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The Architecture and Function of the Stadium of Kibyra
F. Eray DÖKÜ – M. Can KAYA
The stadium of Kibyra is the first monument visitors encounter after passing the propylon at the end of the necropolis road on the eastern skirt of the city. Excavations initiated here in 2006 have yielded important data regarding Roman-period stadium architecture in Anatolia, about which little has been known. The stadium of Kibyra has a U-shape with a single sphendone. This is more common in Pamphylia rather than the nearby stadia of Aphrodisias and Laodikeia with double sphendones. It is located on the hillside where the main public structures of the second-third centuries A.D. are found. The seats on the western side rest on the hillside and rise up to 21 rows, while those on the east comprise eight rows resting on a vaulted substructure built due to a steeply falling terrain. However, due to the strict understanding of symmetry in Roman architecture, the 21 rows of seats in the sphendone were extended to the east side that rose on two rows of vaults, then suddenly fell down to eight rows. This architectural solution that enhanced the strict symmetry of Roman architecture is not only unique in design but structurally was able to counteract the natural topography by utilizing the conglomerate bedrock. Nevertheless, the structure was toppled several times by earthquakes.

The plan and peculiar architectural solutions of this stadium distinguished it from other stadia in Anatolia. The presence of a fault line either passing through the centre of the sphendone or nearby and having caused the destruction of the eastern rows of seats is also noteworthy. Although this is an unfortunate situation for the city, it has been very helpful for us to understand through archaeo-seismological studies how a city struggled against earthquakes and how this struggle is reflected in architecture. The stadium is dated to the end of the second-early third century A.D. based on archaeological and epigraphic evidence. However, archaeo-seismological evidence has shown that it collapsed in the fifth century, probably because of the earthquake of A.D. 417. Thus it is important that we were able to view the history of a monument in a city thereafter using archaeological and archaeo-seismological methods.

Yrd. Doç. Dr. F. Eray Dökü,
Mehmet Akif Ersoy Üniversitesi, Fen-Edebiyat Fakültesi,
Arkeoloji Bölümü 15100 Burdur
E-mail: eraydoku@mehmetakif.edu.tr

Mesut Can Kaya,
Mehmet Akif Ersoy Üniversitesi, Fen-Edebiyat Fakültesi,
Arkeoloji Bölümü 15100 Burdur
E-mail: mckaya@mehmetakif.edu.tr

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