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Colosseum

Colosseum
Colosseum
#The Largest Amphitheater in the World

This huge amphitheater was built nearly two centuries ago by three Roman emperors. It included an arena providing amusement to the people, or in other words, the gladiators’ arena. There were performances financed by private individuals, mainly in order to demonstrate their wealth and amuse the people.

Take a good look at the exterior wall of this amazing amphitheater. It is part of the same grand structure that has existed here since the time of the Roman Empire.

This complex was chosen as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.



#The Colosseum's Functions

The primary purpose of the Colosseum was to serve as a place for gladiator battles. These were the “reality shows” of that time - they were intended to create sympathy among the viewers towards the ruler and provide them entertainment during their leisurely hours. Prisoners who were sentenced to death and crucified or burnt at the stake could be seen here. Sometimes there was a story plot added for the benefit of the masses- which made the act of execution part of a journey of the protagonist - whose tragic end was known in advance. The hero would count the seconds back when a wild beast of prey would chase him in the ring and devour him in front of everyone. The gladiators who were forced to participate in these battles were slaves or prisoners of war.

Another particularly popular show were the hunting games. This was where exotic animals from all over the empire tried to survive the hunters who would hunt them for entertainment. In case there was any concern for the viewers in the front row, it was stationed two meters above the arena to ensure their safety. Thousands of gladiators and more than a million animals have been killed here.

The first hundred days of inauguration were filled with such entertainment.

In the year 404 AD the last gladiator battle took place, since the Romans no longer viewed these acts of murder as amusement. In the fifth and sixth centuries, at the time of the fall of the Roman Empire, the inhabitants of Rome didn’t remember the original purpose of this m onumental structure. Some thought it was an imperial palace and some thought it was a temple to the sun god.



#The Architecture of the Colosseum

The Colosseum is built in an elliptical shape, with a length of 189 meters, a width of 156 meters and a height of almost 50 meters.

It is said that the Colosseum was the first structure built with concrete, a new invention in those days. Of course it was not really the first, but perhaps the first of those which survived the test of time and still stands today.

It is no small feat for an anonymous architect who planned the building to enable a crowd of 50,000 people to enter and leave the compound without long queues. He found an excellent practical solution - to the Colosseum, 80 entrances were built that led to a special systems of corridors that surrounded the amphitheater. Each floor had openings that led directly to the chairs and the stands.

One can’t overlook the quality of construction and planning during the Roman Empire, since this enormous structure still stands here after 2,000 years of earthquakes and man-made damage.




#The History of the Colosseum

This huge amphitheater was built almost 2,000 years ago in the city of Rome. It was built by three Roman emperors of the Flavian dynasty. Its original name was "The Flavian Amphitheater," named after the same line of emperors, though the name was later changed in the Middle Ages.

In 72 AD the construction of the amphitheater began. Emperor Vespasian, the initiator of the idea, didn’t live to see the building finished as he died before its completion. His son Titus completed the mission. It is surprising that although the construction of the Colosseum took less than ten years, Titus was unable to complete it and the person who inaugurated the amphitheater in 80 AD was Titus' brother, Emperor Domitian.

It was built on top of remains from Nero’s palace, a brutal and loathsome ruler in Rome. From the moment the ruler came to power in 54 AD, many nobles and merchants quarreled with him because he was constantly trying to take over new lands and build more palaces for himself. When a huge fire broke out in Rome in 64 AD, which destroyed entire parts of the city, quite a few thought that the ruler was responsible for the terrible arson. Not only that, they claimed that he had relished the moment by playing the violin on the roof of his palace while the fire was spreading all over Rome.

Although it is possible that Nero wasn’t directly responsible for the Great Fire, he made no efforts to mitigate the damage. However it aided him it gaining control of the city where he built his magnificent palace - the Golden Palace. In case you were curious as to his fate, citizens of the city revolted against him four years later and he was forced to flee for his life.

The emperor who replaced Nero was Vespasian. He wanted to strengthen the people's trust in the government and decided to return expansive lands to the citizens. On the ruins of the palace he established what would be the largest amphitheater in the world, the Colosseum.

Right beside the nostalgic palace, stands an impressive statue of Nero, whose name was Colossus. This is where the building gets its name - the Colosseum.



#The Colosseum Crowd

Upon entering the compound, the viewer would receive a special entrance ticket: a piece of pottery with the number of the gallery and the row in which he was to sit. The places were reserved in advance and reflected the hierarchical structure of Roman society.

The lowest seats around the arena were reserved for distinguished people of high status - senators, dignitaries, the emperor and his entourage. Above them sat the rich soldiers and merchants. As the rows rose, the status of the population diminished- all the way to ordinary citizens. There were spots in the Colosseum where it was impossible to sit and there was only standing room. This is where the women and the slaves stood, who were the two lowest classes of Roman society. The gravediggers and theater actors weren’t allowed in at all. This reflects the status and classes in society, which played a central role in Ancient Rome.



Here is the Colosseum During a Walking Tour:

https://youtu.be/hxpBPStoIZ8



A View from Above

https://youtu.be/B4GvcCWzZZg


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