The Colosseum: A Grand Amphitheater The Colosseum Over the Centuries Located just east of the Roman Forum, the massive stone amphitheater known as the Colosseum was commissioned around A.D. 70-72...
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Aug 05, 2020 · Colosseum, also called Flavian Amphitheatre, giant amphitheatre built in Rome under the Flavian emperors. Construction of the Colosseum was begun sometime between 70 and 72 ce during the reign of Vespasian. It is located just east of the Palatine Hill, on the grounds of what was Nero’s Golden House. The artificial lake that was the centrepiece of that palace complex was drained, and the Colosseum was sited there, a decision that was as much symbolic as it was practical.
- Later years
The Colosseum or Flavian Amphitheatre is a large ellipsoid arena built in the first century CE under the Roman emperors of the Flavian dynasty: Vespasian (69-79 CE), Titus (79-81 CE) and Domitian (81-96 CE). The arena was used to host spectacular public entertainment events such as gladiator fights, wild animal hunts and public executions from 80 CE to 404 CE.
The construction of the Colosseum was begun in 72 CE in the reign of Vespasian on the site that was once the lake and gardens of Emperor Neros Golden House. This was drained and as a precaution against potential earthquake damage concrete foundations six metres deep were put down. The building was part of a wider construction programme begun by Emperor Vespasian in order to restore Rome to its former glory prior to the turmoil of the recent civil war. As Vespasian claimed on his coins with the inscription Roma resurgens, the new buildings --the Temple of Peace, Sanctuary of Claudius and the Colosseum-- would show the world that resurgent Rome was still very much the centre of the ancient world. The Flavian Amphitheatre (or Amphiteatrum Flavium as it was known to the Romans) opened for business in 80 CE in the reign of Titus, Vespasians eldest son, with a one hundred day gladiator spectacular and was finally completed in the reign of the other son, Domitian. The finished building was like nothing seen before and situated between the wide valley joining the Esquiline, Palatine and Caelian hills, it dominated the city. The biggest building of its kind, it had the following features: The theatre was principally built from locally quarried limestone with internal linking lateral walls of brick, concrete and volcanic stone (tufa). Vaults were built of lighter pumice stone. The sheer size of the theatre was the possible origin of the popular name of Colosseo, however, a more likely origin may have been as a reference to the colossal gilded bronze statue of Nero which was converted to resemble the sun-god and which stood outside the theatre until the 4th century CE.
The theatre was spectacular even from the outside with monumental open arcades on each of the first three floors presenting statue-filled arches. The first floor carried Doric columns, the second Ionic and the third level Corinthian. The top floor had Corinthian pilasters and small rectangular windows. There were no less than eighty entrances, seventy-six of these were numbered and tickets were sold for each. Two entrances were used for the gladiators, one of which was known as the Porta Libitina (the Roman goddess of death) and was the door through which the dead were removed from the arena. The other door was the Porta Sanivivaria through which victors and those allowed to survive the contests left the arena. The final two doors were reserved exclusively for the Emperors use. Inside, the theatre must have been even more impressive when the three tiers of seats were filled with all sections of the populace. Encircling the arena was a wide marble terrace (podium) protected by a wall within which were the prestigious ring-side seats or boxes from where the Emperor and other dignitaries would watch the events. Beyond this area, marble seats were divided into zones: those for richer private citizens, middle-class citizens, slaves and foreigners and finally wooden seats and standing room in the flat-roofed colonnade on the top tier reserved for women and the poor. On top of this roof platform sailors were employed to manage the large awning (velarium) which protected the spectators from rain or provided shade on hot days. The different levels of seats were accessed via broad staircases with each landing and seat being numbered. The total capacity for the Colosseum was approximately 45,000 seated and 5,000 standing spectators. One of the oldest depictions of the Colosseum appeared on the coins of Titus and shows three tiers, statues in the upper external arches and the large column fountain - the Meta Sudans - which stood nearby. The scene of all the action --the sanded arena floor-- was also eye-catching. It was often landscaped with rocks and trees to resemble exotic locations during the staging of wild animal hunts (venatiories). There were also ingenious underground lifting mechanisms which allowed for the sudden introduction of wild animals into the proceedings. On some occasions, notably the opening series of shows, the arena was flooded in order to host mock naval battles. Under the arena floor (and visible to the modern visitor) was a maze of small compartment rooms, corridors and animal pens.
However, blood sports and death were the real purpose of the spectacular shows and an entire profession arose to meet the massive entertainment requirements of the populace - for example under Claudius there were 93 games a year. Spectacles often lasted from dawn till nightfall and the gladiators usually kicked-off the show with a chariot procession accompanied by trumpets and even a hydraulic organ and then dismounted and circled the arena, each saluting the emperor with the famous line: Ave, imperator, morituri te salutant! (Hail, Emperor, those who are about to die salute you!).
Comic or fantasy duels often began the days combat events, these were usually fought between women, dwarfs or the disabled using wooden weapons. The following blood sports between various classes of gladiators included weapons such as swords, lances, tridents, and nets and could also involve female combatants. Next came the animal hunts with the bestiarii -- the professional beast killers. The animals had no chance in these contests and were most often killed at a distance using spears or arrows. There were dangerous animals such as lions, tigers, bears, elephants, leopards, hippopotamuses and bulls but there were also events with defenceless animals such as deer, ostriches, giraffes and even whales. Hundreds, sometimes even thousands of animals, were butchered in a single days event and often brutality was deliberate in order to achieve crudeliter -- the correct amount of cruelty.
Under Domitian, dramas were also held in the Colosseum but with a bloodthirsty realism such as using real condemned prisoners for executions, a real Hercules was burned on a funeral pyre and in the role of Laureolus a prisoner was actually crucified. The Colosseum was also the scene of many executions during the lunch-time lull (when the majority of spectators went for lunch), particularly the killing of Christian martyrs. Seen as an unacceptable challenge to the authority of Pagan Rome and the divinity of the Emperor, Christians were thrown to lions, shot down with arrows, roasted alive and killed in a myriad of cruelly inventive ways.
In 404 CE, with the changing times and tastes, the games of the Colosseum were finally abolished by Emperor Honorius, although condemned criminals were still made to fight wild animals for a further century. The building itself would face a chequered future, although it fared better than many other imperial buildings during the decline of the Empire. Damaged by earthquake in 422 CE it was repaired by the emperors Theodosius II and Valentinian III. Repairs were also made in 467, 472 and 508 CE. The venue continued to be used for wrestling matches and animal hunts up to the 6th century CE but the building began to show signs of neglect and grass was left to grow in the arena. In the 12th century CE it became a fortress of the Frangipani and Annibaldi families. The great earthquake of 1231 CE caused the collapse of the southwest facade and the Colosseum became a vast source of building material - stones and columns were removed, iron clamps holding blocks together were stolen and statues were melted for lime. Indeed, Pope Alexander VI actually leased the Colosseum as a quarry. Despite this crumbling away though, the venue was still used for the occasional religious procession and play during the 15th century CE.
From the Renaissance period both artists and architects like Michelangelo and later tourists on their Grand Tour took a renewed interest in Roman architecture and ruins. As a consequence, in 1744 CE Pope Benedict XIV prohibited any further removal of masonry from the Colosseum and consecrated it in memory of the Christian martyrs who had lost their lives there. This, however, did not stop locals using it as an animal stables and its neglect is reflected in the curious work of Richard Deakin who in 1844 CE catalogued over 420 plant varieties thriving in the ruin, some rare and even locally unique -- perhaps originating from the food given to the exotic animals all those centuries before. The 19th century CE did, though, begin to see the fortunes of the once great amphitheatre improve. The Papal authorities sought to restore parts of the building, notably the east and western ends, with the latter being supported by a massive buttress. Finally, in 1871 CE the Italian archaeologist Pietro Rosa removed all of the post-Roman additions to reveal, despite its degradation, a still magnificent monument, a poignant and enduring testimony to both the skills and the vices of the Roman world.
- Mark Cartwright
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The Colosseum is situated just east of the Roman Forum. Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in AD 72 and was completed in AD 80 under his successor and heir, Titus. Further modifications were made during the reign of Domitian (81–96).
The Colosseum was the name of the oval coliseum or amphitheatre in the center of the city of ancient Rome. The Colosseum is also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre. It was built in about 1 AD by Emperor Vespasian. It is still the largest amphitheatre, or theatre in the round, in the world.
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The original name of the ancient Roman Colosseum was in fact Amphitheatrum Flavium, often referred to in English literature as the Flavian Amphitheater, the present day Italians refer to it as il Colosseo. The name Flavium is the family/dynasty name of the Roman Emperors who built the Colosseum.The present day name \\"Colosseum\\", or rather \\"Colosseo\\", is said to have come from the colossal 35m (115 feet) high bronze statue of Nero, The Colossus, that stood between the stadium and the Roman Foru...
When was the Colosseum built? Construction of the Ancient Roman Colosseum was started by Emperor Vespasian in 70 A.D. After Vespasian's death in 79 A.D. his son Titus completed and inaugurated the Roman Colosseum in 80 A.D. The opening ceremony is documented to have lasted 100 days and between 5000 and 11000 wild animals were killed.Further alterations and improvements were made to the Roman Colosseum by Emperor Titus' younger brother, Emperor Domitian, who included a series of underground pa...
The amphitheater was mastered by the Greeks and was usually built into a hillside(s) thereby taking advantage of the natural slope of the banks to create seating which overlooked the lower arena - as was done with the Circus Maximus which sits in the valley between the Aventine and Palatine hills. The ancient Roman Colosseum was the first free-standing amphitheater.It has an elliptical (oval) plan with a length of 189m (620 feet), height 48m (158 feet) and width 156m (512 feet). The central a...
1. Who were the gladiators and where did they come from? There was no shortage of gladiators to perform at the Colosseum. The majority were slaves (servi), either descended from debtors or prisoners of war from military campaigns in Italy, Spain, Carthage, Gaul, Britain, North Africa and the Middle East. Slaves were sometimes given the chance to fight for a short time for their freedom. In addition some gladiators were also common citizens (plebeians) who dreamed of fame and female attention...
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The Colosseum is a giant amphitheatre in the center of Rome, Italy. It was built during the Roman Empire. It was built during the Roman Empire. Roman Colosseum by Kevin Brintnall
Mar 22, 2011 · So the total length of the Colosseum was originally planned, according to one convincing reconstruction, as 660 Roman feet long (300 + 360) and 540 Roman feet wide The perimeter can be roughly...
Nov 18, 2018 · The Roman Colosseum is located in Rome, Italy and is the iconic structures of Rome. It is in the same line as the Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica. The Roman Colosseum History The Roman Colosseum history is, its an amphitheater that was built between 70-72 A.D.
The Colosseum or Coliseum (Latin: Colosseus – “huge”, Italian: Colosseo), also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre (Latin: Amphitheatrum Flavium), is perhaps the grandest construction in the history and culture of ancient Rome. It is located to the south of the central part of the Eternal City, just east of the Roman Forum.