Roman Colosseum is one of the architectural masterpieces of the ancient world. It stands at the center of the iconic city of Rome. The walls of the Colosseum rose to a height of 157 feet while the area enclosed by it was 620 feet by 510 feet. Construction of the Colosseum was started by Roman Emperor Vespasian in 74 AD, but the construction was completed in 80 AD. By that time, Vespasian had died and his son Titus occupied the throne. Titus opened the Colosseum on the occasion of the commencement of 100 days of games which included gladiatorial fights and animal fights.
The Colosseum could accommodate about 50,000 people to watch gladiatorial battles and animal fights. It had 80 entrances. Seats were numbered just like in modern stadiums. There was a separate box for the king which was called pulvinar.
Colosseum was constructed at the site of a huge man-made lake which was a part of the massive villa built by Emperor Nero for himself. This villa was called Domus Aurea. Nero committed suicide in 68 AD. After his death, Emperor Vespasian, in order to remove the memories of Nero, ordered the lake to be removed and a grand amphitheater to be built in its place. Vespasian wanted the Roman public to forget all about Nero by enjoying the games in the Colosseum.
It was constructed using tufa and travertine stones which are variants of limestone found in hot springs. The volume of the stones used in construction was 100,000 cubic meters. The mortar was not used to hold the stone blocks together. Instead, over 300 tons of iron clamps were used by the engineers to hold the stone blocks. The Colosseum is a freestanding structure, unlike other Roman amphitheaters which are supported by mountains.
Origin Of Name
Colosseum was named the Flavian Amphitheatre. The nickname “Colosseum” came from the 100-foot bronze statue of Emperor Nero. Vespasius had the face of Nero removed from the statue and replaced it with that of the sun god. According to historians, Emperor Hadrian had the statue placed just next to Flavian Amphitheatre in 124 AD. The statue was called Colossus and it is believed that the amphitheater derived its nickname from this statue.
Underground Passages And Rooms
There were numerous passages and rooms underneath. Animals and gladiators were housed in the rooms. There were 36 trapdoors through which animals and gladiators were put inside the arena.