'Colosseum' is derived from the Latin word 'colosseus'
meaning colossal. This was in reference to the gigantic
statue of the Emperor Nero which had been previously erected
near the site of the Colosseum.
amphitheatre covers and area of 6 acres
Entrance to the
games was free. The massive amphitheatre had a capacity
estimated at between 50,000 and 80,000 Romans
circumference measures 545 metres (1,788 ft). It is 50
metres high (187 ft), 189 metres (615 ft) long and 156
metres 510 ft wide. Dimensions of the Colosseum
The area beneath
the Colosseum was called the Hypogeum (meaning underground).
The hypogeum consisted of two-level subterranean network of
tunnels and 32 animal pens. It had 80 vertical shafts which
provided instant access to the arena for animals and
Domitian, the younger son of Vespasian added the hypogeum
and also a gallery at the top of the Colosseum to increase
its seating capacity.
The Colosseum is
located in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy (Piazzale
del Colosseo, Rome). The absolute location is 41 degrees
latitude and 12 degrees longitude.
There were 36 trap
doors in Arena allowing for elaborate special effects
displayed and killed at the theatre were transported from
every corner of the Roman Empire reflecting the scale and
scope of the Roman provinces. Wild Animals at the Colosseum
The wild and exotic
animals which included lions, tigers, hyenas, hippos,
rhino's, crocodiles, ostriches, antelopes, bears and zebras
There were over 20
different types of Gladiators
The Roman Colosseum
was used for staging various events including gladiator
fights, wild animal displays, theatrical entertainment,
executions, religious ceremonies, mock sea battles and
re-playing famous Roman victories.
The Colosseum was
built as a gift to Roman Citizens, increasing the popularity
of the Flavian dynasty
It Staged various
forms of entertainment in a purpose built stone
amphitheatre, creating a diversion for unemployed and unruly
It showcased the
latest Roman engineering techniques demonstrating to the
world the power of Rome
The emperor took up
a prominent position in the imperial box was called the
pulvinar which was located on the podium (meaning place of
honor) which was like a terrace and about 15ft wide astride
the centre of the minor axis of the arena on the north side.
Seating at the Colosseum
Amphitheatre was built of travertine on the outside and tufa
and brick in the interior. The main pedestals were built of
In the building of
the Colosseum the slaves undertook the manual labor and
teams of professional Roman builders, engineers and
decorators undertook the skilled tasks.
consisted of four floors. The first three storeys had high,
arched entrances designed with tiers of Ionic, Doric and
Awning called the Velarium at the Roman Colosseum provided
cover and shade. Brackets supported 240 wooden masts on
which canvas awnings were hung.
There were 76
entrances which were numbered but there were an additional
four grand entrances which were not numbered. Colosseum
Entrances and Exits
distributed for the shows, each one marked with a seat
number, tier number and entrance number. The inaugural games
at the Colosseum lasted more than 100 days.
At the end of the
day the gladiators who had been killed were dragged through
the Porta Libitinensis (Gate of Death) to the Spoliarium
where the body was stripped and the weapons and armor given
to the dead gladiatorís lanista.
The arena was 287
ft long and 180 ft wide. The arena was covered with 15cm of
There were various
entrances/ exits from the arena. The Porta Sanavivaria was
the Gate of Life where those who had been defeated but
spared would exit, the Porta Libitina was the Gate of Death
or Executions and the Porta Triumphalis where the victors
would exit the arena.
The bisellium was a
richly ornamented seat of honor at the games. It was so
called because there was room for two persons upon it,
although only one sat there, usually the Emperor.
42 Roman Emperors
witnessed the carnage at the amphitheatre
700,000 people died in the bloody arena
Christians or Criminals provided popular midday
As many as 5000
animals were slaughtered in one day - wild animals were
killed to the point of extinction. See Wild Animals at the
The massive Flavian
Amphitheatre took less than 10 years to build