Form And Function Of The Colosseum

1932 words - 8 pages

Form and Function of the Colosseum

Colosseum is an example of a building in which its form and function
are inextricably linked. To prove this, let us take a look at some of
the orders, the wall-like structure and the vaults of the Colosseum as
part of its form and functions.

With reference to the Illustration Book Colour Plate 19,28,72,75,76
and 78, and Block 2 The Colosseum Figure 6.1 and 6.2, the Colosseum
evidently uses five orders: ‘Doric’, ‘Tuscan’, ‘Ionic’, ‘Corinthian’
and ‘Composite’. The function of these orders is to provide a
framework for the divisions of the whole building. A different order
is used for different levels, portraying the subtlety of the building.
Both ‘Doric’ and ‘Tuscan’ orders give an appearance of sturdiness to a
building while ‘Ionic’, ‘Corinthian’ and ‘Composite’ orders tend to
make a building appear rich and elegant.

In studying the ground plans on Plate 56(a), we can see that the
Colosseum stands up by it wall-like structures, consisting of walls
and pillars arranged in a pattern that spreads out from the centre of
the arena. As shown on Plate 29, these walls were made thick enough to
serve its function, which is to support the many tons of concrete used
in the structure and also accommodate the weight of fifty thousand
spectators of the Colosseum.

Apart from these load-bearing walls, the real strength of the
Colosseum was the vaults, which functions as to roofs to the spaces
between each radiating wall as referred to Illustration Book Colour
Plate 42 and 77. The Romans, being very experienced in constructing
vaults and domes, built vaults for the Colosseum that were remarkably
strong. This is significant as it was perceived that strong roman
concrete vaults seem to symbolize the strong Imperial Rome.

With all the evidences that have been presented, it is thus clearly
show that the form and function of the Colosseum are indeed
inextricably linked.

( 302 words)

Part 2: Essay

Question: Why is that the Romans, as Thomas Wiedemann says, “did not
see what went on in the amphitheatre as something wicked” (Resource
Book 1,C11,p.101)?

For something to be considered wicked, it must be a deed that is
intended to harm or have the capability of harming. In other words, it
must be something morally bad. However, the Romans did not see what
went on in the amphitheatre as ‘something wicked’ or morally bad at
all. Instead, the Romans glorify and consider what went on in the
amphitheatre as form of entertainment and public pleasure rather than
a wicked show. In C1 Martial, On the Spectators, Martial supports this
view by describing one of the shows as a very clever and original
piece when he includes: ‘How ingenious are sudden chances!’, clearly
thanking the Caesar for putting up such a wonderful show for his

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