Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum OR Termez, Afghanistan) - 328 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Acoustics in ancient Greek theaters

This information is by now more than ten years old (see: Phys.org April 4, 2007) but the subject of acoustics remains one of the main elements contributing to the success of any antique theater.

I always find ancient theaters very exciting whenever I walk through their remains or sit on one of their tiers – they have so much to tell!

According to the abovementioned study, the first “perfect” acoustics were reached most probably by accident in Epidaurus in the 4th century BC. Over the following centuries, the architects tried to reproduce this unique effect but never managed to do so. As it turns out, it is not so much the result of the slope of the theater or its orientation but the seats themselves that determine the right acoustics.

The theater of Epidaurus has an absolutely unprecedented and never equalled effect of blocking the low-frequency background noise of the public but does instead comfortably reflect the high-frequency voices of the performers against the seats back to the audience. In this way, the actor’s voices are clearly registered all the way to the last tiers of seats in the theater.

Acoustic experts experimented with ultrasonic waves and numerical simulations leading them to conclude that the great acoustics of Epidaurus are due to the limestone used for its seats. Since other theaters used other stones and even wood, this effect was never reproduced.

As all great discoveries happen by accident, this was certainly the case for the acoustical effects in the theater of Epidaurus. Isn’t it amazing that in times when amplifiers and loudspeakers did not exist, people were able to obtain the same result simply by using the right stone for the seats in their theater?

P.S. According to more "technical" studies, it seems that the above conclusions are not as black and white as they appear at first sight. Here are the conclusions drawn by researchers from the Eindhoven University of Technology (Netherlands):

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