The Roman Colosseum: Sheer Magic



The Roman colosseum is also known as the Flavian amphitheatre. The Roman colosseum is one of the most famous structures of Rome. The structure has endured a lot over the years. The Roman colosseum is a true representation of the ancient Roman culture. It was Emperor Vespasian who initiated the construction work. This was in the year 72 AD. Vespasian’s son was Titus, who presided over the completion of the colosseum in 80 AD.

The Roman colosseum was constructed near the region of Domus Aurea or ‘Golden House’ of Nero. Vespasian wished to completely blot out the extravagant reign of Nero from people’s minds. The Roman colosseum derives its name from Nero’s ‘colossus’ statue, which lies in close proximity.

The mammoth theatre initially encapsulated four floors. Three out of the four floors had entrances that were arched. The fourth floor used doorways that were rectangular. The complete height of the Roman colosseum stood at an impressive 48 meters. The colosseum was comprised of wood and sand. The English word ‘arena’ derives from the Latin word by the same name. It means ‘sand’. The audience was protected by side nets.

The Roman colosseum could seat nearly 50,000 spectators. The amphitheatre utilizes travertine on the outside. Tufa and brick adorn the interiors. The primary pedestals were constructed of massive marble blocks, which weighed nearly 5 metric tons. Metal pins were used to hold the marble blocks together. Many thieves stole the metallic pins. Hence, they were replaced with mortar. The amount of marble that was needed to complete the structure measured nearly 100,000 cubic meters. Nearly 200 carts pulled by oxes were used. This ensured a continuous flow.

The numbered entrances stood at 76. Four supplementary entrances were built. They were reserved for the gladiators, the Emperor, and other VIPs. The Roman Colosseum was designed in such a way that crowds could disperse easily. The whole lot of spectators could leave the structure in five minutes. The interior of the colosseum comprised of three components: arena, podium, and cavea. Nearly two-thirds of the original structure stands destroyed presently. A large number of seats in the cavea are also missing. The Roman colosseum resembles other amphitheaters. However, its size is what sets it apart.

The seats were allocated on the basis of gender and social class. The comfort of the seating was directly proportional to the social status of individuals. For instance, women and poor individuals occupied the wooden benches in tier four. During hot weather, a superb awning or velarium was stretched overhead in order to protect the crowd.

The subterranean chambers were covered by wooden floors. These chambers were home to gladiators and wild animals. Some individuals are of the opinion that the Roman colosseum was constructed to house naval battles that were mock in nature. There were many canals that could support this theory.

The colosseum served as a primary site of the Roman Empire for combat by gladiators. Nearly 100 days were dedicated to the games, in order to showcase the wealth and extravagance of Rome.

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