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by Archaeology Newsroom

The Byzantine theatre

Research and study of the Byzantine theatre is problematic, as the available information and data on this topic are scarce. The Church regarded the theatre as a residual of the pagan world and strongly and considerably fought against it. This hostile attitude and approach had a negative impact on the evolution of the theatre. Secular theatre was active during the first centuries of the Byzantine Empire. It was a type of mime and succeeded the roman theatre of mimes. The plays acted consisted of short dialogues on topics from mythology, everyday life and Christian religion and were accompanied by music, dance and singing. From the 7th century on the course of mime becomes blurred. Poor and uncertain is, however, our knowledge of religious theatre. Certain ecclesiastic “dramatic” texts do exist but we do not know whether they were ever performed or not. Furthermore, certain parts of Christian Liturgy were acted out in church but we ignore if they were ever developed as to form proper theatrical performances staged independently from the church.