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Mainz, known as Mogontiacum, Rome’s most important city in Germania, was no exception. In fact, the stage and auditorium of the Mainz theater was the largest anywhere north of the Alps. More than 10,000 audience members could be accommodated. The theater proportions were gigantic: The stage measured 42 meters – 136.5-feet – wide. The audience area was 116 meters—377-feet –in width : one-and-a-half football fields!
(That’s two-and-a-half times larger than the Metropolitan Opera House, and ten times larger than the Mainz Staatstheater, the city’s principal theater.)
The theater site was only first discovered at the beginning of the 20th Century below the Citadel location at the Mainz-South Rail Station. The theater’s dimensions, based on the size of the beams supporting the structure, allowed engineers to approximate the astonishing proportions of the structure: they dwarfed the imagination!
Obviously, this site was intended for pageantry rather than light comedy, musicals and frivolous spectacles. Some 340- meters or 1,100-feet distant on top of what later became the Citadel was the commemorative gravesite of
the Roman field marshal Drusus, the Empire’s prime general in the years of imperial expansion in Germany.
In the years following his non-violent, premature death, the representatives of all 60 of Gaul’s political entities met here in Mogontiacum which was the capital of the province of Upper Germania. Mainz became a political pilgrimage site for both Germania and Gallia where every year the attendees celebrated their common Roman roots and values. Part of the celebrations consisted of an elaborate, massive, civil memorial service commemorating Drusus who had founded Mainz. The show went on for hours, if not days, as
Indeed befitted the dignity of a “divinity,” or demi-god, Drusus having been a nephew of Caesar.
The Roman Theater is located just above the Mainz-South Station adjacent the the “Roemisches Theater”-Station.