Roman theaters

Three stone theaters in Rome
(photo courtesy of VRoma)

Rome did not have a permanent theater until Pompey built his magnum theatrum in 55 BCE, years after cities in Southern Italy such as Capua and Pompeii had theirs. Augusus emulated Pompey's politically astute building program by sponsoring the marble theaters of Marcellus and Balbus in the Campus Martius. (When you click on the above links, you are anonymously browsing VRoma's virtual city of Rome; for a fully interactive visit, go to and connect as a guest.)

Umbricius turns from the ostentation and formality of attendance at the theater in Rome to the simplicity and informality of rural entertainment, so distant from Greek models and closer to native forms of performance.