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ARGOS

It is a city in Greece in the Peloponnese near Nafplion, which was its historic harbour, named for Nauplius. The city of Argos is the seat of the province of the same name, one of the three subdivisions of the Argolis prefecture. According to the 2001 Greek census, the city has a population of 27,550. It is the largest city in the prefecture, one of the few prefectures in Greece where the largest city in population is larger than the prefectural capital. Considerable remains of the city survive and are a popular tourist attraction. Agriculture, however, is the primary economic activity in the area, with citrus fruits the predominant crop. Olives are also popular here. The Argos Archaeological Museum houses ancient artifacts recovered not only from the principal archaeological sites of the city, including the theater and agora but also from Lerna.

THE THEATRE

With a capacity of 20,000 seats approximately, it counts among the largest ancient theatres in Greece. Nestling in the southeastern side of the castle hill, so as to be linked to the agora, it overlooked the ancient city and was visible from the Argolic gulf. Preexisting small sanctuaries interspersed on the same spot, including those of the Dioskouroi and Zeus Eubouleus, remained untouched during construction of the monument. Built during the Hellenistic period, in the early third century BC, it replaced the oldest theatre of the town, which lied about 100m to the south and was built in the fifth century BC, probably in order to host music and drama contests during the Panhellenic Nemean games, which were then transferred definitively to the town of Argos from the sanctuary of Zeus in Nemea; almost simultaneously, the Heraian games were also transferred to Argos. According to evidence, the oldest Nemean competition taking place in the theatre of Argos in 205 BC involved guitar players and singers. The monument also hosted political conferences, such as the regular Sessions of the Achaian Sympoliteia (League) during the second century BC.

 

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