A temple of Nemesis was found under the ancient theatre of Mytilini, on the northeast island of Lesvos, according to a report on the local web page Sto Nisi.
The remains of the temple were found in the south entry passage (parodos), under a series of large limestones. Latest dates show that the theatre had two construction phases, in the Hellenistic era (3rd century BC) and the Roman one (1st century AD). The temple itself dates to the 1st century AD and was identified by a stone altar for offerings and a series of dedicatory inscriptions by priests and prominent personalities.
According to leading excavator and head of the Lesvos Ephorate Pavlos Triantafyllidis, the temple’s location in southern parodos was not arbitrary, as an arena for gladiator duels was built in the orchestra during Roman times. “As their contests had to conclude with the serving of justice and the awarding of victory to the best gladiator, the existence of a temple to Nemesis was obligatory,” Triantafyllidis said.
Nemesis was an ancient Greek goddess of divine retribution and revenge, especially for hubris committed against the gods.
The excavations in the area continue with the contribution of the University of Bari’s school of civil engineering, in Italy. The dual phases of the theatre’s construction were established by its professors Georgio Rocco and Monic Livadiotti.
Diazoma, the organization promoting ancient Greek theatres, quotes Plutarch who said the theatre was so important in antiquity that Pompey copied its plans to build a theatre like it in Rome in 55 BC which became a model for subsequent buildings. In modern times, very little is preserved of the earlier phases, as the remains have suffered from soil erosion and from removal for use in the Mytilini castle during the middle Ages.
The organization said that entire theatre’s diameter, close to 107 meters at its base, could hold an audience of nearly 10,000 people.