The Roman Colosseum
“While stands the Colosseum, Rome shall stand; When falls the Colosseum, Rome shall fall; And when Rome falls-the World.” Said Lord Byron. The Roman Colosseum is a massive symbol of Rome. It’s also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre that famous around the world. Although it’s now a monumental ruin, it’s still the most impressive building in Rome.
In 68 B.C, emperor Nero commited suicide. Then, eighteen months of civil war had begun. At the end, the Flavian Dynasty appeared. The emperor of the Flavian Dynasty, Vespasian, rebuilt Rome. To show his own capacity and to wipe away people’s memory of Nero, he rebuilt the Temple of Jupiter and also constructed a new Temple of Peace. Then, the Roman Colosseum became an exhibit of the new Flavian dynasty of Vespasian and his sons, Titus and Domitian. But, Vespasian was dead while his amphitheater, the Roman Colosseum was still building. Then, his oldest son Titus carried on with construction of the Colosseum and opened it to the public in 80 A.D. So, 9000 animals and hundreds of gladiators joined the games in a hundred days. After Titus’s death, Vespasian’s youngest son, Domitian began to build the subterranean caves and finished the decorative work of it.
The Colosseum is an elliptical building with a length of 189m (620 feet), height 48m (158 feet) and width 156m (512 feet). It contained 45,000 sitting places and 5,000 standing places. It could contain 50000 the most. Also, these people were separated by social classes. There were three levels in total. The level that was closest to the arena were emperors, nobles, and senators. Most of the people sat in the second level. There were farmers, artisans, and populaces. These people were all came from middle classes. The last level was the top of the Colosseum and it’s hard to see from there. It was for the slaves and the women because they didn’t have any rights at that time.
The ancient Roman Colosseum was the first free-standing amphitheater. The amphitheater was ruled by the Greeks and was usually built into hillsides. Next, using the natural slope of the banks to have a seat so that everyone can see the arena no matter how high or how low you set.
There are three floors of arcades that built in travertine stone and eighty arches on every floor. There is also a fourth story with windows above it. The arches are 4.20 m wide and 7.05 m high on the ground floor, while on the upper floors they are only 6.45 m high. There are four arches that are for main entrances and these entrances might have decorated with a little porch and a statue. The major axis entrances gave direct access to the arena. The NW gate, also called the Porta Triumphalis was the entrance for gladiators during the pompa gladiatoria, the parade that took place outside and led to the amphitheatre. The SE gate, was also called Porta Libitinaria, as dead gladiators were carried through it. Concrete was the most important thing for building the Colosseum. It was made by mixing a strong volcanic material with rubble, sand and a mixture of limestone. It could support the vaulted arches.
The floor of the arena was made with wood. There was a wall called Podium all around the arena. It was about 10 feet high. Also, there were marble decorations around it. They had all the services for the shows under the arena. For example, cages for the animals and the beasts. When they were in the Colosseum, a fence would be put in the position all around the podium. The fence had also wooden rollers on the top to prevent the beasts from climbing over.
The hypogeum, an ingenious system of tunnels for slaves, gladiators, and wild animals. There were many underground tunnels connected by the stadium to stables. The emperors also had their own tunnels to enter the stadium.
The Romans had the right to join banquets that offered by the rich and also enjoy the shows in the circus or the amphitheater. These games were sponsored by the emperors or the nobles. The most common and famous things in the Flavian Amphitheatre are gladiator fights. The citizens in Rome love bloodshed and gladiator combat. They liked to watch fights between animals or people. These games were easy and entertaining for them and also satisfied them.
The first gladiator fight was began in 264 BC. The sons of emperor Junius Brutus gave honor to him by showing three pairs of gladiator fights during his funeral. After that, this kind of ritual became more and more popular. Also, emperors started to hold these games to signify their power.
“The gladiators competed against one another for the sake of public entertainment at festival games. Although some gladiators fought wild animals the combats usually featured a pair of male human contenders. They fought in diverse styles depending on their background and how much training they had endured. Originally as captured soldiers they were made to fight with their own weapons. The odds of a professional gladiator surviving a match were one in 10.” (Roman Colosseum And The Gladiators.)
The most famous combats were between powerful gladiators. During that time, Christians refused to do things for the emperor and worship his faith. So, they were punished and thrown into the arena to fight with wild beasts. Also, if one people of a family was accused, the whole family would be in danger no matter what age people was.
“The Emperor Constantine tried to put an end to the gladiatorial fights, but the Romans didn’t want to give up these shows. At the beginning of the 5th century, a monk called Telemachus came and tried to put himself in front of the gladiators to protest the fights. The crowds yell insults and stoned Telemachus to death for protesting the games. That day the games were brought to an end.” (The Colosseum)
The Roman Colosseum is now very popular and also a major place for tourists to travel. I had been there when I was eleven years old. When I saw it, I was so surprised that I had never seen such a spectacular building. It has influenced nowadays stadiums. Some modern football stadiums look just like it. Entertainment the Romans had before has been into sports and spectacles nowadays.
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