The following article details important events in the lives of Emperors which relate to the Colosseum.
Emperors and the Colosseum - Vespasian "The Emperor who built the Colosseum..."
Vespasian gained the throne following the death of Neroafter defeating opponents in the civil war which followed. The Great Fire of Rome occurred during the reign of Nero in 64AD destroying the Amphitheatrum Neronis and other amphitheatres. Vespasian needed to gain the support of the people so commissioned the Flavian Amphitheatre to be built. The name never caught on a people referred to the new arena as the Colosseum as it had once been the site of a colossal statue of Nero. Vespasian Died before the building of the Colosseum was completed.
Emperors and the Colosseum - Titus "The Emperor who destroyed the temple in Jerusalem"
The oldest son of Vespasian, Titus became the next Emperor. He presided over the inauguration games at the Colosseum in 81AD. The inauguration games lasted for one hundred days and during this time over 9,000 wild animals and 2000 gladiators were slaughtered. Titus had fought in the Jewish War and had conquered Jerusalem. The spoils of Jerusalem and the 100,000 slaves captured in the war enabled the spectacular Colosseum to built. The engineering was so advanced that the Romans were able to flood the arena and show simulated Water Battles at the Colosseum.
Emperors and the Colosseum- Domitian "The evil emperor who murdered thousands of Christians"
The Emperor Vespasian's second son the Emperor Domitian added the top tier of the Colosseum and a vast network of rooms, cells, tunnels and passages under the Roman Colosseum called the Hypogeum. The addition of the Hypogeum meant that any other water battles at the Colosseum would not have been possible. Domitian styled himself to be the "Lord and God," of the Romans and was worshiped with divine honors. Christians who refused to adhere to the gods of the Romans were murdered in great numbers during the reign of the tyrant Domitian.
Emperors and the Colosseum - Commodus"More savage than Domitian, more foul than Nero".
The Emperor Commodus actually fought as a gladiator in the Colosseum ordering his fights to be inscribed in the public records and announced in the city-gazette. It is said that he engaged in gladiatorial bouts 735 times. Such was his prowess in the slaying of wild beasts, that he once pierced an elephant with a pole, pierced a gazelle's horn with a spear and killed huge, wild beasts with a single blow. Commodus then ordered the people to worship him as a second Hercules on the ground that he had killed wild beasts in the amphitheatre. He allowed statues of himself to be erected with the accoutrements of Hercules and sacrifices were performed to him as to a god. Commodus commissioned the building of a tunnel which connected the Imperial palace to the Colosseum. Commodus was the Emperor featured in the Russell Crowe movie Gladiator.
Emperors and the Colosseum - Elagabalus"He married a Vestal Virgin and then took a husband..."
Elagabalus divorced his first wife and enraged Roman society by marrying one of the Vestal Virgins, only to divorce her a year later. The marriages were sham as it appears that Elagabalus was homosexual. He had the hairs plucked from his body in order to appear more female he appeared in public wearing make-up and women's clothing. His most stable relationship appears to have been with his chariot driver, a blond slave from Caria named Hierocles, whom he referred to as his husband.
Emperors and the Colosseum - Trajan Decius "One of the most cruel persecutors of the Christians"
Decius is remembered as one of the most cruel persecutors of the Christians, many of whom would have died cruel deaths in the Colosseum. The innocent victims of his rage were subjected to torture and suffered from the unrelenting severity of this persecutor.
Emperors and the Colosseum - Carinus "The debauched Emperor suspected of incest..."
Carinus was completely inept as a ruler. He led a life of vice and debauchery and spent enormous amounts of public money on festivals, spectacular games to entertain and gain support of the 'mob'.
Emperors and the Colosseum -Diocletian "The Emperor who split the Roman Empire..."
The Emperor Diocletian mounted some of the fiercest Christian persecutions of the early Church especially in the East of the Empire. Diocletian passed laws or Edicts to force people who lived in the Roman Empire to worship the ancient gods of the Romans. The persecution of Christians began A.D. 303, and continued for nearly ten years during which time countless Christians died in the Colosseum and other arenas throughout the Roman Empire..
Emperors and the Colosseum - Ioannes "Captured, mutilated and while still living, set upon an ass in the Roman Circus and finally killed..."
Emperor Theodosius II refused to recognize Ioannes as ruler of Gaul and Spain and he was captured, mutilated and while still living, set upon an ass in the Roman Circus and finally killed.
Emperors and the Colosseum - Honorius "The End of the Gladiators and the Sack of Rome..."
The Gladiatorial games at the Colosseum ended during the reign of the Emperor Honorius. This Emperor issued a decree that the gladiatorial games were to stop. Chariot races and games went on, though the good and thoughtful disapproved of the wild excitement they caused; but the terrible sports of death and blood were ended for ever. The last known gladiatorial fight in the Roman Colosseum therefore took place during the reign of Honorius.