It is said that the aqueducts in Neàpolis could also be used to fill the Greek theatre or Roman amphitheatre with water. For a very special performance called naumachia, the orchestra was transformed into a real basin of water.
The naumachia was the staging of history’s most important naval battles, such as the Greeks’ victory over the Persians at Salamina, or the siege of the Athenians in the city of Syracuse. The ships taking part in the show were real and could be seriously damaged or even sunk.
The people who performed were slaves, criminals or actors.
The audience followed every step of the battle with great participation and enthusiasm.
The naumachiae would have been impressive and engaging! The spectators, enthused by the actions of the soldiers or the war machines, “cheered” for one of the opponents, just like they do today in football stadiums.