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June 12, 1987| Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

The ancient city of Babylon developed the first theaters in the world rather than borrowing the idea from the classical Greeks, as was commonly supposed, a prominent archeologist said in Baghdad Thursday. "The Greek theater itself was a developed version of a Babylonian theater," Fawzi Rasheed, an authority on ancient Mesopotamian antiquities and sciences, told al-Iraq newspaper. Rasheed noted that most historians and theatrical experts thought that the world's first theaters appeared in Greece around 525 to 456 B.C. But, he said, the Babylonian word mumlo corresponded to the Arabic word mumathil , meaning actor--"and this proves there was a theater in Babylon."

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