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The different levels of the cavea in the Roman Theatre at Bosra. Ima cavea in blue, media cavea in red and summa cavea in yellow.

In Roman times the cavea were the subterranean cells in which wild animals were confined before the combats in the Roman arena or amphitheatre.[1]

The cavea also refers to the seating sections of Roman theatres. The cavea is traditionally organised in three horizontal sections, corresponding to the social class of the spectators:[2]

  • The ima cavea is the lowest part of the cavea and the one directly surrounding the orchestra. It was usually preserved for the upper echelons of society.
  • The media cavea directly follows the ima cavea and was open to the general public, though mostly reserved for men.
  • The summa cavea is the highest section and was usually open to women and children.

The cavea was further divided vertically into cunei. A cuneus (Latin for "wedge"; plural, cunei) was a wedge-shaped division separated by the scalae or stairways.

See also[edit]


  1. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Cavea". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  2. ^ Roman Architecture