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ca 100 __ AUDITORIUM
Comment : The theatre of the Greeks was built on the slope of a hill, thus securing sufficient elevation for the back row of seats without the enormous substructures which the Romans used. If the surface was rocky, semicircles were hewn out, tier above tier, and if it was soft an excavation was made in the hillside and lined with rows of stone benches, the steps being often faced with marble, as in the theatre of Dionysus at Athens. The circular pit thus formed was enclosed by a lofty portico and balustraded terrace, and was assigned to the spectators. The auditorium was divided by broad concentric belts, named diazomata, which served as lobbies, with eleven rows of seats between each, and these were further divided into wedges by transverse flights of stairs between the lobbies, converging on the centre of the orchestra. The latter resembled the passages in a trireme with its banks of oars, and hence were called selides or gangways, the subdivisions, eleven to each section, suggesting as many benches of rowers. Thus Aristophanes bids the audience raise for a certain actor "a splash of applause in good measure, and waft him a nobel Lenæan cheer with eleven oars." The auditorium was divided, as with us, into several parts, but the assignment of seats was determined not by a money payment, but by rank and other considerations. Thus the rows nearest the orchestra were set apart for the members of the council, while others were reserved for young men, who sat together, or for those who, for whatever reason, were entitled to them. Most of the space was given to the general public, who with these exceptions could make their own choice of seats. The orchestra was ten or twelve feet below the front row of seats which formed its boundary, a portion of its space being occupied by a raised platform, which presently superseded the altar of Dionysus in the centre, though still known as the thymele. In front of it, and on a level with the lowest tier of seats, was the stage, to which flights of steps led from the orchestra, with others leading to chambers below, and known as Charon's stairways; for they were used for the entrance of spectres from the nether world and for the ghostly apparitions of the dead. The skené, or house, consisted usually of two stories, to which a third was sometimes added. They were divided by a continuous balcony, adorned with columns corresponding to the dimensions of the orchestra and stage, and contained five doors, through which the actors made their entrances. (Alfred Bates)AUDITORIUM, as the name implies, is any place for hearing. It was the practice among the Romans for poets and others to read their composi tions to their friends, who were sometimes called the auditorium (Plin. Ep. iv. 7) ; but the word was also used to express any place in which any thing was heard, and under the empire it was applied to a court of justice. Under the republic the place for all judicial proceedings was the comi- tium and the forum. (Ni pagunt in comitio aut in foro ante meridiem causam coniicito quum per- orant ambo praesentes. Dirksen, Uebersicht, &c. p. 7*25.) But for the sake of shelter and conve nience, it became the practice to hold courts in the Basilicae, which contained halls, which were also called auditoria. In the dialogue de Oratoribus (c. 39), the writer observes that oratory had lost much by cases being generally heard in "auditoria et tabularia." It is first under M. Aurelius that the auditorium principis is mentioned, by which we must understand a hall or room in the imperial residence ; and in such a hall Septimius Severus and the later emperors held their regular sittings when they presided as judges. (Dig. 36. tit. 1. s. 22, 49. tit. 9. s. 1; Dion Cass. Ixxvi. 11; Dig. 4. tit. 4. s. 18.) The provincial governors also under the empire sometimes sat on their tribunal as in the republic, and sometimes in the praetorium or in an auditorium. Accordingly, the latest jurists use the word generally for any place in which justice was administered. (Dig. 1. tit. 22. s. 5.) In the time of Diocletian, the auditorium had got the name of secretarium ; and in a constitution of Constantine (Cod. Th. i. tit. 16. s. 6), the two words seem to be used as equivalent, when he enacts that both criminal and civil cases should be heard openly (before the tribunal), and not in auditoria or eecretaria. Valentinianus and Valens allowed causes to be heard either before the tribunal or in the secretarium, but yet with open doors. From the fifth century, the secretarium or secretum was the regular place for hearing causes, and the people were excluded by lattice-work (cancellae) and curtains (vela) ; but this may have been as much for convenience as for any other purpose, though it appears that at this late period of the empire there were only present the magistrate and his officers, and the parties to the cause. Only those whom the magistrate invited, or who had business, or persons of certain rank (honorati) had admission to the courts, under the despotic system of the late empire. (Cod. 1. tit. 48. s. 3 ; Hollweg, Handbuch des Oivilprozesses, p. 215.) [G. L.] (“Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities”, edited William Smith, 1870)
French comment : AUDITORIUM. Tout endroit où l'on se réunit pour entendre, salle d'audience, de cours, de récitation [RECITATIO]. Ce nom s'applique même quelquefois aux personnes réunies pour écouter (Plin. "Ep." IV, 7). L'enceinte où se rendait la justice sous l'empire s'appelait "auditorium" ou "secretarium", "consistorium", secretum". "Auditorium" est aussi, dans la langue juridique, un conseil tenu par le prince ou par les magistrats, tels que le préfet du prétoire, pour rendre la justice aux particuliers. Nous renvoyons à un article spécial ce qui concerne l'AUDITORIUM PRINCIPIS OU SACRUM. L'auditoire du PRAEFECTUS PRAETORIO, qui avait pour assesseurs un certain nombre de jurisconsultes d'élite, est mentionné dans le Digeste, notamment par Paul, qui rappelle une question débattue dans l'auditoire dont il faisait partie, devant le préfet Papinien. Le PRAEFECTUS URBI avait également un auditorium, aussi bien que le VICARIUS, qui était à la tête d'un diocèse, et le "praeses" ou "rector" de la province [PROVINCIA]. On trouve même mentionné, dans le "Liber Novellarum" de Julien, l'auditorium du QUAESTOR "exercitus". D'après certaines constitutions, la salle devait être ouverte au public; mais d'autres textes prouvent qu'en fait, c'était l'exception, et qu'on n'y admettait, outre l'OFFICIUM du juge, que les parties et les HONORATI. (G. Humbert in “Le Dictionnaire des Antiquités Grecques et Romaines de Daremberg et Saglio”, Hachette, 1877-1919, p. 549)
Source : Bates, Alfred (1906), “The Drama: Its History, Literature and Influence on Civilization”, vol. 1. ed. Alfred Bates. London: Historical Publishing Company, 1906. pp. 45-47.
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