Colosseum, Italy

colosseum

Colosseum

The Colosseum or Coliseum or Flavian Amphitheatre is located in the city of Rome, Italy. The construction began in 72 AD under the emperor Vespian and completed in 80 AD by his successor Titus and later some changes were made by Domitian. It is the largest amphitheatre ever built, used to host spectacular events such as gladiator fights, wild animal hunts, public executions, dramas.

The Roman Colosseum is eliptically shaped measuring around 620 by 513 feet (190 by 155 meters). It is a huge freestanding structure made of stone and concrete. The exterior is made of travertine and the interior is made of brick, tufa and marble. It stretches 527 m around and four stories high with a the velarium to protect the spectators from the sun. The Colosseum had 80 arched entrances supported by semi circular columns. Each level / story has columns with different style.  The central area or the arena, was covered with wooden floor and canvas to make it waterproof. Over this wooden flooring a layer of sand was spread to absorb blood that spilled during the fights and games.

An average of 65,000 spectators were accomodated by the Colosseum. Out of the eighty entrances, seventy-six were used to admit the audience, two for the gladiators (one for the dead and the other for victors). The last two doors were reserved for the Emperor’s use. Titus held Hundred-day games to highlight the inauguration of the Colosseum in 80 AD, where nine thousand wild animals were slaughtered. The Roman gladiators were usually slaves, prisoners of war or condemned criminals. Contests were held successively in a single day.

The Colosseum was in active use for about four centuries. By 6th century AD, the gladiatorial combats and other entertainment programs came to an end with change in public interests and struggles of the Western Roman Empire. At the same time, the structure was damaged due to natural calamity. By the 20th century series of factors like nature, neglect and vandalism has destroyed about two-thirds of the Colosseum. Later it was completely abandoned and used as a quarry for other projects like cathedrals of St. Peter and St. John Lateran, the Palazzo Venezia etc. Restoration began in the 1990s and still continues.  It is now  a leading attraction for tourists from all over the world.

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