The riot inspired by Demetrius spilled over into the entire city. The people gathered at the amphitheater to join in the demonstration.
The Roman theater at Ephesus has been unearthed by archaeologists. Built similar to a modern stadium, it had row upon row of tiered seats built of stone. It could seat about twenty-five thousand people.
Huge amphitheaters like this were built by the Greeks and Roman throughout the ancient world. Others have been discovered at Athens, Corinth, Miletus, Pergamos, and Philippi.
ACTS 19:29 –29 And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.
Most other Bible prophets lived before God punished the Jews by exiling them to Assyria and Babylon, in what is now Iraq. So those earlier prophets warned the Jews where they were headed if they didn’t stop sinning. But even those prophets offered hope, promising that God would bring the Jews home one day.
Public drama was apparently unknown in OT Israel except for possible worship activities and only arrived with the Greeks after 400 B.C. As a symbol of Greco-Roman culture, the presence of theaters in Palestine was a constant reminder of Greek and Roman control of the Jewish state.