The Bank of Greece has released its latest gold Proof collector coins which continue their current series entitled “Cultural Heritage.” Featured for 2022 is the ancient theatre of Epidaurus, located on the Argolid Peninsula at the Saronic Gulf. It is one of the best preserved of antiquity and is on the grounds of a sanctuary to the healing god Asclepius. Attributed to the architect Polykleitos the Younger, it was constructed in the late fourth century BC, with subsequent additions. The cavea of the theatre, which was built into the natural hillside, comprises an upper and lower tier, separated by a walkway. The design of the auditorium is unique and based on three marking centres. Due to this special design, the architects achieved both optimal acoustics and an optimum angle for better viewing. Because of the outstanding construction and placement, the Theatre of Epidaurus is considered to be the most perfect ancient Greek theatre with regard to acoustics and aesthetics. The semi-circular orchestra ravine was just under 20 metres in diameter, and was also where the accompanying chorus performed while the actors moved about the proscenium and in front of a two-storey stage building, or skene, of which only the foundations survive today. Opposite the auditorium and behind the orchestra, the skene was constructed in two phases, with the first at the end of the fourth century BC and the second in the middle of the second century BC. To the east and west of the two backstages were two small rectangular rooms for the needs of the performers. The roof of the skene was accessed by the performers by two ramps leading to the roof, as this part of the stage was used for performances. Finally, the theatre itself had two gates, which are now restored.
The site was not excavated until 1881 when Panagiotis Kavvadias undertook the task and determined the theatre would require only limited restoration. The first modern-day revival of Greek drama at Epidaurus was directed by Dimitris Rontiris in 1938. Since 1954, the theatre has become the venue of the Epidaurus Festival, hosting mainly ancient tragedy and comedy productions. Today, thousands of spectators have an opportunity every summer to admire both the theatre’s renowned acoustics and enjoy the unique experience of ancient drama in its natural setting. With the work of the Preservation Committee for Epidaurus Monuments from 1988 to 2016, the theatre has been painstakingly restored almost entirely to its original form, however, the stage building has remained unrestored. The Theatre of Epidaurus was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988, along with the Temple of Asclepius.
The coins are produced by the Mint of Greece at their facilities in Athens on behalf of the Bank of Greece and designed by artisan Maria Antoniou. The obverse side depicts a stylised mask with exaggerated facial features routinely worn by actors while performing either comedies or tragedies. Below and to the left is the coins’ denomination of 50 EYPΩ and to the right is the year of issue, 2022. The reverse side depicts both a linear portion of the floor plan of the Epidaurus Theatre along with the skene, the backdrop building which once stood behind the theatre. Below the skene is the inscription ΘΕΑΤΡΟ ΕΠΙΔΑΥΡΟΥ (“Theatre of Epidaurus”), and in the centre of the design is the Hellenic crest. The additional text ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΉ ΔΗΜΟΚΡΑΤΊΑ (“Hellenic Republic”) is shown under the primary design with the distinctive palmette mintmark of the Mint of Greece just above.
|50 euro||.9999 Gold||1 g||14 mm||Proof||1,500|
The coin is encapsulated and presented in a custom case accompanied by a numbered certificate of authenticity. For additional information about this coin and the entire Bank of Greece 2022 numismatic programme, please click here.