulon, 1990, II, 165). The new religions and divinities that emerged often took on regional or settlement-specific meaning (Labrousse, 1956, 32). For example, Cernunnos, the Celtic divinity of Earth, and Epona, god of Horses and Riding remained as deities while Bacchus and Venus were adopted from the Romans by the Gallics. Others were completely transformed. At Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges, the most commonly transformed deities were Jupiter, Mars and to some extent, Mercury (May, 1986, 61). In fact, Mercury became the most honoured god of Gaul. An inscription found within the geographical vicinity of Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges reminds us of his importance: I(oui) Oiptimo) M(aximo) IUNONIMERCURIO ( A E , 1941, W 6 1 ) Here Mercury was placed adjacent to Jupiter Optimus Maximus and Juno. Mercury was now transformed, no longer the youthful Roman divinity, but instead a mature individual whose associations to the Arts and Travel changed regionally as his roles became fused to the Celtic god of Craft or Technique, Lug. Another important aspect of cultural life—that of the building craft—did not immediately change upon the arrival of the Romans. This becomes apparent when we 23 consider that it took at least three generations before wood, clay and dry stone were complemented by stone-and-mortar building technique. As the Romans and Gallics slowly blended their ways into a new Gallo-Roman culture, each adapted and adopted some of the building techniques of the other. While the Gallics looked to the Roman ideals of monumental architecture in a generalized sense, the Romans maintained an open minded approach to Gallic construction techniques and materials. It is partly because of the persistence of pre-Roman building crafts, that the a priori use of Vitruvius' text is questioned. When we consider the four broad categories of building materials and related techniques that were in use in Gaul at the onset (and during) Roman settlement (wood, earth, stone, and to some extent, marble), it should not be surprising to find that final designs would not necessarily mirror those described by Vitruvius or those of Rome. 2.3.1 On the Use of Wood Wood was a primary construction material for the Gallics; wood frame house construction, for instance, was typical, and in even larger buildings, wood was the main material for framing, roofing, wallboards and trim. The use of wood ranging from simple tree branches to larger timber for framing, combined with clay in-filling, continued beyond the second century AD (Adam, 1994; Jullian, 1908-26). And within monumental architecture, the Gallic version of the porticus was framed with wooden trusses to support roofing assemblies. At Lyon and Bordeaux, wood use in small to medium scale construction continued in much the same fashion as it had since Neolithic times, at least until the first century AD (Bedon, et al., 1988, I). Within the theatres built in new towns, we know that notches were designed within the masonry walls to accommodate wood beams. Excavations at Aries, at the Esplanade not too far from the theatre, reveal that wooden floors were still common during the second 24 century AD. Significant is that the design of Gaul's buildings seem to have incorporated greater quantities of wood as well as making use of larger timber and therefore longer roofing spans and greater support beams than in Italy (Bedon, et al., 1988, I, 46). At times, wood took on a more pivotal role in the design of Gallo-Roman theatres. At places like Noviodunum (Jublains), the seats were made-up of planks supported by a sub-frame of post and beam wood construction (Debien, 1989, 83). Other theatres had wood planks for flooring. And at the theatre of Antigny, a wooden superstructure was built to support a roof covering some of the sections of the seats (Richard, 1989, 81). Izanour (1992) provides a detailed analysis of the use of wood in odeons and roofed theatres. While Ling (1995, 258-59) points out that some of his [reconstructions are questionable, his thesis highlighting wood as a basic material in theatre construction is difficult to refute. The use of wood in theatre construction was not specific to Gaul but the ways it was incorporated within designs, especially as these related to local site conditions, seems to have been more varied within the province. Roofing was often made up of wood shingles. This would explain in part the relative lightness of wood frame construction and the frequent absence of clay roofing tiles within archaeological sites (Bedon, et al., 1988, I, 47). Vitruvius mentions the wooden shingles utilized in Gaul in his Book II section on materials: ... we can see for ourselves from the buildings that are to this day constructed of like materials by foreign tribes: for instance, in Gaul..., roofed with oaked shingles... (Vitruvius, [A], Book II, 1,4). It would seem, then, that at least some of his observations were geographically specific. We know that wood was also utilized in a number of areas where, in Rome, stone and marble would have been the choice: Water canals, fences and earth retaining walls, for example, continued to be built out of wood (Adam, 1994). 25 2.3.2 On the Use of Earth Conventional thought has until recently maintained that when the Romans arrived, stone and mortar construction immediately replaced the use of earth as building materials. Yet recent excavations at places like Saint-Paul-les-Romans, a site not far from Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges, have revealed that even luxurious buildings, complete with mosaics and painted murals, were built of earth walls (Coulon, 1990, II, 17). This would confirm to some extent the deliberate choice of maintaining an indigenous building tradition. The use of sun-dried and fired brick, as well as wattle and daub construction continued well beyond initial settling; earth remained an important building material to the builders of Gaul's cities. Earth was used in conjunction with wood frame construction as flooring and as a type of enduit, or stucco for walls and floors. In its use as a base material for brick, clay was primordial. While sun-dried brick was frequendy employed in house construction, kiln-dried brick was popular for public architecture (Adam, 1994, 66-67). Significant, however, is that kiln-dried brick was used considerably less in Gaul than within Rome or Italy during the early years of settlement (Bedon, et al., 1988, I, 55). There were a number of uses to which brick was put, including levelling, wall facing, pylons, drainage systems, and for some reason a multitude of uses within the design and construction of thermae, or baths. At Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges, where we can still see traces of the various baths, the use of brick can readily be ascertained. The unique shape of the support blocks in the caldarium and tepidarium, sections of the forum baths, for example, attest to local design preferences (Labrousse, 1968a). Still at Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges, we can see kiln dried brick used as levelling blocks within some of the theatre remains (personal observations, 1990-97). Also unique to Gaul was the manufacture of ceramic pipe for drainage. Similarly, clay roof tiles and shingles were manufactured throughout the province. At Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges, there are still traces of roofing tiles above the theatre's cavea, especially tegulae, 26 or flat tiles used for edging (personal observations, 1994). 2.3.3 On the Use of Stone The use of stone as a primary building material was not new to Roman Gaul. The Gallics had used stone within the vernacular and to some extent, within larger public buildings. During the early Roman settlement period, Gallic stone building technique came to prominence as massive building programs were undertaken. At Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges, stone gathered along the Garonne river was used within the construction of the amphitheatre which was probably built using local, very rudimentary technology (May, 1986, 122). When the Romans introduced opus caementicium, or mortar, Gallic stone building technique was transformed. It was not, however, changed to a purely Roman building technique; it was adapted to suit the immediate needs of the vast Augustan architectural program. It allowed for the rapid and cheap construction of aqueducts, monuments, and no less significant, the re-use of materials to re-build according to new needs (Sear, 1989, 73). Thus, as the Gallo-Romans began to look to grander urban schemes, they were able to incorporate mortar and re-used materials within a new architecture as they changed their built surroundings (Bedon, 1988, I, 60). Interestingly, mortar types appear to have varied from place to place; as early as 1555, Gardet and Bertin had noted the peculiar characteristics of the grey mortar used within the Gallo-Roman architecture at Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges (Graillot, 1919, 294). Concurrent to the introduction of opus caementicium and specific to Gaul was the abundant use of relatively small moellons, or shaped building stones used as wall facing. Cut as pointed blocks, the moellons became common throughout the territory. The angle to which the blocks were carved offered added contact to the mortar. The blocks were usually installed 27 flat and in horizontal rows (opus vittatum) or less frequently, in inclined positions also along horizontal rows where they were placed at 45 degree angles (opus reticulatum) (Adam, 1994, 130-35; Sear, 1989, 74-75). The key to petit appareil, or moellon construction was that the dimensions of each block could be approximate and cut to the eye quite rapidly and with relatively little effort. Also, because of the small size, the blocks could be easily quarried and carried to the building sites. Another advantage related to size: by choosing the moellon as a base building block, it was easy to construct "shaped" forms such as curves and archways. At the theatre of Argentomagus, for example, moellons were used to shape most of the arched spaces. The small blocks could be readily adjusted to fit gaps as well as be re-used, in the event of building retrofitting (Coulon, 1990, 119-12). Various types of stones, still within the small moellons size range, were employed to accentuate specific design elements. At the theatre at Augst, red and grey rows of the small blocks were alternated within sections of the outer walls for decorative purposes. Also specific to Gaul was the use of moellons in road construction; thinly layered stones were cut to provide paving on roads, inner water ducts and sewage conduits (Bedon, et al., 1988,168). Grand appareil, or large stone block construction also formed part of the province's architectural building repertoire. In Aries, Nimes and Orange there remain examples of its use. And at Lyon, grand appareil blocks were used within the construction of the theatre's seats (personal observation, 1996). However, with the exception of the large monumental centres at Aries, Lyon and Orange, grand appareil use was relatively rare in Gaul. Of exception was the peculiar use of faux grand appareil, or "false" large block construction, where small blocks were used, then covered with a surface mortar which was in turn scribed with lines to simulate the use of larger blocks; this modus was especially specific to the southern reaches of the territory. 28 For the most part then, stone work in the province was predominated by petit appareil moellons construction. With its loosely cut dimensioning, relative ease of transportation and installation, and small size, the material would have afforded the Gallo-Romans a great deal of flexibility in building design. Different requirements due to style preference, building use and topography would have easily been accommodated. 2.3.4 On the Use of Quarries and Marble The opening of quarries was necessitated by the requirement for a regularized and constant supply of stone and, eventually, marble. Large projects required good quality stone that would withstand crushing, be relatively even in colour and grain, and be amenable to cutting. As much as possible, the quarries were opened near the larger building sites, where demand would be greatest. From the remains of the quarries that are extant, we can still discern the quality and types of materials used in building construction. At Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges, a steady and plentiful supply of marble was obtained from the quarry at Saint-Beat, some 30 kilometres away (figure 2.1). We know that the Trophee de Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges, dedicated at around 25 BC, was at least partly constructed from this marble (MacKendrick, 1972, 92; Picard, 1947). And we know also that the marble of Saint-Beat was utilized in the theatre construction (Grenier, 1958, 810; personal observations, 1990-97). Located on the Garonne, the marble was probably transported on the water using skiffs, or large rafts; river transport was developed very early in colonial Gaul (de Izarra, 1993, 19, 41). The use of both stone and marble then, depended on availability and proximity to building sites. Building design would have taken this into account and builders would have 29 Figure 2.1: Quarry Surface at Saint-Beat The cutting marks along the surface are original. dmm 94-07-14 conceptualized, designed, "shaped" and perhaps even sited the buildings accordingly. The building materials and techniques of Gaul can best be characterized as diverse. The choice of materials depended especially on availability and not necessarily on what Rome was using for its monuments in Italy. Ultimately, form was altered to suit available materials 30 (Bedon, et al. 1988, I, 74). We can again refer to Vitruvius, in this context, as he wrote of the flexibility to which the builder should approach construction: With regard to the material of which the actual wall should be constructed or finished, there can be no definite prescription, because we cannot obtain in all places the supplies that we desire. Dimension stone, flint, rubble, burnt or unburnt brick, - use them as you find them. For it is not every neighbourhood or particular locality that can have a wall built of burnt brick like at Babylon... Vitruvius [A], Book I, 5.8 Material availability and supply thus dictated the final outcome of building design. For the larger monuments, it could not have been possible to simply gather materials from surficial terrain. The materials derived from local quarries varied greatly, giving cities and regions a different look. Because of the blueish tint of the marble quarried at Saint-Beat, for example, Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges would have had a much different look than, say, Vieux, where the marble is whiter in colour. The marbles used in different places were of different colour and perhaps more importantly, of different tensile strength, necessitating modifications in designs. Saint-Beat marble, for example, was of a poorer quality and thicker slabs would therefore have been required. The traditional way of considering the Gallo-Roman cities as quasi-uniform cities that mirrored the Roman model can no longer be accepted a priori; the architecture was different in terms of design, appearance and colour, reflecting the adaptiveness of the local builders to local materials and conditions. This was in part why the theatres of Gaul varied from what can be found in Italy, and more importantly to this thesis, from what Vitruvius described. 2.4 Theatre Design in Gaul Notwithstanding the differences in Gaul's cultural landscape and varied building crafts, 31 the theatre was significant in local life and theatre buildings were indeed constructed in most areas of the territory. Although we do not know its exact meaning in cultural life, we know that the theatre had considerable social significance because, among other things, we find the use of the theatrical mask as a household decoration throughout the region. In Aix, Saint-Romain-en-Gal, Narbonne and Vienne, for example, the mask theme in mosaics and as part of household fitments was quite common (Landes, 1989, 12). And closer to Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges, at the villa of Chiragan, a frise has been uncovered, depicting the mask as a most common architectural motif. At Valcabrere, a community less than 2 kilometres away from Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges, a re-used building block with a mask in relief was included within a medieval (eleventh to thirteenth centuries) church construction; it was probably transferred from either a mausoleum or one of the public buildings of the earlier Roman settlement (Gonsalves, 1988, 32; May, 1986, 36) (figure 2.2). We also find theatre-related motifs in funerary art. Sarcophagi, urns and mausoleums were often decorated with masks. While the precise meaning of the mask in funerary art decoration may have transcended the theatre per se—its use may have been related more to apostrophizing—the theme predominated. In-so-far as precise meaning is concerned, we have little from which we can base our understanding of the theatre-related motifs depicted on architectural, funerary or household ornament. In fact, we have almost no record of Gaul's poets. We know that at least some form of the tragedy and comedy styles of Rome seem to have been maintained. We know from Sidonius Appolinaris (430-83 AD) that literary works were being undertaken for performers in Gaul and that a well known theatrical troupe belonging to Valerius Asiaticus of Vienne, a powerful personage who had twice been consul in Rome, travelled within the territory during the first century AD (Landes, 1989, 13-14). Yet while we know that theatrical troupes were travelling in the area, we cannot claim that the Roman theatre was being precisely enacted in Gaul. Certainly the audience was different, 32 Figure 2 .2 : Theatrical Mask - Eglise Saint-Just de Valcabrere dmm 97-07-22 made up of Gallic and Roman individuals. It may be that some aspects of the Roman theatre such as sporting and political events were incorporated while other themes more akin to local cultural life also formed part of the writings (Slater, et al. 1995). However little information we have regarding purpose, we do have considerable knowledge of the architecture of many of the region's theatres. The earliest were built during Augustus' reign (Aries and Oranges, for example). These first constructions highlighted the importance of the spectacle; the effort required to build them does signal a certain level of importance in function. But it is difficult to understand why monumental theatres would be brought to all areas of the province. The Gallics had no prior requirement for such a building. Similarly, the Roman settlers and military types that came from various towns in Italy would have had little appreciation for the roman theatre; most of their places of origin would not have possessed theatres. At first glance, it appears that the inclusion of theatres 33 within urban plans began at approximately the same time as the construction of the theatre of Pompey in 55 BC. The Gauls may have simply built theatres because they were contained within the mediterranean plans which were to be copied upon the provincial landscape. This does not, however, explain why the Gauls would readily accept such a costly aspect of the town plan. For this reason, it can be tempting to assume that the Roman settlers simply imposed the Roman theatre model, provided expertise and guidance, even skilled labour, and built theatres throughout the province. But this was probably not the case. Settling, in the case of Gaul, was not a process by which communities of Romans were relocated en masse, to a new territory; this had occurred in some regions, like Narbonensis, but not so in the Three Gauls where the original settlement of Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges lay. And subjugation did not necessarily extend to the building of large capital-intensive monuments.. While military contingents imposed a grid by establishing their camps, transportation networks and urban plans, Frezouls (1989) hypothesizes a different and plausible cultural-architectural model. First, Frezouls reminds us that while it is indeed possible that a people would be forced to construct large monuments—this was a common cultural occurrence—it is not likely that the Gallics would have been forced to do so; we have already seen that the Romans granted a great deal of freedom to the territory. Further, we know that the Romans had no intention (or ability) to finance large capital projects. To Frezouls, it is entirely possible that it was the people of Gaul—the Gallics—who, having been taken by the virtues of the Mediterranean lifestyle and the scale and aesthetic of Roman architecture, readily adopted the model and perhaps in the spirit of rivalry, adapted, changed and modified the design according to their preferences and perceptions (Frezouls, 1989, 20). Frezouls goes further in pointing out that perhaps the Roman settlers themselves may not have been keen on establishing theatres and like-monuments at places like Aix, Toulouse and Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges. This makes sense when we consider that the earliest 34 settlers were relocated Romans from small Italian towns who could not have easily conceived of towns with theatres; as above alluded to, most were from Roman communities that had no such buildings! There were indeed theatres at places like Pompeii and Sarno that had been built earlier on (second century BC), but in Rome, as we have seen, stone theatres were not accepted until the Pompey and Marcellus theatres were completed during the early years after Augustus assumed power (27 BC). It is difficult, if not impossible, to verify Frezouls' hypothesis. Regardless of the precise reasons, new communities, especially those established and planned after Augustus had come to power, had theatres included within their plans. But the builders,, whether Roman and Gallic, perhaps both, seem to have adopted the Vitruvius and Roman theatre design tenets in only the broadest sense. If we consider the large theatres at Aries, Lyon and Orange, where the idea of the built-up cavea of the Pompey and Marcellus theatres was continued, complete with inner stairs and access corridors for optimal circulation, then it is tempting to draw comparisons with the Vitruvius theatre. The orchestra, while reduced in size and transformed into a horseshoe-like shape, had its lower entry points covered and located between the lower cavea and the scaena building. In true Roman form, the design was consolidated. The scaena building took on scale as it was widened, compared with the Greek model. The proscaenium was raised above the level of the orchestra. And the main scaena facade, the scaenae frons, or forward wall of the scaena, was designed like the theatre of Marcellus, incorporating the ascending Orders (Bieber, 1961, 184-85; Grenier, 1958, 743-59). Thus the early large-scale theatres of Gaul emulated the Roman examples. But we cannot assume that the numerous other theatres of the province, which were for the most part much smaller in scale, also mirrored the Roman examples. In fact, most theatres of Gaul were constructed slightly later and did not follow the dimensioning, plan or siting tents of the Roman model or Vitruvius' instructions. Although rare, some had cavea diameters as small 35 as 40 metres (at Evreux, for example), while others had a cavea as large as 150 metres (at Grand, for example). And perhaps more significant were the alterations to the plan and overall design. It is difficult to generalize the features of the Gallo-roman theatre; each is quite different and individual in detail. But clear are the departures from the Vitruvius model in terms of the cavea, the orchestra and the scaena. At times the semi-circular shape of the cavea was cut short with the maximum diameter never attained (as at Noyers-sur-Andelys). At other places the maximum diameter was reduced by the installation of orchestra access corridors, or parodoi along the lower reaches of the space (as at Chennevieres). The semi-circular plan also often surpassed, sometimes following a horseshoe-like path and extended on both sides (as at Lutece). At other places, the curve of the cavea was simply continued, extending the half-circle of the plan. The theatre at Jublains is a good example of the latter (Debien, 1989, 82). These changes in cavea plan were linked, of course, to corresponding changes in the orchestra. The orchestra appears to have been planned slightly differently than Vitruvius'; perhaps reflecting a different set of functions for the space. The space was enlarged, where the orchestra was one which, to Frezouls at least, recalled the plan of the amphitheatre (1989, 22). This notion is debatable, however, because many places like Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges had amphitheatres constructed within (or slightly beyond) their urban areas. Imitating the features of the amphitheatre would therefore not necessarily have been required. With the scaena and its associated buildings, the changes were clear and comprehensive. Because of the alterations to the cavea and orchestra, the proscaenium had to be modified. It was thus either relocated forward, depending on the extent of the cavea enlargement, or moved to correspond more with the orchestra's precise position and dimensions. The proscaenium's length was sometimes extended beyond the width of the 36 scaena. Regardless of the reason or extent of the proscaenium changes, their scale led to a new scaena. The scaena building of the Gallo-Roman theatre, with few exceptions, does not seem to have been as extensive as Vitruvius'. It remained as the focus of the theatre, of course, but its extent was quite limited. Olivier (1989) summarizes the differences in scale with a basic set of drawings (figure 2.3). We can see in the comparative schematics that with the Gallo-Roman theatre, the scaena and its building were considerably reduced in size. They do not, however, appear to have been reduced proportionately. It is difficult to imagine how the tenets described by Vitruvius regarding acoustics, sounding vessels or overall plan would have been satisfied with this substantially altered plan. Another peculiarity specific to the Gallo-Roman case was the rural theatre: at least 40 of the theatres of Gaul were built without urban context. While these do not appear to have been constructed in the southern Gaul region, there is a clear departure from the Vitruvius siting tenet here. Recall that Vitruvius had outlined the theatre as part of the town plan. He wrote: When the forum has been settled, a site as healthy as possible is to be chosen for the exhibition of plays on the festivals of the immortal gods according to the instructions given in the first book for the healthy disposition of the city walls. (Vitruvius, [B], Book V, 3, 1). Yet the rural theatres were often sited some distance away from city walls and alongside other civic monuments like baths and temples (Dumasy, 1989, 56-57; Grenier, 1958, 854-55). This peculiarity in siting seems to have been unique to Gaul and may be related to place-specific religious functions. Somewhat relating to the rural theatre was the amphitheatre, usually constructed along urban peripheries and at times designed as "theatre-amphitheatre" (Auguet, 1994, 207-08). 37 Figure 2.3: Theatre Typologies - Comparative Schematics 1 I Theatre gallo-romain Olivier, 1989, 16. 38 Many theatres of Gaul, especially the rural theatres, possessed characteristics akin to the amphitheatre. Some theatres, for example, had overly extended cavea sides, where the curves became straight lines parallelling each other. There were a host of variants, some closer to the theatre in appearance while some more similar to the amphitheatre. Coulon (1990), Dumasy (1989), Grenier (1958) and Frezouls (1982) have discussed the problems associated with these regional deviations in design. Clearly, the plan and overall design of the structures were deliberately set out to satisfy different purposes than those of Roman theatre. The architects in Gaul seem to have detached themselves from the Roman plan all-the-while maintaining the broad features of the model. 2.5 Conclusion The cultural matrix that was born out of the settling of Gaul was one which was neither Roman nor Gallic; it was a new Gallo-Roman culture which adapted and adopted mores, crafts, techniques and meanings from each parent culture. Geography, topography, religion and historical antecedents all contributed to the establishing of this new cultural entity. In the constructing of both private and public buildings, the level of technological expertise varied with materials and place, as well as with regional interpretations of the Roman ideal. Certain is that Gallic construction techniques continued to be employed beyond the first century AD during which time many theatres were built. In addition to the varied techniques and materials, form was also altered to accommodate differing needs and perceptions. These needs and perceptions, while not yet fully understood, were almost certainly different than those of Rome's and those idealized by Vitruvius. While Frezouls (1989) has suggested that there may have been a tendency to emulate the Mediterranean lifestyle, the very different life of the province would also have manifested itself through a correspondingly varied architecture. The theatre continued to offer 39 a way for society to view itself and while there is still insufficient material to fully understand its uses, there are enough examples to state that the theatre did not completely adhere to the Vitruvius description of the Roman ideal. In fact, the Gallo-Roman theatre, with few exceptions (those exceptions being the monumental examples at Aries, Lyon and Orange), seems to have almost always varied in either form, appearance and perhaps function. At Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges, there was also no particular reason for the architecture to have precisely mirrored that of Vitruvius' descriptions or that of Rome. The settlement was typical in terms of Gallo-Roman towns. Its siting, for example, was similar to other settlements: it was built atop and around an opidum and was probably chosen for its location vis-a-vis the Garonne River and the Val d'Aran, a high pass into the Pyrenees^ It lay at the crossroads of main transportation axes with Spain to the south, Dax to the west, and Toulouse to the north; these were important centres during pre-Roman times and continued to be upon Roman settling. According to Jerome, the town of Convenarum was founded by Pompey in an effort to organize people who had been affected by warring in Spain and Gaul (King, 1990, 68). The founding took place at the site of a pre-existing and loosely organized settlement called Lugdunum (Jerome, quoted in Lizop, 1931, 14). The town flourished, especially during the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius (42 BC-37 AD) and Trajan (98-117 AD) (MacKendrick, 1972, 96). It was expanded during the second and third centuries, complete with a set of roadways and a large residential quarter (Guyon, 1991, 93). A military fort was established some time during the third century; it remains unclear why it was needed at this particular time (May, 1986). The Roman town prospered until at least 585, when it was destroyed by Gondovald (Gregoire de Tours, [590], 1986, 738). Thus the town's history does not appear to be out of the ordinary in terms of Gallo-Roman towns. Its theatre was roughly half the size of Aries' and the theatre goers—whose names like Belexco and Anderexo confirm their regional origins—maintained their religious 40 cults; of the 200 or so votive altars uncovered at Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges, the number of native deities contained within the inscriptions was double that of Roman deities (MacKendrick, 1972, 98). Further, as King (1990) notes, "citizens [of the same settlement] had the lower status Latin rights of citizenship rather than the full Roman citizenship of the inhabitants of [nearby] Narbo..." (68). Again, although the theatre's uses are still not understood, it was there to serve the needs of the locals. It is difficult to ponder why builders, probably non-Roman in origin and non-Roman in citizenship, would have emphasized a strictly Roman theatre ideal. In Chapter 3, the Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges theatre design is analyzed from two vantage points: First, from the point of view of uncovered archaeological evidence, and second, from the point of view of the 1993 Vitruvius-based [reconstruction. The physical (archaeological) evidence and the [reconstruction are juxtaposed to gauge the extent to which we can accept [reconstructing this particular theatre according to Vitruvius' tenets. 41 Chapter 3 - fRelConstructing the Theatre "...// teatro antico ricostruito dai vitruviani, ...tende a recuperare la corolita dello spazio architettonica." Manfredo Tafuri, 1976, 29. "...// est vrai, une restitution n'etant pas une restauration." Bedon, et al. 1988, II, 13. 3.1 Introduction We have seen in Chapter 2 that the cultural realities of Gaul were such that its architecture may not necessarily have reflected that of Rome's. The new cultural matrix that emerged out of the settling process suggests exceptions to the Roman theatre described by Vitruvius. There is clear evidence of different construction techniques and materials having been utilized at, among other places, Saint-Paul-les-Romans (Coulon, 1970, II, 17). And relating specifically to theatres, field observations reveal that the theatres of Gaul can deviate substantially from the Vitruvius ideal. While this does not mean that Roman planning and overall urban design tenets would not have been adapted by the Gallics and provincial Romans, key to this thesis is that the designs were altered. Consider the main features of the original town plan of Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges (figure 3.1). The grid-like plan was governed by a cardo-decumanus arrangement, complete with corresponding monument siting; it would seem, at least initially, that the planners followed the same plarining tenets Vitruvius described. The provincial planners were military officers operating directly under Pompey; they looked to the Roman modus of imposing the Mediterranean-like plan and accordingly incised the terrain with a grid. But while Labrousse (1968, 300) noted that the "quadrillage [est] plus ou moin regulier dont I'origine est romaine", closer inspection of the grid at Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges reveals that it is highly irregular. In fact, the cardo maximus deviates by almost 45 degrees to the north-south; Vitruvius described a 22 degree deviation to the east (Bedon, et al. 1988, II, 10-11). Further, 42 Figure 3.1: Roman Town Plan; Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges Paillet, J. L., 1991. there appear to be two grids operating within the overall urban plan. These are some of the many site-specific features that deviate from the generalized observations that Vitruvius later described. Similarly, while the theatre was situated within its expected locale—along the cardo maximus and on the flank of the opidwn—it too may not have been sited, designed and constructed with the same tenets Vitruvius outiined. While much of the cavea was built direcdy upon the hillside, for example, its extremities at the bottom of the hill were built on masonry substructures; the masonry substructures are, for the most part, no longer extant. The evidence required for a [reconstruction seems insufficient, especially for the orchestra and scaena, as houses remain atop their traces. Thus, as we are about to see, it is difficult to readily accept a Vitruvius-based [reconstruction for this theatre. In this chapter, the 1993 [reconstruction is tested. First, the archaeological evidence is described and commented upon: the 1920's explorations and the 1990's excavations. The 43 archaeological discussion is abbreviated and limited to the architectural evidence as it relates to the 1993 [reconstruction. The [reconstruction is then considered, outlining its main features and tenets. Finally, the [reconstruction is critically assessed by comparing it to the archaeological evidence and to some extent, the Vitruvius tenets. 3.2 The 1920's Explorations There are four main sources from which Bertrand Sapene's work can be retraced. These include a set of carnets de fouilles in which Sapene recorded his field observations (Sapene, 1930-34), a few reports published by the Commission des fouilles de Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges (Sapene, 1931 and 1932), some published articles in regional journals (Labrousse, 1951-1986; Sapene, 1928-32 a-b), and a series of fiches d'inventaires, written later, perhaps in an effort to organize his initial findings (Sapene, 1942). Raymond Lizop (1935, 1931) undertook a detailed study of Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges and carried out some excavations with Sapene, Albert Grenier (1958) later wrote an in-depth archaeological survey of the region, and Michel Labrousse (1947-1970) provided summaries of Sapene's work; each was based on Sapene's official reports and as such does not provide any new information. In fact, some of Lizop's assumptions have been repudiated (Bailhache, 1972, 167). In terms of a research plan, with the exception of a set of partly answered "research questions" in his carnets de fouilles, there does not appear to have been a formal excavation program (Sapene, 1930-34, 1134). The 1920's explorations were superficially extensive; Sapene removed a great deal of detritus but considered only the most obvious material. In fact, the search seems to have focussed on the built rather than other material such as glass and bone fragments. The methodology consisted of uncovering and following walls (figure 3.2) while gathering material deemed collectible for the Musee de Comminges, of which Sapene was Director. Excavation 44 Figure 3.2: Upper Cavea Excavations; 1929-30 Sapene, in Grenier, 1958, 809. technique was hurried and irregular by today's standards, with little or no concern for occupancy levels or stratigraphy. So intent was Sapene on quickly removing detritus from the remaining structure that he and his team installed mining equipment in the form of a cart-and-track arrangement along the galleries, or access corridors of the upper maniana, for efficient material removal (figure 3.3). The work was mostly limited to the upper cavea; there were practical reasons for the choice of excavation locale. Two private properties and their ancillary buildings kept Sapene from undertaking work in sections of the lower cavea, the orchestra and the scaena. The western extremity of the tiieatre was also impossible to explore because a road had been built during the late eighteenth century (figure 3.4). The road presumably covered the foundations and certainly would have destroyed most of what had been left of this section (May, 1986, 119; Sapene, 1931, 21). Sapene tiius kept his focus on the upper cavea (including the galleries) and the 45 Figure 3.3: Theatre Excavations; 1929-30 Schenck, 1985. Note the buildings built atop the orchestra. remaining seating areas. The schoolteacher provided a general assessment of the cavea. He determined that it would have consisted of two maenianae, or main tiers, separated by apraecintium some 5.0 metres below the cavea rim. Each maniana, he postulated, would have had rows of seats of varying dimensions (he was observing the robbed and partly dismantled seats) which he described as "vagues" (Sapene, 1931, 24}. Because they had been covered in marble, the varying dimensions would have, to Sapene, been regulated in their final form. He determined the angle of the cavea to be 34 degrees; he did not explain how he arrived at this precise angle (Sapene 1931, 24). He geometrically extended the galleries of the inner cavea and concluded that they had been vaulted, some 2.40 metres in height and 2.65 metres wide (Sapene, 1929-30, 25). Sapene also followed the outer wall of the eastern cavea, opening a trench at its furthest extremity. He drew a section based on this eastern trench but subsequent 46 Figure 3.4: Theatre Exploration Areas; 1920's note: The hatched lines outline the main areas of work. dmm The doted lines outline present-day roads to the upper town. explorations did not confirm his schematic section (Janon, 1990-91). In addition to exploring the upper cavea spaces, he attempted a comparative analysis, looking to the theatres of Timgad and Pompeii for design similarities (Sapene, 1930-34, 1134-35). In fact, he seems to have focussed almost all of his analytical efforts on his attempt to understand two theatre-specific architectural features: the cunei arrangement and related seating, and the vela post holes with their corresponding counter-mast sockets. He measured and assessed what was left of the seats and compared the remains with the seating characteristics of the Timgad and Pompeii theatres. He found that much of the stonework and marble (he noted only one extant piece) had been quarried during the medieval and later periods. Using the other theatres as guides, he calculated the overall cavea diameter at 71.4 metres (Sapene, 1930-34, 1130), later adjusting the figure to 70 metres (Sapene, 1931, 23). He appears to have relied extensively on the other theatres for his study; the danger of course is that he may have relied less on what he actually saw and more on what he felt he 47 should look for. When extrapolating from the theatres at Timgad and Pompeii to calculate the diameter of a theatre in Gaul for example, he was assuming that his theatre had been built with the same geometry and related calculations used in Numidia (Algeria) and Italy. In fact, the two examples were quite different from his own archaeological reality. The theatre at Timgad, well preserved as it may have been at the time, was only partially constructed on a slope (Bieber, 1961, 203). And with his use of the theatre of Pompeii example, he seems to have confused the large and small theatres at Pompeii; each, of course, was built quite differently, with the small theatre having been completely roofed (Allen, 1927, 91). After taking the number 5 as the amount of cunei at Pompeii for his comparative analysis (Sapene, 1930-34, 1133), he then went on to note in his Etude that Pompeii had 7 cunei (Sapene, 1930-34, 1134). In fact, both the small and the large Pompeii theatres had 5 cunei, with the large one having 2 additional seating sections located above the side entrances. Whether he was referring to the small or large theatre, his "comparative" analysis could not possibly "compare" because he could not actually see the cunei arrangement of the Saint-Bertrand theatre in its entirety. He seems to have compared the Timgad and Pompeii theatres to an imagined Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges theatre. Nonetheless, Sapene eventually concluded that the number of cunei was unknown (Sapene, 1929-30, 24). He sought corresponding characteristics rather than site-specific details; the results of this analysis component were thus biased. The second analytical focus was based on a building design feature: The vela post-hole supports located along the upper cavea rim. There are many pages in his carnets and fiches detailing these features, complete with sketches and dimensions (Sapene, 1930-34, 1138-43). He concluded that there had existed a series of at least 19 post-holes, some 3.25 to 3.50 metres apart, complete with corresponding trous-de-contre-mats, or counter-supporting mast sockets, situated some 1.20 metres north of the main post-holes, presumably to add support 48 to the main masts (Sapene, 1929-30, 25). In his excavation report he noted that the mast/counter-mast arrangement probably functioned like those described by Choisy (1889) for the amphitheatre at Nimes (Sapene, 1931, 24, footnote 2). Choisy's device, however, is a square mast/counter-mast arrangement set in a slot along the top row of seats (Choisy, 1889, 577). Sapene's theatre had round post holes. He drew the vela post holes equidistant from each other, making reference to the arrangement at the Nimes amphitheatre where the sockets were installed at equal distances from each other. We now know that they and their corresponding counter-mast sockets were built at varying distances form each other (personal observations, 1990; Janon, 1990, 6). Further, the rectangular marble plates at the base of the post holes were not installed, as Sapene had claimed, along the axial lines of the theatre; they remain oriented in different directions away from the centre. A detailed study outlines the problem, with the square marble base measurably off the central axis (shown in the top section of figure 3.5). Regardless of how the arrangement functioned, the mast/counter-masts of Sapene's theatre are irregularly spaced and difficult to analyze. Sapene further postulated that the vela would have covered the upper tier of seats, perhaps at the same height of the hypothetical roof of the covered porticus he suggested was built along the upper cavea. His upper porticus assumption appears to have been based on a discontinuous layer of broken clay tiles found between the cavea and a retaining wall situated along the higher reached of the hill (Janon, et al., 1992). Significant of course is that his conclusions corresponded to the instructions of Vitruvius' Book V. It is possible that he was referencing either of two French translations he must have possessed: One by Auguste Choisy (1909, [1889]) and one by Claude Perrault (1613 [1995]). Located higher on the hillside and above the cavea and the hypothetical porticus, a heavy stone wall was noted by Sapene, presumably built to keep the earth and loose material 49 Figure 3.5: Post-Hole Detail; Upper Cavea Trench Held research notes. 1994. dram from tumbling into the upper porticus and eventually the cavea. Sapene's notes identified a series of buttressing massifs situated at regular intervals along the retaining wall. The foundations and lower courses would have been clearly visible as they remain to this day. He postulated that a second gallerie would have been located between the upper theatre (above the cavea rim) and this wall, but it is not clear if this gallerie was meant to be the same as the hypothetical porticus. Regardless, his notes remain ambiguous in this regard. Towards the lower area of the cavea, the schoolteacher briefly alluded to the "grande arche", or the large extant mass of masonry standing where the cavea would have met the eastern part of the scaena (figure 3.6). He offered no specific details or discussion regarding the masonry mass. This may have been due in part to the fact that the "grande arche" was 50 located on private property and access may have been denied. It is difficult to ponder the reasons for omitting a discussion of such a feature within an archaeological report; its proportions, as we will see, are significant. Sapene did explore the array of wall foundations located behind the scaena where a porticus postscaenam would have stood (Sapene, 1932, 34-35). He provided a hypothetical solution to the puzzling array of streets, walls and material that he found: He postulated that a road ran north to south with the porticus postscaenam built along its eastern edge. By his calculations, the dimensions of the porticus postscaenam would have exceeded some 80 metres x 100 metres. Within this space, he located an underground drain directed towards the hypothetical centre of the open-aired space (Sapene, 1932, 36). He made no attempt at explaining the links between the drain and the porticus postscaenam and more importantly, the porticus postscaenam and the theatre itself. Finally, he noted that the theatre's axis within the overall urban plan had been established, but aside from a rough 1:1,250 sketch (figure 3.7), no details were provided to support his claim (Sapene, 1929-30, 23). Very briefly then, in addition to fixing the theatre's approximate angle of orientation, calculating the cavea's diameter, and outlining, at least in a preliminary fashion, the cunei and their seating arrangement and access corridors, Sapene also highlighted the importance of an upper retaining wall and a rather large porticus postscaenam located behind the scaena. He tended to generalize and construct, mostly from his comparisons with other theatres. His attempt at determining the number of cunei based on the theatres at Timgad and Pompeii, and his post-hole comparison to the Nimes amphitheatre show that he looked for similarities with other monuments and did not necessarily focus on the uniqueness of his theatre. He turned 52 Figure 3.7: Sapene's Theatre Siting Plan; 1929-30. Sapene. 1931. his attention to other monuments in the mid-1930's. 3.3 The 1990's Explorations It was not until 1990 that archaeological explorations were re-instigated at the theatre. The excavations were focussed and comprehensive (figure 3.8). During the 1990 season, an initial survey of the extant cavea areas as well as more in-depth sondages in the vicinity of the remaining access corridors were undertaken. This initial work confirmed some of Sapene's earlier conclusions, particularly with regards to the cavea, seats, and access corridors, as well as elucidating new evidence regarding a vomitorium and praecintium located above the lowest maniana. Seating sections were uncovered, where possible, rendering a hint of the structure's angle of orientation as well as the basis of the overall building plan. A basic site 53 plan was also outlined to enable siting analysis. From the time these features were first plotted, it became apparent that the geometry of the overall theatre had anomalies; among other features, the theatre appeared to have been designed with more than one controlling centre (Janon, et al., 1990, 8). To better understand the problem, we turn to the main trench excavations. In addition to uncovering some of the seating masonry, two main trenches were opened in 1990. The first one centered on the vomitorium and praecintium located just below the second maniana. The 8 metre long vomitorium was vaulted with its floor built on a slight downwards incline towards the hypothetical centre(s) of the theatre. The courses of moellons, or squared masonry stones, were placed directly on the bedrock which now is partly covered in calcite. Based on the material uncovered, this area of the theatre may have been built some time during the first century AD (Janon and Gallagher, 1991, 108). This is congruent with a preliminary ceramics analysis by Christine Dieulafait, dating the porticus postscaenam at between 40 and 60 AD (personal communication, 1997). The date, however, conflicts with Grenier's (1958) second-half-of-the-second-century-AD estimate which he based partly on the type of marble used in some parts of the construction (marbre bleute de Saint Beat) (810). Subsequent sondages hint at a resolution to the conflicting dates. The second 1990 trench, 1991 and 1992 trenches, and a cleaning of the masonry along the lower reaches of the cavea revealed different construction techniques which, because of the way they were superimposed over each other, suggested that the structure had been either extensively renovated or built during two periods (Janon, et al., 1990, 10-12). Either way, a minimum of two construction phases seems to have been undertaken within the whole of the lower cavea area. From the uncovered foundations, the former existence of a parodos, or covered corridor leading from the outside of the theatre to the orchestra space, somewhat mirroring the "grande arche", became apparent (figure 3.9). With these uncovered 55 Figure 3.9: Possible Construction Phases of the Grande Arche Millette, in Janon and Gallagher, 1991, 110. 56 foundations and the extant "grande arche", it would seem that the phases reflect an initial stage where superimposed arches (probably two, if we include the "grande arche" and the parodos) would have been constructed of regular courses of stone, leaving relatively wide (3.60 metres) openings. A second construction period would have later been undertaken, where the original arches would have been narrowed (2.12 metres), perhaps in order to strengthen them, built with both stone and brick courses (Janon, et al., 1990, plates 11 and 13). Regardless of the difficulties in dating these sections, it is almost certain that the theatre was renovated at some point after its original construction. This would explain in part the "conflicting" dates and perhaps to some extent, the "two-centre" problem. Returning to the upper caved's seating sub-structures, the 1990's excavations revealed an average seating width of 0.64 metres, with a somewhat puzzling arrangement where the remains of the central seats are wider than those at the cavea's eastern side. The central area, at least within the upper maniana, may have functioned as some sort of a stairway as the space between some of the risers is less than half the depth of the seats. The section remains ambiguous. Because of the poor condition of the seats it is difficult to verify Sapene's cavea angle of 34°. An angle of somewhere between 34° to 39° is plausible, however, based on a topographic survey of the hill (figure 3.10). As we saw above, Sapene had carried out two sondages within the eastern extremity of the upper cavea: one following the outer cavea wall and the other opened towards the east side of the same wall. He later drew a building cross-section using the information from this work as well as other observations he made for his final report (Sapene, 1931, 25). With the 1990's studies, it was possible to show that Sapene's building section was not typical, but instead was made up of various details from many areas. Sapene's conclusion that two manianae had been constructed was refuted; there were three horizontal levels of seating sections (personal observations, 1997). A trench located within the same area as Sapene's, 57 Figure 3.10: Hill Profile Through the Cavea Millette. in Janon, et al., 1991, plate 4. along the outer cavea wall, did confirm the layer of tile he had described (personal observations, 1992-94). If these are indeed roofing tiles, one could accept Sapene's suggestion that a tile-covered space would have been built above the upper seating tier. Detailed surveys of the cavea, the upper retaining wall and the overall situation of the theatre within the urban landscape were also carried out during the 1990's. The explorations along the upper retaining wall continued through to 1996. The wall was constructed along the length of the hill to reach beyond the width of the cavea. It was built up as a set of straight segments forming an arc and following a broader radius than that of the cavea's. The wall segments seem to have been constructed of the same mortar as the older part of the lower vomitorium, with horizontally arranged tiles used throughout, presumably to keep the stone courses aligned. Significant, however, is that the bottom courses were installed at the same angle as the bedrock strata and subsequently adjusted, with tiles, until horizontal. Buttressing blocks supported it, measuring 1.0 x 1.5 metres and located at irregular intervals. These would 58 correspond to the buttressing massifs that had been observed by Sapene. Finally, a small drain pierced the retaining wall, running roughly north to south and emptying above what would have been the upper cavea (Janon, et al., 1990, 5). This renders Sapene's upper porticus or gallerie hypothesis difficult to accept; it would have been extremely difficult to manage water running into the space. Along the lowest level, at the base of the theatre, a series of trenches were opened in the vicinity of the hypothetical porticus postscaenam (Janon, et al., 1991-96). The sondages confirmed an extensive porticus postscaenam which seems to have had been designed with tenets similar to those described by Vitruvius, complete with a set of inner and outer walls, although no clear evidence was found to confirm roofed colonnades. Only the lower sections of the double wall arrangement's foundations remain. Within the northern extremity of the same space, a small channel built of tiles and moellons was uncovered, running approximately diagonally to the porticus postscaenam and seemingly directed towards the centre of the monument (Janon, et al., 1996) (figure 3.11). This is probably the same drain Sapene had uncovered. Significant is that the drain corresponds closely to Vitruvius' description of water ducts. Consider his related note in the "Colonnades and Walks" section of his Book V, Chapter IX: That they may be always dry and not muddy, the following is to be done. Let them be dug down and cleared out to the lowest possible depth. At the right and left construct covered drains, and their walls, which are directed towards the walks, lay earthen pipes with their lower ends inclined into the drains... Hence... the walks will thus be rendered perfectly dry and without moisture. (Vitruvius [A], Book V, 9, 7). While the drain uncovered in the porticus postscaenam at Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges may have simply been part of standard construction procedures, it nonetheless was a feature akin to Vitruvius' tenets. During the 1997 season, extensive work was undertaken in the theatre proper, due to 59 Figure 3.11: Drain Detail; Porticus Postscaenam field research notes. 1996. dmm an urgent requirement for consolidation of the "grande arche". The "arche" itself was cleared of vegetation and debris, enabling a clearer understanding of its construction, orientation and relationship to the rest of the monument (figure 3.12). Sondage I. undertaken in 1990, was reopened and expanded to follow the curvature of the cavea, revealing traces of an arched passageway which corresponds to a lower praecintium separating the two lower manianae (personal observations, 1997). Further explorations were also carried out in the porticus postscaenam: the hypothetical location of a central entranceway to the north could not be confirmed. 60 Figure 3.12 - Detailed Plan of the Theatre's Eastern Extremity Thus with the 1990's excavations, several key pieces were contextualized. The cavea seats, access corridors and post holes that Sapene had surveyed were further elucidated. The eastern areas of the upper cavea were re-investigated, confirming to some extent Sapene's layer of broken (roofing?) tile. The lower vomitorium-praecintium details were for the first time identified and situated within the overall design. The "grande arche", complete with its associated foundations revealed at least two construction phases. The upper retaining wall was recognized as an integral part of the siting arrangement. And several sondages were opened in the vicinity of the hypothetical porticus postscaenam, confirming that it would have been of significant proportions (Janon, et al., 1995, 14). 3.4 The [Reconstruction The 1993 [rejconstruction; which is highlighted as hypothetical, is primarily presented as a set of illustrations, thereby leaving many areas open to interpretation. Here we consider only the clear architectonic features as set out by the research architect. Referring to figures 3.13 and 3.14, we see that the [rejconstructed structure is consolidated, with a high, imposing scaena and an unspecified inner facade. The highest section of the cavea is built along the slope of the hill, complete with two covered and colonnaded porticus-like spaces located at each opposing side of the upper cavea rim. The roofs of these covered sections are at the same height as the highest row of seats of the uncovered sections. At least part of the covered sections is free-standing, built-up on arches. This accommodates the site's topography. A ramp-like arrangement operates in conjunction with various stair segments for access to the cavea interior; it is not clear why the east approach differs from the west. At the centre of the highest reach of the cavea's rim there is a small rounded podium, complete with a sanctuary-like, columned assembly. This space is enclosed by a set of small columns supporting a domed roof with a staired podium leading to its central area. A niche 62 Figure 3.13: [Reconstructed Theatre; Plan Bell, 1993, 10. Figure 3.14: [Rejconstructed Theatre; Axonometric Bell. 1993, U . 63 is located within the rear wall, directly behind the sanctuary. Interestingly, direct access from the orchestra below is provided by a set of stairs which replace what would have been a doubly-wide central cuneus. Along the highest reaches and presumably supporting the earth beyond the upper cavea, is a wide, heavy wall with four small niches, two squared and two rounded, located at roughly equidistant spaces from each other. The cavea is divided into three spaces: Two cunei on each side of a central stairway (leading to the upper sanctuary). A dwarf wall separates the cunei from the central stairway; the three spaces are distinct and not linked. At the foot of the stairway, separating the orchestra from the scaena is a proscaenium; its height is not clear. Corridors, presumably vaulted, provide access to the upper cunei spaces. The passages do not extend beneath the central stair space. The cavea itself is comprised of three manianae, although not clearly separated by praecintium. At the opposite side of the theatre's cavea is situated the scaenae frons. High versurae are installed to each of its sides, open and supported by arches. These would presumably have been fitted with staircases for access to the upper levels; stairs are not shown, however. Small recesses are located behind the scaenae frons. Its outer facade is left ambiguous and opens to a colonnaded porticus postscaenam. The inner scaenae frons is indented, with a niched facade providing a main focal point. A semi-circular niche accentuates the regia while two rectangular recesses frame the hospitalia. Finally, the scaena appears to reflect the classical scheme, with its pulpitum, or stage platform, slightly raised. In terms of dimensions, we are provided with a modular system (figures 3.15 and 3.16). On the plan, the first modular unit (circular) is centered on the theatre's central axis, thus rendering four and a half units; on the elevation, the modular system reflects 5 complete units. From the diagrams, it is not clear how the modular system was derived. The angle of the cavea, based on the elevation drawing, can be measured at approximately 34 degrees. 64 Figure 3.15: [Reconstructed Theatre; Plan Study Bell. 1993, 7. Figure 3.16: [Relconsr.rucr.ed Theatre; Sectional Study Bell, 1993, 5. 65 Thus we have the [reconstructed theatre of Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges. It is Vitruvius-like, with its well proportioned scheme and Roman theatre features. In fact, it looks very much the way we would expect it to, especially after considering the Vitruvius Roman theatre ideal in Chapter 1. But one has to wonder how this conceptualized set of drawings can be taken to be the theatre of this particular place. For one thing, it neglects the two phases of construction. And as we are about to see, the [reconstruction seems to realign certain features all-the-while adjusting them to fit the classical tenets. 3.5 [De]constructing the [Reconstruction In reviewing both periods of archaeological exploration, it quickly becomes apparent that the evidence from which we can [reconstruct the theatre is minimal. We have portions of the cavea with its seating remains, the "grande arche" and its associated foundations, and an eastern vomitorium and praecintium. We also have some portions of the upper retaining wall and rear porticus postscaenam to help us to establish siting context. And while the western end was destroyed or at least covered by an eighteenth century road, we can postulate (at least for the sake of a hypothetical [rejconstruction drawing), that the western half was constructed identical to the eastern portion. At first glance, an albeit sketchy [rejconstruction drawing might seem possible. There are precedents for example, of a podium constructed along the upper cavea; the theatre of Pompey in Rome had a similar podium and the temple at Palestrina was located above the cavea rim. And in Gaul, the theatre at Vienne may have had a platform along the same area (Grenier, 1958, 775). And the [rejconstruction's proportions are readily acceptable to the eye. Indeed, they seem to correspond to Vitruvius' proportio ideal and his Roman theatre's geometric tenets. Yet the [rejconstruction is overly detailed, possibly based on modified features from a variety of examples of distant theatres. More significantly, it seems 66 to adopt the tenets described by Vitruvius in spite of conflicting archaeological evidence. Consider the most important aspect of the theatre plan in terms of proportions and dimension-governing geometry: the orchestra. We can see from the [reconstruction's Preliminary Plan that the diameter appears to have been arrived at by following two main steps, although no precise explanation is provided with the drawing (figure 3.17). First, the line segments extending from the edges of the central cuneus are projected to a point where they cross within the orchestra space (lines A-B and C-B). Point B would thus be the basis for the theatre's hypothetical geometric centre. To determine the orchestra's radius (and diameter), the distance from the centre point (point B) to the forward limit of the lower maniana may have been taken as the approximate radius (line B-D). Similarly, and perhaps concurrently, the distance from the hypothetical centre to the furthest reach of the foundation of the "grande arche" could have been estimated, then doubled to calculate the total width of the scaena, then divided into three to render the diameter of the orchestra. This would have rendered proportions akin to Vitruvius's overall scheme. Regardless of exactly how the orchestra's dimensions were arrived at, there are at least two aspects regarding the hypothetical centre and orchestra diameter that require further consideration. The centre's location was probably determined, as we have seen, by projecting radial lines to a point where they cross; lines A-B and C-B, we must presume, were employed to this end. The Preliminary Plan suggests that these two line segments were derived from the profile of the central cuneus. We can see in figure 3.17 that the segments follow the outer surfaces of the hand drawn profile of the central cuneus. This is where we must question the procedure. Note that the shape of the central cuneus as depicted by the solid line segment I-E-F-J appears to reflect existing conditions; it is hatched and emphasized in contrast to the dotted lines of the "hypothetical" cavea limits and the solid, very straight lines of the hypothetical 67 Figure 3.17: [Reconstructed Theatre; Preliminary [Reconstruction Plan Bell, 1993. 8; the letters have been added tor discussion purposes. Vitruvius-based scaena. In reality, the central cuneus can only be verified along segments I-K and J-L, some 4.76 metres on each of its sides (Janon, 1991, plate 10; personal observations, 1994, 1996-97). Segments K-E and L-F cannot be verified. Further, the wall surfaces of the segments (the walls of the galleries as the access corridors turn towards the centre of the theatre) are actually quite rough and fragmentary. It is difficult to ponder how relatively uneven 4.76 metre wall segments can be projected some 40 metres and reflect an accurate bearing for an, albeit hypothetical, centre point. Leaving the precise location of the centre aside, we turn to the orchestras diameter. Theoretically, there are several ways of determining it. But because of the rather limited evidence, the scenario alluded to above seems the most reasonable. First, the distance from the hypothetical centre (point B) to the closest limit of the lower maniana (point D) would have been measured (point B-D). We do not, however, have the true limit of the lower maniana (point D) because a nineteenth century house and barn constructed onto the orchestra 68 prevents access to the limit of the maniana, if indeed it is still there. Further, while the line traced from the centre of the eastern vomitorium (line M-E-F-N) makes the limit of the lower maniana seem plausible on the drawing, there is no set rule that identifies the central axis of a lower vomitorium as the limit of a central cuneus. The second way that could have been used to determine the orchestra's radius or diameter would have been to measure the distance from the hypothetical centre to the exterior limit of the "grande arche" foundations, then double the measurement to obtain the overall scaena width and in turn divide the scaena width by 3 to get the orchestra's diameter. This would render a very approximate radius. Unfortunately, however, we do not have the outer limits of the "grande arche" foundations and therefore cannot possibly arrive at a reliable diameter for the orchestra. Acknowledging that the orchestra's dimensions and position are hypothetical, we now move to specific areas of the [re]constructed structure. Working down from the upper reaches of the hill, consider the small platform-like surface depicted by line segments Q-R-S-T-U-V on figure 3.17. It is the surface onto which the small podium has been [reconstructed. The surface appears somewhat regular; it is hand-drawn in a solid line, rendering the impression of "being-exacdy-there", especially as it is juxtaposed against the extended dotted upper cavea limits, presumably dotted because they are hypothetical limits. Close inspection of the hill topography, however, did not reflect this tracing (personal observations, 1994, 1997). Only a few (13 to 20) moellons were in place and even those may not be part of the theatre structure; they may have been added much later. There is simply no evidence for this podium arrangement. The difficulties in accepting the [rejconstruction become more apparent when we consider the retaining wall as shown in figures 3.13 and to some extent, in figure 3.14. The retaining wall is regularized, with segments of similar length, constructed with niches placed at regular intervals along its path. From an extensive 1994 survey, it is more likely and in 69 fact certain that it was made up of several segments of different lengths, had no niches and, as Sapene had pointed out earlier, was supported by rather large massifs that cannot be regularized within the design scheme (Janon, et al., 1994). Even though they were built as structural members, the massifs would have to be shown in the [reconstructed plan; they are too large to have been "hidden" with a surface finish such as marble slabs. Further, the detailed analysis of the retaining wall structure confirmed that its breadth extended well beyond the width of the cavea (Janon, et al., 1994). On the [reconstruction's axonometric drawing (figure 3.14), the retaining wall appears quite high, completely limiting access to the small podium. On the Plan (figure 3.13), however, there are stairs that would provide access to the space. If the central cuneus consisted of a wide stairway, then why have east and west access to the podium! The [reconstruction's upper area circulation solutions seem inadequate. Further, the shrine, with its stepped podium, domed roof supported by columns and niched spaces in its back wall, is completely imagined. There is no evidence for it or any other structure having been there. Although building masonry was uncovered that may have served as part of some sort of a level base, we have seen that the sparseness of the remains is such that a hypothetical platform is without basis. The motivation for this imagined arrangement may have been the central cuneus, however, as its stair-like profile begs for an upper focal point. Almost certainly, the upper extremity of the central cuneus, at least its outward areas closest to the turning points of the access corridors, were stepped. There is evidence in the form of relatively clear stonework at the edge of where one would enter the cavea from the access corridors between the upper two manianae. However, there is no proof to support the notion of a completely stepped cuneus; we simply do not know if the feature extended from top to bottom or from one side to the other. Such an arrangement would have reduced overall seating capacity by approximately one third. Further, the dwarf walls between the three cunei 70 pose serious circulation problems within the inner theatre. In the [reconstructed cavea there are at least 6 access points through which spectators would have passed in order to reach their seats. Curiously, the [reconstructed cunei are not clearly divided by a praecintium. Theatre-goers would therefore have been immediately placed within the seating spaces as they came out of the inner corridors; there is no platform from which spectators could pause as they emerged. It is difficult, although not impossible, to ponder spectators entering from within the cavea without a space from which they could stop, situate themselves, and negotiate their path among dozens of other individuals. Access to the inner cavea is also shown through the covered porticus spaces situated along the upper cavea rim. These spaces are built-up from the lower cavea and partly constructed on the hill. They are colonnaded, built with small north-facing openings and closed to the outer landscape. The column capitals are overly detailed for a hypothetical [reconstruction. While tile was uncovered by Sapene (1931; 1932) and later confirmed by Janon et al. (1993-94), we do not know how far it (the tile layer) extended from east to west. Even if the tiles corresponded to a covered space, it is not clear if this porticus was separated into two spaces, and if so, we have no idea how long the spaces would have been. Thus, there is no basis for the level of detail offered in the [reconstructed covered spaces of the upper cavea. Still within the vicinity of the cavea rim, there is one detail which is surprisingly absent from part of the [rejconstruction. On the [reconstructed Plan (figure 3.13), we can see what appears to be 5 post-holes between the central cuneus and upper porticus. Similarly, posts are apparent in the [reconstructed Section (figure 3.18). In both cases—especially in the Plan—no mast/counter-mast arrangement is depicted. Finally, in the [reconstructed axonometric (figure 3.14) there is no sign of the sockets, masts or counter-masts at all. As we have seen, the explorations of both Sapene and Janon revealed a set of vela mast and 71 Figure 3.18: [Reconstructed Theatre; Section Bell. 1993. 10. counter-mast sockets that would have provided supports for sheets of vela for at least part of the upper seating tier. The post holes were designed and constructed as socket/baseplate assemblies and are some of the best preserved architectural details of the theatre. Relating to this particular feature, there is evidence of mast and counter-mast post holes above what would have been the central cuneus. This poses a problem with the location of the podium on the one hand, and the staired central cuneus on the other. Why would the builders have provided cover for the top of a staired or stepped section? How the arrangement would have functioned within this particular [reconstruction is not clear; the hypothesized podium and porticus spaces would surely have to be adjusted in terms of roof and roof heights to accommodate the vela. Regardless, they have been omitted. Lower in the cavea, the [reconstructed plan shows the installation of small partitions delimiting the cavea and the orchestra spacial boundaries. This arrangement is a common theatre feature and we find it extant at nearby theatres such as at Lyon. As with the rest of the orchestra space, however, there is no way of knowing whether this particular theatre possessed such a layout because the space remains covered by a garden, barn and house. 72 Within the same lower area, the [reconstructed scaena is relatively well detailed. The proscaenium is illustrated, complete with indentures along its interior facing wall. A further detail, the valva regia, or door linking the porticus postscaenam and central scaena, is also shown. And versurae are indicated, fitting perfectly within the [reconstructed design. Yet there have been no excavations in this area that would point to such features. We have already seen that the homes built onto the imprint of the orchestra and scaena render the explorations of the areas impossible for the time being. All [reconstructed scaena, orchestra and versurae features are imagined. Along a line which traverses the hypothetical orchestra there remains a set of coarse limestone blocks aligned in a row, running east to west and perpendicular to the approximate axis of the theatre along what may have been the tracing of the forward scaena limit (personal observations, 1990-96). The line appears to run beyond the limit of the orchestra. While a more in depth survey is required to site it within the overall plan, it does not appear to have been considered in the [reconstruction. Curiously, the "grande arche" does not seem to form an extensive part of the [reconstruction. A double entrance is shown on the versurae of the Preliminary Plan (figure 3.17) and another double set of entrances is shown just outside the versurae. But the "grande arche" seems to have been removed or significandy modified in the [reconstructed plan; the field realities may have been superseded by the Vitruvius ideal plan. As highlighted in Chapter 2, the "grande arche" is one of the best preserved architectonic features of the monument. Not to negate the importance of the cavea and seats, the "grande arche" and its associated foundations and stonework as well as the adjacent vomitorium and praecintium reveal more about this particular theatre than any other feature thus far uncovered. As it now stands, the entranceway is at least 6.2 metres in height, some 2.5 metres in depth and constructed of consolidated masonry which includes tile, stone, tufa and mortar (figure 3.19). 73 Figure 3.19: The "Grande Arche"; Part Elevation dmm 96-07-10 It is possible that it corresponds to a parodos (the covered entranceway separating the scaena from the cavea) which could have mirrored it and been situated to its northern extremity. Outside the theatre proper, two other [reconstructed spaces remain: the porticus postscaenam and the ramp-like access/circulation arrangement. The two are key in terms of the monument's siting and context. The porticus postscaenam seems plausible with its width presumably plotted to actual sondage evidence. Its length is not shown. The columns are imagined; as we have seen, only the wall foundations remain. Similarly, the ramp-like access 74 arrangement shown on the Plan is not representative of the archaeological evidence. While there is a medley of Roman and Medieval footpaths, roadways and ramp-like access routes, later roads makes it impossible to determine, at least for the time being, what paths were used to reach the theatre proper and the higher reaches of the opidum. The outer circulation problem remains unresolved. Finally, the importance of the cardo maximus seems neglected with the inclusion of the ramp-like arrangement. The cardo maximus has been fixed by topographic surveys and excavations; it runs alongside the eastern portion of the theatre (Paillet, 1991; refer to figure 3.1). This would problematic, render the location of the ramp arrangement and the diagonal path leading away from the theatre. Again, how theatre traffic interfaced with outer circulation is simply not known. 3.6 Conclusion We have seen that with Sapene's work, archaeological excavations were centered on uncovering and following walls all-the-while using known theatre examples as guides in seeking similarities in design. The result was perhaps more of a search for "what should have been there" rather than a search for "what was actually there." Further, Sapene constructed parts of the theatre by combining observations and details from different areas of the theatre. He drew a cavea cross-section, for example, by drawing from his observations throughout the cavea and not necessarily from one particular sondage. This was his way of explaining the cavea without compromising his observations. But in doing so, he provided a false impression of the space. With the 1990's explorations, the work was more extensive, with stratigraphy and situation within the urban context being key concerns. Throughout the work, Sapene's conclusions were challenged —some confirmed, some debunked— while access to more areas facilitated a wider "view" of the overall structure. The vomitorium and praecintium, for 75 example, and the "grande arche" with its associated foundations were highlighted as integral components. The upper retaining wall and the lower porticus postscaenam were shown to be extensive and part of a more comprehensive siting arrangement with the theatre occupying the key position. The [reconstruction, as we have seen, is questionable. The upper podium, scaena and orchestra were completely imagined, without archaeological basis. Other features such as the upper retaining wall and to some extent, the "grande arche", may have been altered in appearance and location to suit the hypothetical Vitruvius-like scheme. Still other details such as the vela post holes were re-arranged, omitting the corresponding counter-masts and their uneven spacing. And other archaeological realities such as the two centre/two construction-phase problems were disregarded. Perhaps more serious is the interplay of line work which tends to bias the interpretation of the site conditions. The use of dotted lines to represent Vitruvius' ideal theatre combined with solid lines to show [reconstructed areas and other solid lines (hatched for emphasis) to represent seemingly "existing" structural components is unfair to the reader. The scaena, for example, was drawn as a solid line on the Preliminary Plan (figure 3.17). Against the dotted lines representing the Vitruvius ideal, the scaena appears "real" to the reader. Yet it was imagined. Similarly, the whole of the eastern vomitorium and orchestra was also depicted with solid lines. They too become "real" when contrasted to the dotted Vitruvius ideal; much of their tracing is made-up. The central cuneus was shown as a solid line and hatched. It was exaggerated towards the orchestra and the reader does not know what part of the cuneus was actually there and what section has been imagined. Perhaps more confusing is the negating of details from confirmed locations and fitting these to a Vitruvius-like scheme. In figure 3.20, the Preliminary Plan (in red) is superimposed onto the [reconstruction Plan (in black). While no scale is provided to adequately verify the 76 Figure 3.20: Preliminary and [Reconstructed Plans; Superimposed Bell, 1993, 8, 10. [reconstruction drawing, there are a number of problems that come to light. It is not clear, for example, how the parodos located between the "grande arche" and the versurae would have been constructed; the versurae wall is too thin to accommodate the arched parodos for which we do have archaeological evidence. Further, there is an interplay of lines that continues to be unfair to the reader: Note that the lines within the scaena "change" from one plan to the other. It seems as if a "hypothetical" plan has been corrected to a final, more "accurate" plan. In fact, both are imagined. Finally, no distinction is made between spaces encompassing the different construction periods. Sapene did construct part of the theatre in his cross-section by using details found at 77 various cavea intervals. His intent, undoubtedly, was to render an idea of what the cavea could have looked like in its completed state. But the 1993 [reconstruction went much further. It sought to correct part of the evidence to suit imagined spaces that in turn were set up to correspond with a Vitruvius-like arrangement. First, the theatre was imagined according to an idealized Vitruvius scheme; the Vitruvius scheme was fitted to the site and, in a sense, legitimized the imagined theatre. And second, where voids were apparent such as the scaena, orchestra and versurae, they were also imagined and fitted into place. While critical of the [reconstruction, it is clear that this hypothetical construction was undertaken to generate discussion, perhaps in an effort to draw out details that may have thus far been overlooked. This type of [reconstruction is often carried out within archaeological and architectural research. The imagining of spaces and combining these with a custom-fitted Vitruvius-like design begs serious questions, however. Why seemingly manipulate the evidence with confusing linework that includes imagined spaces within the same drawings? Why use Vitruvius' design tenets in geographical and cultural regions that differ markedly from the Roman norm and where we know building design was different than that of the Romans? And why is there such a persistence in using his text as definitive evidence in theatre [reconstruction? These are the questions explored in Chapter 4. 78 Chapter 4; Tradition, Imagination and Theatre Constructions "Whether monuments or writings, the works of the ancients had...come down in fragments, battered and ravaged by time. Hence they had to be reconstructed, interpreted and improved..." Richard Krautheimer, 1963, 52. 4.1 Introduction In the discussion of his research on Vitruvius, Pierre Gros (1993, 1994) highlights that while problematic, Vitruvius' text continues to be used to [reconstruct theatres (4, 57). Small (1983) makes the same observation, noting that "[sjupplied with Vitruvius' step-by-step method of design, archaeologists have too often been eager to adjust their evidence to the Vitruvian plan" (55). Chapter 3 recalls this notion. Yet Gros, Small and other critics do not explain why architects and archaeologists persist in this practice. Trained to design, the temptation for architects to fill-in-the-gaps when confronted by a lacunae of clues on the former arrangement of a now ruinous theatre seems irresistible. The practice appears reflexive and may lie in the way architects are trained. Clearly, Vitruvius' design tenets do not a priori reflect actual theatre construction; as we have seen, there are gaps between his design rhetoric and our built reality. So why is there such a persistence in using his text as definitive evidence in theatre [rejconstruction? The answer to this question seems to lie in the way we have traditionally interpreted Vitruvius' writings, often without questioning his own modus vivendi and usually making the assumption that his design tenets were invariably followed by theatre designers of the classical world. It seems that the conventional way for architects and archaeologists to analyze theatres has been to look for similarities rather than dissimilarities between Vitruvius' text and what they see. This would appear quite odd, considering the fact that most post-Vitruvius theatres were built very differently from what Vitruvius had observed (MacDonald, 1977, 29). Probably because it is the only surviving architectural treatise of antiquity, a canonization of 79 Vitruvius' writings has taken place (Schrijvers, 1989, 13) whereby [reconstruction by means of text has become accepted and condoned within the architectural and archaeological professions. An "invented tradition", to use Hobsbawm's (1983) term, has evolved, whereby the modus of studying classical architecture is seldom questioned. The "invented tradition", in this case, strives to directly link the present day study of classical monuments, whether these were built before, during or after Vitruvius' time, to Vitruvius' treatise. And this is especially true of classical theatres. Thus if we are to understand the tradition of theatre [reconstruction, we must confront the Vitruvius corpus in an epistemological sense. Indeed, as Georg Germann (1991) eloquently put it, "[I'Jhistorien de I'architecture se trouve dans une situation analogue a celle du theologien devant I'histoire des dogmes et I'exegese des textes: les ecritures saintes sont a la theologie ce que Vitruve et ses Dix livres de Varchitecture...sont a I'histoire de I'architecture" (9). Whether the ancient treatise is analogous to the holy scriptures is certainly debatable, but clearly it is not possible to separate it from architectural theory, and hence, archaeological [reconstruction. In this chapter, translations of the ancient text and Vitruvius-based treatises are used to explore the persisting tradition of theatre [reconstruction. This exploration is guided by three themes: First, authority and authentication, second, didactics, and finally, interpretations and imaginations. 4.2 Authority and Authentication At first glance, it is tempting to view Vitruvius as an "accident" of history. We know that there are lost, pre-Vitruvius texts related to architecture; Fufidius and Publius Septimius' writings were mentioned by Vitruvius for example, but are no longer extant (Book VII, preface). He also mentioned at least fifteen other works dealing with subjects ranging from symmetry to mechanics (Book VIII, 14). With the mention of so many irretrievable texts, it 80 is easy for us to consider the Vitruvius treatise as one that could have "disappeared," but by accident, has survived. Labelling him as an accident of history, however, does seem somewhat hasty. It may be worth considering that the Roman writer's text was, at least to some extent, deliberately preserved. In fact, the text was quite "valuable, even indispensable centuries [after it was authored]" (Plommer, 1973, 33). The fact that the treatise was referenced so soon after being written is perhaps linked to the way the Roman writer utilized "authorities" within his own text. Vitruvius was concerned with giving his treatise an aura of authority and spent a great deal of time proving that he was erudite. This may have been due to his basic level of education. More probably, it may have been related to his rather limited building design success; as noted in Chapter 1, we know of only one design project to his credit: a basilica at Fano. Listing a series of authors, mostly Greek, would have been a way of rendering the authoritative feel he sought for his text. While it is possible that naming other writers would have been a way of paying tribute to them, it is more likely that because Romans respected Greeks, the mention of Greek scholars would have added credence to his work (Callebat, 1993, 45). He followed the literary style of the Greek authors of the period; a style, as Aristotle tells us, designed to "instruct and persuade" which would have signalled to the reader that the written work was one of importance (quoted in Tzonis and Lefaivre, 1990, 5). As Dalmas (1986) put it, "le style de Vitruve est a la fois precis et concis dans chaque description technique, puisqu'ilparte a I'homme de metier et neparte qu'a lui" (4). In this light, Vitruvius gave detailed and concise instructions to make his work as "useful" as possible, adding to the authoritative quality of the text (Novara, 1993, 47-49). He was certainly looking to Greece for his inspiration. As also discussed in Chapter 1, Vitruvius wrote his treatise towards the end of the first century BC, probably finishing it as Augustus assumed power, and "well before the onset of the major building activity" (Mark, 1994, 49). By the time Augustus came to power, only 81 one permanent stone theatre existed in Rome: The Theatre of Pompey. Needless to say, Vitruvius' Roman examples were rather limited. It is understandable that he would mention that "we cannot show any in Rome" and that one had to go to places away from Rome, to "many Greek cities", to see examples of theatres "built of solids" ([B] Book V, 5.7-8). Ironically, this does not seem to have been taken into account by his contemporaries; just as Vitruvius had looked to the Greeks for "authority," his contemporaries looked to him as their own "authority". In terms of theatre-related writings, Pliny described the vela, or canvass roof utilized in theatre construction during the reigns of Caesar and Augustus (Pliny, Book XIX, 23-24). He made general use of the De architectura libri decemund referred to Vitruvius at least three times as he discussed trees (Book XVI), paint and colours (Book XXXV), and stone (Book XXXVI). His referencing of the ancient text highlights,two things. First, it shows "that the manual of architecture was already a standard work" during the first century (Granger, 1983, xv). Second, it points out that, from the early years of Augustus' reign, Vitruvius was referenced as an authority of Roman Imperial architecture in spite of having told his readers that he was basing himself to a great extent on Greek-related observations. Other writers were doing the same, treating Vitruvius' treatise as the definitive authority on architecture. Frontinus (born around 35 AD), for example, made reference to the older author in his Aqueducts of Rome, informing the reader that Vitruvius was the expert when it came to construction of water-related technology (Frontinus, Book I, 25). A little later, Cetius Faventinus (born around 250 AD) discussed construction materials based to a large part on Vitruvius (Anderson, 1995, 550). He mentioned him in his summary of architecture and debated the construction techniques of the ancient writer in his De diversis fabricis architectonicae (also known as Artis architectonicae privatis usibus albreviatus liber), seemingly attempting to place himself on the same expertise level as the older writer (Plommer, 1973, 19-23). The fact that Cetius Faventinus chose to provide an abbreviated 82 version of Vitruvius' treatise speaks for itself; it was obviously perceived as an important work at the time. Another of the "followers" of Vitruvius, Palladius, authored an agricultural handbook that, within its discussion of buildings, was based to a large extent on the earlier writer's text (MacDonald, 1977, 52). Finally, Apollodorus (fl. mid second century AD) and Servius (fl. early fifth century AD) also cited him as an expert on architecture (Fleury, 1990, XL VII). From the onset of architectural discourse, Vitruvius was referenced as an authority in order to buttress technical narratives and in turn to render an authoritative feel to writers' texts as they discussed architecture in general and architectural theory in particular. Utilizing previous "authorities" to strengthen arguments and render credence to architecture-related texts was the norm, in post-Vitruvius architectural discourse. Vitruvius' contemporaries and later Latin writers chose to ignore the fact that Vitruvius' theatre observations were pre-Augustan and Greek-based. In fact, as they incorporated the early writer's theatre ideals within their own work, they rendered the impression that Vitruvius' observations were related to the Roman experience and not necessarily the Greek reality; the notion of a distinct Roman theatre would have appealed to the Roman writers who would have aimed at Romanizing the building type. Eventually, as the practice of copying texts increased in popularity, direct references to the ancient text appears to have ceased. 4.3 Didactics At first glance, early Medieval buildings built away from the Mediterranean do not seem to have been designed according to Vitruvius' tenets. The Orders, for example, so aptly described by the Roman writer, were utilized very little after 350 AD. Probably as a result of social and economic changes taking place throughout Italy and the rest of the western world, "classically" designed buildings, including the theatre, became much less popular (Bieber, 1961, 254; Frezouls, 1982, 436-37; Marta, 1989, 13). At the same time, architects 83 were becoming less liberal arts planners and more trades-oriented master builders. The social changes and corresponding shifts in the building design profession that took place during the Middle Ages are not completely understood. It is perhaps partly for this reason that the conventional view of the Vitruvius text being "lost" during the Middle Ages has persisted until the modern era. De Camp (1993), for example, notes that the treatise was "recovered" only at the onset of the Renaissance (357). This view, however, is open to serious question. Kruft (1994) suggests that the use of Vitruvius' text was limited during the Middle Ages (30). While true to some extent, the treatise would have been accessible to the students at the monastic schools and the builders associated with monasteries (Frankl, 1960, 89). Further, the apprentices at the various building lodges that emerged during the fourth and fifth centuries, albeit secretive, may have had the opportunity to refer to the old text (Kostof, 1977b, 69). Builders from the schools and lodges would have found the text's technical instructions particularly relevant to the medieval builder's needs. In addition to rules relating to proportion and geometry (Book III, 3.1; 5.1-15), the instructions for the siting of buildings applied to medieval construction (Book I, 7.1), the detailed descriptions of timber and its uses were relevant to the medieval architect (Book II, 9-10), and the concise procedures for dealing with pigments and colours were direcdy applicable to fresco and wall painting (Book VII, 5.1-8). Considering that the monastic schools carried out a lot of building construction training, it is entirely possible that the "student" builders would have referenced the treatise during the course of their apprenticeship and training. It seems almost certain that the text was referenced both as an instruction manual for builders and a didactic instrument for teaching (Frankl, 1960). Krinsky (1967) has identified some seventy-eight different Vitruvius manuscripts accessible during the Middle Ages (36-38). Other examples have since been added to the list (Mitchell and Marmor, 1996, 152). This is a high number, considering the changes in social and religious life and their corresponding alterations to building design. Architectural focus 84 moved from one based on the state's agenda to one based on Christian ideology. It is interesting to this thesis that the ancient manual was being preserved partly through the Church as it is to some extent through the liturgical plays that the classical theatre was preserved (Hartnoll, 1976, 40). While the master builders looked away from many of the building types outlined by Vitruvius, they did look to his basilica for church design. It is thought that Einhard may have been directly inspired by the De architecture libri decern in his use of Roman-like masonry for his church design at Steinbach (Greenhalgh, 1989, 159). Certainly the transformation of Vitruvius' basilica into a Christian church building transcended the "building" per se; this was so because society saw the type as representative of a new ideology. It was perhaps partly with this in mind that the libraries at St. Gall, Fulda and Cluny, among others, all held copies of the old text; they too had ongoing copying programs (Moressi, 1988, 81; Stockstad, 1988, 72, 143). Copies were also kept within the royal houses where the status associated with classical architecture had not completely disappeared. King Theodoric (491-526), for example, undertook rebuilding programs at both Ravenna and Rome. He also sponsored the restoration of the theatre at Pompey, according to his own interpretation of the classical ideal. A little later, as Rome continued to decline, classical architectural preservation projects were undertaken in the Northern countries (Kostof, 1977b, 68). The renovation of a classical building would probably have involved the referencing of the ancient text, especially if the text was known and accessible to the patron. Later in the Medieval era, numerous translations of the treatise were produced, including those eventually owned by learned individuals such as Petrarch (1304-74) and Boccacio (1319-75) (Ciapponi, 1984, 72). In addition to the practical "building trade" uses we have already described, the text was used for the more theoretical aspects of building design. The atriums of Old Saint Peters, Cluny III, St. Laurent at Tournus and Anzy-le-Duc, for example, were proportioned according to Vitruvius' atrium of the third class (Book VI, 85 3.3). Connant (1968) has shown that Vitruvius' idea of the diagon was also utilized to this end (33-34). Similarly, the concepts of eurhythmy and symmetry were borrowed in a variety of building designs (Kostof, 1977b, 70). Although an ongoing polemic (mostly because we do not know exactly to what extent it was used), it seems certain that the treatise was utilized in both training and teaching throughout the period (German, 1991, 10; Krautheimer, 1963, 48). Toward the end of the Middle Ages, the treatise gained further popularity within western intelligentsia (Moressi, 1988, 81); "as soon as the essence of architecture...[was] considered to be philosophy and mathematics (the divine laws of order and proportion) and archaeology (the monuments of Antiquity), the theoretician and dilettante...[were] bound to assume a new significance [to the Vitruvian text and the architectural profession in general]" (Pevsner, 1943, 188). In addition to having maintained its authoritative feel and acquiring a didactic "quality", there began to emerge a tradition of using the treatise to buttress individual architectural treatises and careers. 4.4 Interpretations and Imaginations If the emphasis on using the Vitruvius treatise shifted from authority during Antiquity, to didactics during the Medieval period, it was only to reflect the changes within the architectural profession; the liberal-arts profession had become a more technique-oriented trade. This is not to say, however, that the authoritative mode of the ancient text was no longer present. For the humanists of the early fifteenth century who yearned for a return to Imperial Rome's glory and who saw humanity in complete control of its own destiny, a renewed emphasis on all-that-is-classic was encouraged. This included classical literature and a correspondingly reinvigorated appreciation of classical architecture (Bieber, 1961, 254). For this reason, Vitruvius appealed to the humanists. 86 In the Vitruvius text, scholars found a writer who not only identified and described the tasks involved in building, but described the profession as a "science" that required both "theory" and "praxis" (Ettlinger, 1977, 98). This was important because the art and architecture of humanist philosophy called for the knowledge of such diverse fields as astronomy, anatomy and mathematics. The treatise was thus interpreted within the humanistic framework, with emphasis on scientia, including its six principles of architecture: Arrangement, Economy, Eurhythmy, Order, Propriety and Symmetry (Book I, 2.1). These fit perfectly within the "theory" and "praxis" tenets of humanist scientific thought. The two tenets were accommodated within architectural training and became amalgamated to the field of archaeology and the practice of measuring monuments in precise detail. Architects and intellectuals such as Brunelleschi (1377-1446) analyzed theatre ruins, for example, and compared their findings to the descriptions and tenets of Vitruvius (Ettlinger, 1977, 99; Schevill, 1963, 419). Around Brunelleschi's time, the papal authority took on the preservation of Antiquities as a priority; we know that Raphael (1483-1520), for example, was given carte blanche by Pope Leon X to halt any construction or demolition work deemed as damaging to any monument or stone inscription of Antiquity (Miintz, 1880, 316). In this way, importance was granted to the study of monuments; comparing the remnants of antiquity to Vitruvius' design tenets became key in architectural training. The design of churches and homes for the rich in a new style based on the classical Orders also reinvigorated the popularity of Vitruvius' treatise. Alberti (1404-1472) wrote his treatise using the ancient text as a basis for his theory and designs. His version of the Templum Etruscan, for example, was derived directly from the older text, with modifications made in order to suit his own theory-related needs (Krautheimer, 1961, 66-67; 1963, 45). Within his writings emerged a new way of interpreting Vitruvius; his De re aedificatoria recalled the older text in both form and content, yet had a very different motive. Alberti wrote his treatise around the year 1452 (Leoni, 1755 [1986], introductory 87 note), just as he was taking on the role of "conservateur des monuments historiques de la papaute" (Germann, 1991, 49). With an in-depth knowledge of classical literature and a keen interest in the monuments of antiquity, Alberti fulfilled the humanist ideal of looking to Rome's past for inspiration (Eden, 1943, 14). His treatise was not written as a direct translation of the ancient text; the older one recalled the past while Alberti's tended to look ahead, using the past to rationalize ideas related to technique and design (Rykwert, et al., 1991, x). In this way, he was able to transform the non-Christian text into one which was palatable for his humanist patrons and Catholic consumption. However, most sections, including those discussing the theatre, still described design very much like Vitruvius had, with, for example, suggestions for optimal siting and forms based on examples from antiquity (Alberti [A], Book VIII, 7). Yet there were major differences with his theory of architectural practice. Vitruvius had described the architect as one who was adept at both practice and theory (Book I, 1). However, in spite of emphasizing theory and introducing his architectural tenets in his Book I, Vitruvius' theoretical focus was quickly replaced by an emphasis on technique and craft. We need only think of his long descriptions of building materials and uses to make this clear (Book II, 3-10). Alberti, on the other hand, wanted to use architecture for purposes which fitted the humanists' way of seeing the world. He therefore identified the architect as one who planned and designed for society as a whole, all-the-while maintaining a theoretical focus and control over practice. He also identified the craftsman as "no more than an instrument of the architect", placing the architect at the appropriate social-humanist stature (quoted in Eden, 1943, 13). After all, humanism was all about humanity being in control of its own destiny. While adopting Vitruvius' format, he criticized the older writer for not having accurately described the classical monuments that were still observable in the fifteenth century. However, many of the ruins that Alberti was observing were built after Vitruvius' 88 time. As we have seen in earlier chapters, the differences between Vitruvius' Roman theatre ideal and those actually built during and after Augustus' time seem to indicate that post-Vitruvius theatre builders had not vigorously, if at all, followed his tenets. Yet Alberti interpreted the differences between his own observations and those outlined in the Roman writer's treatise as flaws in the ancient text. Further, he chose to undertake corresponding corrections within his own treatise. Thus observations of Imperial Rome's monuments were utilized to realign Vitruvius' text. In this way, the theatre of Vitruvius began to be redefined according to the ruins of Imperial Rome. The redefining of the classical theatre and classical architecture in general included a new way of adapting classical types to sixteenth century architecture. For example, Alberti used his observations of the scaenae frons of the Septizonium theatre of the Palatine to design the front wall of the Rucellai Palace. Further, he combined his observations and measurements of other post-Vitruvius structures with his knowledge of Vitruvius' proportio ideal (Vitruvius, Book IV) to arrive at his own theory of "beauty", the equivalent of Vitruvius' venustatis ideal (Wittkower, 1967, 34). His theory of beauty (the beautiful form of the individual) was based on Ornament, and because his version of "Ornament" had the column as its principal focus (Alberti, Book IV, 13) (Gadol, 1964, 126), it is not surprising to find a double-colonnaded upper porticus within his theatre (figure 4.1). Alberti provided no diagrams with his text; we do have, however, a drawing which represents his theatre ideal from a later (1550) Italian translation of the De re aedificatoria by Cosimo Bartoli. In Alberti's theatre, the geometry was somewhat simplified; Vitruvius' four-triangled organizing scheme was removed, perhaps hidden, and replaced by a more straightforward set of measurements. Yet we can see that it still adhered to the Vitruvius ideal: Following the ancient text, Alberti's cavea was semi-circular and divided into six main cunei; the middle two are separated in Bartoli's drawing, seemingly to accommodate some sort of central stairway. The diagram is mechanical, lacking in detail in what seems to be an 89 Figure 4.1: Alberti's version of the Vitruvius Theatre Alberti [A], [1452) (1991, 272; the illustration is by Bartoli tor his own 1550 translation of Alberti)! attempt to schematize the design into a model; it is possible that he was looking towards a generic model. While there were clear differences from Vitruvius' theatre (the central stairs into the cavea, for example), it is within his overall theory presentation that we get a clearer picture of how the theatre of Vitruvius became interpreted differendy. As we have seen, Alberti borrowed the form and presentation of the old text, modifying the content to suit his own needs. But he also did something else: When he installed the porticus above the cavea, he was to some extent, imagining the spatial arrangement of the theatre. Vitruvius' description of this section of the Roman theatre was vague and although he referred to the scaena as having three levels, with the upper level continuing around the higher reaches of the cavea, he provided no detailed description of the upper porticus per se (Book V, 6.6). Alberti had studied extant classical theatres (post-Vitruvius theatres) and he extrapolated from these studies to "correct" Vitruvius (Ettlinger, 1977, 90). He installed a double porticus along the cavea rim. He may have assumed such 90 an arrangement form his observations. Regardless, he added a design element to a building after it had been built, in a sense clearing the way for the liberal use of the imagination in[re]constructing antiquities in general and the theatre in particular. Alberti saw the ideal city much like a classic theatre, complete with controlled and straight streets and sitelines, all arranged in a particular order and proportion (Book IV, 2, 3). Considering this vision of the city, it is not surprising that his imagined theatre would have the same types of features. Both his city and theatre were to be works of art. The imagined city of Alberti became a scaena where humanist civic power and stature could manifest itself, much like the classic theatre had been a place where the powerful class could be showcased, all-the-while positioning itself as the ruling class. Two separate processes took place when Alberti wrote his treatise. First, the ancient text of Vitruvius was utilized as a means of reinforcing an individual's theory. Alberti called on the older authority to give his own work credence while at the same time using Vitruvius to "elevate" the architectural profession to the humanist ideal. In doing so, he would further entrench the ancient treatise as an authoritative device. Along with Pope Leon X's support for the study and preservation of antiquities, the older text became the architectural theory (Darton, 1990, 11; Frankl, 1960, 88). Second, by adding new design details to Vitruvius' description of the Roman theatre (and other building types), he cleared the way for the architectural profession to begin interpreting Vitruvius in a more liberal sense; it was now acceptable to "correct" the treatise of Vitruvius by imagining how certain theatre spaces should have been described. The theory-based text of Antonio Averlino (1400-69), also known as Filarete, with its gaze-towards-the-past, its referencing of Vitruvius and Alberti and, especially, with its own re-interpretation of building types, attests to this. Filarete wrote his treatise in 1461-62 just a few years after Alberti had written his own. An architect and director of works for various cathedrals, he had arrived in Milan, probably with a good knowledge of the Vitruvius text—he refers to him in his dedication 91 (Book I, Folio Ir)—as well as thoughts of recent visits to classical ruins and the Cathedral of Milan, then being built in a new Gothic style. His writings combined theory, technique and not surprisingly, his observations of antiquities, all in an attempt to educate the nobility on the basics of architecture. His primary aim was a didactic one. Significant with Filarete's treatise is that he introduced the ideas of anthropomorphism to the Renaissance; to Filarete, Adam was the human prototype from which the columns, and hence the Orders of Vitruvius, were derived (Rykwert, 1981, 118). He was Christianizing his interpretation of Vitruvius. His architectural theory was well developed and his work, comprehensive. Yet in spite of its broad scope, it is difficult to grasp his understanding of the classical theatre. If Vitruvius' theatre instructions were brief and general, Filarete's were abbreviated and confused. He grouped the theatre, amphitheatre and arena into a single type. Consider his drawing of the "round" theatre (figure 4.2). The schematic clearly reflects the amphitheatre, yet the text description provided within his Book XII was that of a theatre. Further, his descriptions of some of the different theatre areas appear to have been improvised. Spencer (1965) alluded to the confusion, noting that "Filarete's failure to understand the function of the porticus at the summit of the theatre seems to argue against a close understanding of the treatise of Alberti...and Vitruvius..." (151). Indeed, the porticus description rendered the text completely ambiguous. He wrote: "[these] must have been places where people stood to see...[and...p]erhaps also women...danced up there to make merry while plays were going on..." (Filarete, Book XII, Folio 87r). As with Alberti, Filarete seemed to take liberties in describing the theatre. His porticus was imagined, perhaps based to some extent on Alberti's description, and he appears to have spent litde time analyzing or considering the short description of the space provided by Vitruvius. In spite of his theatre-related ambiguities, Filarete did instigate a new dimension to the architectural discourse of the time. As with Alberti, he aimed to separate the design process from the actual building process. Of significant departure from the former, however, was his 92 Figure 4.2: Filarete's Schematic version of the Theatre At rJvum A Filarete. Book XII. Folio 87r. detailed discussion of imagination and the development of ideas within the mind. Alberti instigated the use of imagination; Filarete described and formalized it. He utilized themes of "pleasure" and "desire" to explain the mind's imaginative processes. To him, the mind of a person involved in the design process was engaged much like that of a person in love, completely consumed by the idea (Book II, Folio 8r, 16). The use of the imagination within Vitruvius-like treatises was thus formalized within Filarete's work; the classic theatre of the past, whose ideal strived to invoke imagination in the viewer, was now itself being imagined. Concurrent to the writing of architectural treatises, the diffusion of Latin letters was also enhancing the popularity of Vitruvius (Murray, 1985, 159). And with a corresponding rebirth of the classical theatre taking place, so too was a new conceptualization of the scaena and theatre decor beginning to develop. A new perspectival design based on the reproduction of space beyond the plane was popularized (Wittkower, 1967, 117-18), although perspectival space was not an entirely new concept. Plato had discussed it and had rejected the concept "because it [distorted] the 'true measurement' of things by putting individual judgement and 93 subjective appearances in the place of reality..." (Panofsky, 1981, 30). Vitruvius had discussed it (Book VII, preface, 11) and now Alberti and especially Filarete were highlighting its scenographic virtues (Damisch, 1994, 62). The individual judgement and subjective appearance that Plato had objected to, however, were precisely what humanism was calling for. There was a will to control visual space within art, architecture, and of course, the theatre (Boyer, 1996, 83). Again, Vitruvius' text was referenced and elaborated upon for inspiration. By 1515, Baldassare Peruzzi (1481-1536), a follower of Alberti and Filarete, was developing his own scaena and decor within a perspectival design, influenced, like so many before him, by visits to the sites of antiquity and especially Vitruvius' treatise. Peruzzi was clearly looking to the past for his cues and because he was influential, he set the tone for a new mode of theatre design based on perspective (Beyer, 1989, 10-12; Kostof, 1985, 517-18). From around 1515, theatre design returned to one which was permanent in structure and ultimately, Vitruvian in ideal. By now, however, the theatre of Vitruvius was "corrected" to correspond to the Augustan theatre on the one hand, and to represent humanist scientia on the other. This should not be surprising; Alberti's thesis was well known and the practice of comparing archaeological monuments to Vitruvius' instructions was becoming integral to architectural training. It was within this intellectual context that Caesar Cesariano (1483-1543) published his translation of Vitruvius' treatise in 1521. While other translations were being undertaken in Germany and elsewhere, the interesting point about Cesariano's translation is that he connected the architectural theory of the Middle Ages to that of the Renaissance, and in turn, to the Vitruvius text. By utilizing the Cathedral of Milan (under construction for at least one hundred years) as his subject in the diagrams of his Vitruvius translation, he may have been intending on bridging opposing ideas together, but, knowingly or not, he was implying that the theoretical frameworks of both the Middle Ages and the Renaissance were both based on the writings of the older writer. 94 Cesariano would have probably also had the theories of his contemporaries in mind. With the notion of the imagination in design instigated by Alberti and formalized by Filarete, translators of the more ancient treatise were now free to "imagine" descriptions and illustrations not included in the original text. A new mode of architectural training was developing whereby architects learned from the monuments they sketched and in turn designed and elaborated their sketches to redefine classical architecture and reinterpret Vitruvius' theatre (Ettlinger, 1977, 103). Thus, in his translation's Chapter II, Cesariano inserted a proposal for the proportioning of the Cathedral of Milan's elevation in the form of a diagram corresponding to Vitruvius' proportio ideals (Book I). It was now typical to adapt Vitruvius' ideals to new designs, and acceptable to imagine corresponding illustrative material within translations of the ancient text. Like Alberti and Filarete, Cesariano also provided illustrations for his translation's theatre (figure 4.3). He elucidated Vitruvius' four-triangle organizing scheme, although the circle to which these were fitted appears determined by the circumference of the exterior of the cavea and not the orchestra proper. While the circle may have been added to rationalize the form, it rendered the impression of representing more than a theatre building; the circle envelopes the entire structure. It is possible that Cesariano had a grander idea in mind. Within this imagery, the theatre could be seen as representative of the cosmos, an increasingly popular notion of humanist society. This "circle-cosmos" arrangement had been described by Vitruvius (Book IX, 2-4) and with Cesariano imagining a theatre—most probably within the humanist thought of the time—it is possible that he saw the building type as representative of society as a whole. Cesariano also improvised spaces within his ideal theatre. Vitruvius did not specify details relating to the spatial arrangement of some of the theatre's spaces; he gave no instructions on the arrangement of the individual rooms making up the frons scaenae, for example. Yet when we examine Cesariano's theatre, the frons scaenae is partitioned and made up of what appears to be an improvised layout. We do not 95 Figure 4.3: Cesariano's version of the Vitruvius Theatre Cesariano 1521. [1968], Book V, XXXII. know, however, if Cesariano imagined this section, if he used the imagined theatre of others, or if he referred to his own observations of individual theatres. Fra Giocondo, who was the first to organize the Vitruvius treatise into separate chapters (Granger, 1931, xxv), had provided a similar frons scaenae in the theatre of bis translation of 1511 (figure 4.4). We can see that he had already imagined the spatial configuration of the frons scaenae. According to Campbell (1980), Cesariano had access to Fra Giocondo's translation (19; footnote 17). Combining personal observations of ruinous theatres with imagined spatial layouts was by now acceptable; similarly, using someone else's improvised layout may also have been equally satisfactory. Alberti had imagined the doubled upper porticus and now Cesariano and others were adapting their own versions while imagining and "correcting" other spaces (Krautheimer, 1963). When Sebastiano Serlio (1475-1554) began to write his architectural dissertation, he 96 Figure 4.4: Fra Giacondo's version of the Vitruvius Theatre o o o o o o o O O O O O O o o a o o o o . 0 0 9 0 0 0 o o Beyer. 1989, 24. developed and refined by correcting and imagining a theatre design that would have fundamental implications for future interpretations of the Vitruvius theatre (Wittkower, 1967, 18). In his Book III, he combined descriptions of ancient and Renaissance buildings, much like Vitruvius and Alberti had done, utilizing the past to authenticate and give credence to his own ideas. The result was a handbook-like manual which would appeal to other theatre designers. He followed the Vitruvius text and constructed his theatre around a semi-circular orchestra, complete with a six-cunei cavea and a thin proscenium in the front of the scaena. Unlike Vitruvius however, he aligned the stair segments instead of alternating them from one cuneus to the other within the seating tiers. More noteworthy, he did not show the four-triangle organizing scheme in his diagram. It seems certain that he based himself on measured drawings because he used the theatre of Pola as his example of a Roman theatre. Yet Serlio had no way of knowing if the theatre of Pola had been contemporary to Vitruvius' time. 97 According to Small (1983), we still do not have enough evidence to determine its construction date (57). Vitruvius had discussed the porticus postscaenam's spatial arrangement only in very general terms, with the space treated as a separate structural entity (Vitruvius, Book V, 10). But in using the existing theatre of Pola as his example, Serlio was able to detail the small porticus postscaenam (figure 4.5). Vitruvius' porticus postscaenam was given a distinct form. Befitting the period, Serlio provided a perspectival design for the scaena. He described in detail the laws of perspective in his Book II (3), distinguishing three types that would seem to correspond to Vitruvius': The scaena tragica,. the scaena comica and the scaena satirica. Here we are provided with a good example of the freedoms taken in interpreting the ancient text. Consider first the older writer's descriptions: There are three styles of scenery: one which is called tragi [sic]; a second, comic; the third, satyric. Now the subjects of these differ severally from one another. The trajic are designed with columns, pediments and statues and other royal surroundings; the comic have the appearance of private buildings and balconies and projections with windows made to imitate reality, after the fashion of ordinary buildings; the satyric settings are painted with trees, caves, mountains and other country features, designed to imitate landscape. (Vitruvius [B], Book V, 8). From this passage, Serlio imagined and constructed an entire stage set, complete with three corresponding versions arranged in perspectival layouts (Hartnoll, 1976, 57). Almost certainly he would have thought of Alberti's conception of the ideal-city-as-an-imaginary-theatre. His tragic scaena with straight-lined streets, cleanly defined buildings with even heights recalled Alberti's theatre; proportion, order and place ruled in Serlio's classic Vitruvius theatre. With Filarete, Cesariano and Serlio we have the sanctioning of observation and 98 Figure 4.5: Serlio's version of the Vitruvius Theatre Serlio, 1537 (1982). irnagination-based theatre "corrections". The original text had not changed; its interpretation had. Beginning with Alberti's enhanced description of the upper porticus and eventually the drawings of Cesariano and Fra Giocondo's imagined porticus postscaenam, the Vitruvius theatre was corrected and adjusted to construct the theatre of the fifteenth and sixteenth century. The theoretical treatises undertaken during the sixteenth century and later were certainly not limited to Italy.. In France, architects were concerned with measuring and describing the ruins of antiquity; to the south there was an abundance of monuments, many still intact, and this had a great deal of influence on architectural discourse and ultimately, theatre [reconstruction. The treatise of Philibert de I'Orme (1510-1570), for example, while not touching on theatres per se, is worth briefly discussing to render some impression of where French architectural theory stood in early sixteenth century France. 99 At first glance, de 1'Orme's thesis appears to have been written as a practical instruction manual. He detailed the orderly assembly of the building—from siting to construction completion—and amplified the instructions with a short section on the Orders. Yet it was more than a construction manual; it was the first French treatise that clearly understood the classical form as it related to the Renaissance (Millar, 1987, 214). As had become practice, de l'Orme used the Vitruvius text to give his own work authority. He saw the architectural profession as one which rose above that of the mason's or carpenter's, noting that the activities of the two were simply "a shadow of the real thing" (Book I, folio iv; quoted in Wilkinson, 1977, 125). He had visited the classical sites of southern France, northern Italy and Rome for the purpose of studying and measuring monuments (Blunt, 1958, 4). He wrote his thesis in a didactic tone, referencing Vitruvius and comparing the older writer's descriptions with his own measurements and observations. In addition to using the ancient writer as an authority, de l'Orme positioned his own illustrated designs parallel to Vitruvius' descriptions, in effect equating his work with that of the older writer and classical design in general. De l'Orme's method was thus quite similar to his Italian contemporaries. After positioning himself vis-a-vis the Roman writer, de l'Orme "complainfed] of the obscurity of Vitruvius" (Blunt, 1958, 123). He seems to have situated himself above the ancient writer, attempting to convince the reader that his own designs were superior. The point here is that by the late 1560's it was common and in fact acceptable to use the De architectura libri decern within architectural theory-related works to authenticate and teach, whilst imagining illustrative material to buttress individual theoretical designs. De 1'Orme's treatise was not as innovative as Alberti's. Nor was it as comprehensive as Cesariano's. Yet it seemed to have evolved from the architectural "handbook-like" text of Serlio to a more explicitly self-promoting text which positioned itself above other theoretical works. Further, whether one's work was an architectural treatise or a translation of the ancient text, both tended to be "corrected" versions of Vitruvius. 100 Perhaps with the same aim of "correcting" the ancient text, when Jan Martin published his translation of Vitruvius' treatise in 1547, he used the imagined theatres of others to illustrate his work. Within his translation, Martin utilized Fra Giocondo's drawing of the theatre, which not only included an imagined frons scaenae, but also the doubled upper porticus previously described by Alberti. Further, Martin used the drawings of Serlio, including the perspectival layout of the scaena-cavea arrangement (1547 [1964], 75) and the three scaenae Serlio had imagined from Vitruvius' brief description (1547 [1964], 70-72). The theatre sections imagined in earlier treatises were now considered as true representations of Vitruvius' Roman theatre. When Jan Gardet and Dominique Bertin began their own translation of the Vitruvius treatise in 1559, they travelled to the south of France to measure the vestiges of Aries, Nimes and other places, perhaps also in the spirit of providing a basis for correcting some of the "errors" in the Roman text. We know they travelled to Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges as they referred to the place in an annotation describing masonry construction; to them a particular type of mortar was unique to Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges (Graillot, 1919, 294). Like Martin, they referenced Alberti and other "hommefsj de grande doctrine et de bon jugement, auquel Varchitecture est beaucoup redevable" (quoted in Graillot, 1919, 292). They would have accepted Alberti's changes as corrections that reconciled the past with the observed present. It seems that here too the older text was corrected and made to correspond to what "flesj hommefsj de grande doctrine" were imagining. As Claude Perrault (1613 - 1688) began his translation of the De architectura libri decern in 1673, the only complete French translation was that of Jan Martin's. By the mid seventeenth century—France under Louis XIV—the focus was on national priorities: from science and art to the glory-of-the-throne (Picon, 1995, 4). Architects and artists, among the scholars employed by the King, were instructed to produce works that reflected the royal 101 view; Vitruvius' treatise was no exception. As Perrault undertook his translation, he did so with the belief that science had "progressed" since antiquity and he wanted to reflect this in his work (Dalmas, 1986). Perrault was not one who regarded Antiquity with longing (as had the humanists), but he did see it's monuments as an architectural heritage that was to be preserved to the glory of the King. This is clear when we consider his dedication: Void la seconde fois que I'Architecture de Vitruve a I'honneur d'etre dediee au plus grand prince de la terre. Son illustre auteur la presenta autrefois a I'empereur Auguste, et elle se trouva alors dans un tel degre d'elevation, qu'il semblait qu 'elle ne pouvait plus aspirer a rien de semblable. Son Interprete I'offre aujourd'hui a Votre Majeste, et ne doute point que la gloire que cette belle Science regoit en ce jour, n'egale celle dont elle se vit aujourd'hui comblee... (Perrault, 1673, [1995], i) Thus with his dedication, he strove to make the point that architecture was to be dedicated to the King as it had been to Augustus; a direct link to the classical past was thus established. His aim was to acknowledge the grandeur of the classical and to equip the French architect with a corpus that would enable the "new" architecture to be as grand as that of the classical period, but not necessarily imitate it. He changed the original text in at least two ways. First, he simplified or abbreviated the language. Vitruvius' eurythmia and symmetria, for example, were combined into symmetrie (Germann, 1991, 4). Second, he utilized his own projects as examples within his discussion of architecture in general and throughout the translation. We thus find the Colonnade du Louvre in Book VI and the Observatoire in Book I. In this way, he signalled to the french architect that the "present" architecture combined with classical vocabulary was to be the architecture of Louis XIV. The result, of course, was that in the same way that Alberti and his Renaissance counterparts had changed the older text, he too was correcting it to suit his own ideal. 102 Not surprisingly, Perrault's rendition of the Vitruvius Roman theatre ideal was one that improvised and imagined spaces. He positioned a set of statues, for example, along the upper cavea rim, probably in an effort to allow a venue for celebrating the King and throne. His upper cavea therefore does not seem to have provided vela post holes. While he termed it "le theatre des Romains", he made significant changes to the Vitruvius design, where, for instance, the inner cavea was now completely designed (figure 4.6). The Roman classical theatre of Vitruvius had now become the French theatre of Perrault. The King was delighted with the translation and Perrault became labelled the Vitruve Francais. (Picon, 1995). His work remained the definitive French translation until the late nineteenth century. Out of the treatises and translations of Alberti, Filarete, Cesariano and others, a "revised" and "corrected" theatre emerged which no longer reflected the theatre observed by Vitruvius but, instead, was an imaginary construction based mostly on Augustan theatre remains. The effect of this new way of seeing the theatre can be best highlighted by considering Palladio (1508-1580), his treatise, and his final work, the Teatro Olimpico. Palladio's theatre design had such a profound effect on the way architects saw and subsequendy designed the theatre that it served as a model from which the tradition of imagining the theatre was catapulted into the modern era. First trained as a stone-cutter, Palladio travelled to Rome and eventually relocated to Vicenza in the early 1530's, where he began working as architect in 1537-38 (Wittkower, 1967, 61). In 1550, he was introduced to Daniele Barbaro (1513-1570) who was, coincidentally, preparing a translation of Vitruvius to be published in 1556. The two quickly became collaborators, with Palladio responsible for the translation's illustrations as well as some commentary. By 1570, he became advisor on Vicenza's public buildings and it was 103 Figure 4.6: Perrault's version of the Vitruvius Theatre upon this nomination that he began to write his own treatise on architecture (Wundram, Pape and Marton, 1989, 6). Palladio was a humanist; theory and practice were thus equally important to him. His treatise was divided into four books dealing with Materials, Masonry and the Orders, Dwellings (including his own designs intermixed with re-designed domestic examples of antiquity), and finally, Urbanism and public buildings. The text was fragmentary and did not discuss the theatre. This is surprising, considering that he had undertaken detailed studies of the building type for one of the guides to Rome that he had written; the antichita di Roma (Wittkower, 1967, 62). Further, he had produced studies and measured drawings of the theatres at Verona, Pola, Venice and Rome, among others. For his initial thoughts on the theatre, we must turn to Barbaro's thesis which contains Palladio's illustration (figure 4.7). Referring to the plan, we can see that the original four-triangled organizing scheme 104 Figure 4.7: Palladio's version of the Vitruvius Theatre Barbara, 1556, Book V , 215. was maintained, although expanded to fit the larger cavea instead of the orchestra, complete with alternating sets of stairs within the seat sections. There are clear similarities to Serlio's theatre in terms of the way the organizing triangles were arranged as well as the way the stair segments were positioned. Not surprisingly, the frons scaenae was improvised with compartmentalized spaces probably based on his measured drawings. Interestingly, the entrances to each side of the royal door do not line up with the extended transects of the organizing triangles (refer to figure 1.2). It seems as if the plan of a real theatre was superimposed onto Vitruvius' frons scaenae. In Palladio's drawing of the theatre Berga in Vicenza (figure 4.8), the frons scaenae plan is very similar to the theatre drawing of the Barbaro translation. We know that Palladio had "corrected" the temple type in the same translation; Campbell (1980, 22) has shown this succincdy. So why would he not attempt to "correct" the theatre? For the scaena, Palladio 105 Figure 4.8: Palladio's drawing of the Theatre at Berga Barbara, in Beyer, 1989. 26. supplied Barbaro with a perspectival scaena resembling the theatre at Berga. Little of this illustrative material was really borne out of the original text that it served. It almost certainly was based on Palladio's own sketches of the theatre at Berga. In fact, Barbaro's note that Palladio had "explained and interpreted...[the theatre]...with skill of mind and hand" (Barbaro, Book I, chapter 6) hints at an active design imagination at work; an imagination befitting the Renaissance notion of genius. Barbaro's intent in translating Vitruvius was in part to show that he perceived the architectural discipline as one which did not necessarily stand on its own, but worked in concert with the mind according to a unique set of laws. This again was part of the humanist view of the world, reflecting a following of Aristotle's doctrine based on "experience" and "imitation" (Wittkower, 1967, 68). It stands to reason, then, that as Palladio collaborated with Barbaro, he reflected a certain "experience", all-the-while imitating, what he saw as the 106 buildings of antiquity. A "scientific" architectural design emerged out of Palladio's drawings for Barbaro and for his own treatise. It was with the experience derived from his study of antiquities, his collaboration with Barbaro, and the writing of his own treatise in 1570, that Palladio undertook the design of the Teatro Olimpico. Built in 1585, although designed earlier, the theatre was to be the first "great" theatre built since antiquity. The designs we have thus far discussed have been theoretical; this was the first built within the conceptualized frameworks of Vitruvius, Alberti, and most importantly, humanist values. Sponsored by the Olympic Academy of Vicenza, the design used classical elements in its scheme and summed up the theatre patrons' ideals. By sponsoring the construction of the theatre, humanist society was attempting to represent itself and what it perceived as the values of the era; that is to say, the refinement of the uomo universale. The Olympic Academy had been founded in 1555 with Palladio as one of its main proponents. Palladio participated in the discourse which linked "Vitruvius, the rebirth of the classical theatre, and the beginning of perspective painting" (Magagnato, 1951, 210). And because the Academy maintained the ideals of traditional academics, Palladio was obliged to design a theatre that recalled the classical type (Beyer, 1989, 9) (figure 4.9). The theatre design was ultimately based on the Roman model; that is to say, the imagined Roman theatre. It is tempting to view the Teatro Olimpico as somewhat of a departure from Vitruvius' ideal and the general classical theatre scheme discussed thus far. It was certainly different from the Vitruvius theatre; it was covered with a wooden roof, for example. Yet there were traits that clearly recalled Vitruvius' Book V. This is exemplified in the semi-circular arrangement of the orchestra accommodated within the design and the intricately decorated stage wall based on the Orders complementing the classical arrangement. The cavea and scaena were linked closely and the plan arrangement completely enclosed the spaces. To the classical semi-circular orchestra, Palladio added perspectival vistas depicting urban 107 Figure 4.9: Palladio's Teatro Olimpico Windram, Pope and Marton, 1989, 227. streetscapes as seen through the large central door. Through this device, scenery could be changed by alternating painted panels framed by the main door (Bieber, 1961, 256). The theatre obviously recalled the classical ideal, but it also took into account some new features. The Academy wanted to resuscitate the classical ideal. Humanist society was to be depicted within a revised architecture while at the same time recalling the past. Thus the classical ideal was modified to suit the Academy's view of itself. The classical theatre of Vitruvius which had been "corrected" based on imagining spaces was now reinterpreted to suit a new ideal. This new ideal would serve as the basis for theatre design through to the twentieth century. 4.5 Conclusion; Filling-in the Gaps By the begirining of the twentieth century, one would have thought that the practice 108 of "imagining" Vitruvius' theatre would have been discontinued. Choisy's (1909) translation of the ancient text, for example, did not include an imagined plan in the same sense as the above translations and treatises. Nor did it contain a "classical example" of the theatre. Choisy chose instead to draw his version of the theatre as a schematic and provided a correspondingly generalized set of details, including an axonometric drawing to explain Vitruvius' cavea, constructing a true generic model, perhaps in the same sense as Vitruvius may have meant his own description to be (figure 4.10). The shift towards a normative and generalized model, however, was not to last. The use of "imagined" theatres such as Cesariano's illustration (figure 4.3) and Serlio's post-Vitruvius example (figure 4.5) to produce "corrected" renderings of Vitruvius' theatre was re-adopted after Choisy. In his translation of Vitruvius, Morris Hicky Morgan (1960) used both approaches. He provided a drawing of a "generic" Roman theatre (figure 4.11) as well as an example: the theatre at Aspendus (figure 4.12). The resemblance between the two is uncanny. Morgan's schematic comprises a cavea whose upper level is crowned with a single colonnaded porticus. The cavea is made up of two levels with a single circulating corridor separating the two. The pulpitum area is accessed on each of its sides by spaces cut out of the seating arrangement. The stairs alternate from one maniana to the other. With the exception of the scaena/'cavea width differences (the cut-out sections in the seating), the theatre of Aspendus is almost identical in form to the schematic produced by Morgan. It would appear that Morgan based his "generic" on the theatre of Aspendus; a theatre built after Vitruvius' time. Situated in the province of Pamphylia in southern Asia Minor, the theatre was built during the reign of Marcus Aurelius (161-80 AD). Wheeler (1968) called it "the best preserved Roman theatre of Asia Minor (117). And Bieber (1961) noted that this theatre was the "final culmination of the practical as well as representative ideas of Roman theatre architecture" (208). Indeed, it probably was. But as we have noted, this is not a theatre built 109 Figure 4.10: Choisy's Version of the Vitruvius Cavea Choisy, 1919. plate 18. during Vitruvius' time. It was erected some two hundred years after he had made his observations. While it is possible that the architect was working with Vitruvius' tenets in mind, it deviated from a great number of examples built during the same era. We simply do not know which, if any, post-Vitruvius theatre was built with his tents in hand. Vitruvius was not talking about the apex of Imperial Rome's provincial architecture of the second century; he was writing about his studies of a few Roman structures and many Greek ones. He left his instructions vague, however, and mentioned that there would be variances. On theatre proportion, for example, he wrote: "[i]t is possible... that in all theatres these rules... should answer all conditions and purposes, but the architect ought to consider...to what extent it may be modified to suit the nature of the site..." ([A], Book V, 6.7). When he reflected on "the nature of the site", he was considering site-specific limitations. He would have recognized that different places dictated different designs because 110 Figure 4.11: Morgan's Version of the Vitruvius Theatre Morgan, 1960, 147. Figure 4.12: The Theatre at Aspendus, as used by Morgan Morgan, 1960, 149. I l l of topography, geography and perhaps even society; he did mention different cultural groups throughout his treatise. Thus he incorporated a certain amount of flexibility in his instructions. It is the flexibility that Vitruvius built into his theatre discussion that has enabled subsequent interpreters to imagine their own versions of the classical theatre. It is easily argued that no imagination is based solely on the ideas of the text: Imaginations are enhanced by personal experience including visits to ruins, other textual references and so on. Because of the looseness of the Vitruvius tenets, theatres whose original form and characteristics are no longer extant have tended to "fit" the tenets; we thus have been able to [reconstruct classical theatres relatively easily. Similarly, it is with little effort that writers pluck examples from the classical world and refer to these as "the Roman theatre according to Vitruvius". As we have seen, when Palladio drew his version of the Vitruvius theatre for Barbaro's translation, he borrowed heavily on his own observations of the theatre at Berga (figures 4.7 and 4.8). Similarly, Morgan's version of the theatre for his own translation seems to borrow from the theatre at Aspendus (figures 4.11 and 4.12). Although Morgan's text is without the "corrections" that Alberti and others would have undertaken, the use of a generalized set of illustrations based on a real theatre to imagine a corresponding theatre reflects a similar "correcting" process. In this way, architects and archaeologists continue to fill-in-the-gaps, so-to-speak, when confronted by a lack of evidence relating to the form of classical theatres. Finally, we go back to this Chapter's initial question: Why is there such a persistence in using Vitruvius' text as definitive evidence in theatre [reconstruction? As we have seen, the answer to this question seems to lie within the juxtaposition of traditionally accepted "tendencies" that have evolved since Vitruvius' era: First, the tendency to borrow Vitruvius 112 as a means of rendering authority to one's work; second, the tendency to use the treatise within didactic frameworks; third, the tendency to position the text vis-d-vis the study of archaeological monuments and vice versa; and fourth, the tendency to use "imagined" illustration within translations of the text and similar treatises. Through the "cumulation" of these tendencies a canonization of Vitruvius' treatise has taken place, whereby [reconstruction by means of the text has become accepted and condoned within the architectural and archaeological professions. And this is generally true of the study of classical theatres; it appears especially true of the [reconstruction of the theatre at Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges. 113 Chapter 5 - Conclusions The theatre of Gaul was conceived within a cultural matrix that differed from not only Rome, but from that observed by Vitruvius in Greece, Italy and other territories. Gaul maintained pre-Roman mores as the Gallics and Romans formed a new Gallo-Roman culture. Craft, technique and meaning in building were transformed as the two cultures met. Further, place-specific peculiarities in topography, available materials and local knowhow resulted in a set of regional architectural types that were unique. The general form of the Roman theatre was maintained as the Gauls emulated the Mediterranean way of life, but the precise design of the theatre type was re-defined and determined regionally. The review of extant theatres confirms this; with the exception of Aries, Lyon and Orange, Gaul's theatres deviate substantially from Vitruvius' Roman theatre ideal. The theatre at Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges is typical in that is does not appear to have been entirely designed with Vitruvius' tenets in mind. In fact, King (1990) reminds us that it may have been designed by non-Roman builders to meet the needs of a predominandy non-Roman audience for which we have little knowledge (68). The central cuneus, for example, is atypical of the tenets contained in the De architectura libri decern; it does not even appear to correspond to the vast majority of the theatres of the classical world. Among other spaces, there remain difficulties in understanding the scaena, orchestra and versurae. At best, these spaces must be omitted from a [re]construction if the rendering is to be fair to the reader. Quite simply, the sparse evidence that has come to light during the 1920's and 1990's archaeological excavations suggests that a useful [reconstruction cannot yet be undertaken. With Bertrand Sapene's archaeological explorations, we saw that he concentrated on uncovering and following walls. He used known theatre examples as guides, seeking similarities in design. It is not clear if he looked to the ancient treatise for inspiration, but 114 he probably possessed copies of the Perrault and Choisy translations. The result of his search was in all likelihood a search for what should have been there, rather than a search for what was there. He constructed spaces by combining details from various areas, thereby providing a false impression of the larger space. The 1990's archaeological excavations served in the first instance to check Sapene's suppositions. Some were confirmed while many have been debunked. Through the series of sondages undertaken during this period, it was possible to determine that the theatre, although conforming to a very general form of the Roman ideal (its basic geometric shape, for example), possesses a host of original features that suggest deviations from Vitruvius' ideal. The possibility of two centres is a case in point. While the Bell (1993) [reconstruction of the Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges theatre is highlighted as hypothetical and can indeed serve as stimulus for discussion, there are serious difficulties in accepting it. Many areas, as we have seen, are imaginary constructions with no archaeological or physical evidence. Other spaces such as the upper retaining wall, may have been adjusted to fit the Vitruvius ideal. And further features have been added, such as the upper podium and the circulation ramps, rendering a theatre that may very well be beyond the intent of its builders in terms of plan, siting, meaning and uses. Some of the circulation features (access ramps, turns) reflect the ideals of Palestrina, for example, where the upper sanctuary was place and deity-specific. Architectural [reconstruction must be situated within the context of archaeological exploration and geo-cultural reality. Therefore, from the historical and cultural evidence, including an overview of Gaul's extant theatre remains, and from the analysis of the [reconstruction of the theatre at Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges, Vitruvius cannot be relied upon with any certainty to [re]construct Gaul's theatres. On the subject of using Vitruvius as a reference for archaeological [reconstruction, it is worth quoting Geertman (1987) who writes: 115 Until recently, direct research into the significance of Vitruvius' work was not receiving the wide attention it deserved. This led to a plural methodical shortcoming in the manner in which archaeologists, and others too, used to and sometimes still avail themselves of De architectu.ro.. Statements and prescriptions given by Vitruvius are taken literally, on their face value, often out of context, and then compared with existing architecture. If conformity is established, this is considered evidence of Vitruvius' direct influence, which influence is sometimes seen to extend over long intervals of time and on the odd occasion even backwards in time. Lack of conformity, on the other hand, characterizes Vitruvius as a theorist who was out of touch with architectural reality, or at least with the architectural reality of his own time. Geertman, 1987, 9. We have seen in Chapter 3 that the practice is one which continues. But as with Gros and Small, Geertman does not explain why such practices continue. It was this which was explored in Chapter 4. The practice of [reconstructing theatres seems to stem from a tradition of imagining theatres using Vitruvius' text to buttress the [reconstructions. The practice derived out of a set of tendencies that have evolved, so-to-speak, since Vitruvius' era. As highlighted in Chapter 4, the problem is one which lies within the epistemology of the De architectura libri decern. There has been a tendency to borrow Vitruvius' text as a means of legitimizing one's work, to use the text in training architecture students within a particular idiom, to position the text vis-a-vis the study of archaeological monuments, and finally, to "imagine" illustrations within translations and similar treatises to "correct" not only what Vitruvius described, but whatever monument being [reconstructed at a particular moment in time. This has in turn led to a general acceptance of interpreting Vitruvius in both idealistic and imaginative terms. Vitruvius' treatise was an account of the remains of a particular set of places and spaces. This account was not necessarily a theory of architecture. It was a generalized description of techniques and building models as perceived by one man living during a particular time. He noted on more than one occasion that site location in terms of topography 116 and availability of materials would affect overall building design. The old text referred to many peoples from many different places with varying perspectives and origins. He relied on the teachings of the Greeks for his architectural "theory" while he relied on the Roman experience for his practical technique-related discussions. His Roman and Greek theatres were very broad conceptualizations. It does not seem reasonable to imagine a building and then fit it within this broad set of tenets and infer validity in hypothetical [reconstructions. Illustrations continue to be used to complement translations of the De architecture! libri decern, related treatises, and theoretical [re]constructions. Yet the illustrations, which should be considered as text, are highly imaginative. Simply put, it is no longer appropriate to [re]construct theatres (or other archaeological monuments), using the Vitruvius text as conclusive evidence. Vitruvius' treatise sought to transmit it's contents to future generations; Vitruvius was, after all, trying to promote a certain architecture for his contemporaries and the architects of the future. As it reached other generations, the text gained new meanings and interpretations. This must to be taken into account when translations are undertaken or referenced by today's students of the classical. We know that when a single word is translated, for example, the semantic field is completely altered. This has to be considered when using the text even as a minor reference for [reconstructions. Finally, we return to this thesis' opening quote of Georg Germann, who reminds us that the word "[reconstruct" presupposes a difficult relationship between contemporary and past society; there is an interpretive feel to it. 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