The Roman Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is perhaps the most famous ancient landmark in the world. The Colosseum was the host to thousands of gladiatorial shows, mock naval battles, executions, and animal hunts. Today, the Colosseum still stands in the center of Rome, Italy, however, not quite as it used to be. Still, today, the Roman Colosseum is a large tourist attraction, thousands of tourists from all over the world still come to view this marveled arena. The Roman Colosseum has a rich history, and remains a prized possession of the Roman citizens.
Construction of the Colosseum was initiated by Roman emperor Vespasian, around 70 AD. Vespasian named the Colosseum after the colossus of Nero, a large statue that stood nearby. Vespasian, however, did not live to see the completion of the Colosseum, as he died in AD 79, only a year before the construction of Colosseum had been finished. Titus, Vespasian’s son and successor, completed the construction in 80 AD, in dedication for his father. Further modifications were made during the reign of Domitian, the brother of Titus.
Construction was very expensive. Just the external wall of the Colosseum would cost about $50 million dollars, today. About the size of a professional football stadium, the Colosseum could hold over 50,000 spectators. Upon entering, the audience climbed sloping ramps to their seats. These seats were separated according to gender and social class. The women and the poor sat at the top of the Colosseum, on wooden benches.
The Colosseum contained over four stories. The first three contained over 80 entrance arches and contained a complex drainage system. These entrance arches made evacuation extremely fast in case of an emergency. During games, the basement of the Colosseum held cages of animals and prisoners, ramps, and mechanical lifts. The floor of the arena was made of concrete, and was covered with sand during games. Sometimes the sand was dyed red to resemble blood. During sunny days, a gigantic awning would be suspended to give shade to the spectators.
Games were not financed by the state, but a public sponsor, in order to gain popularity and nobility. Games did not take place very often, only several times a year. During Roman festivals, games took place throughout the day for several days. Of all games performed at the Colosseum, gladiatorial combats were the most famous. Most gladiators were slaves,...