"The Colosseum" Colosseum Tip by Marpessa
Colosseum, Rome: 496 reviews and 946 photos
The Colosseum when it was first built was known as the Flavian Amphitheater and was opened in 80 A.D by Titus (Roman emperor). There are 80 arches on the ground level, which were used as entrances into the colosseum - each arch is numbered (not in todays roman numerals though e.g IV is written as IIII on the colosseum). However today these entrances have bars across them to limit how people can enter the colosseum.
The amphitheater could hold approximately 70,000 people. The citizens would mainly have been men as the only women that were allowed in the theatre were usually 'working women' or vestal virgins. The emperor would have his own special seat and watch over all the fights deciding whether battles would be to the death or not (as you no doubt would have seen in the movie 'Gladiator').
You will notice when you go to the colosseum (as I recommend you do) that there are two main entrances into the interior of the amphitheater, one is larger than the other - this was the entrance of the gladiators, and the other smaller one, was the 'exit' for the gladiators that were killed. There were many different kinds of combats, man against man, man against animal and animal against animal. Animals were brought here from all over the world - like elephants, lions and even hippotamus.
A large portion of the colosseum still stands today, remarkable considering it is almost two millenia old. The reason why one side of the theatre has collapsed and not the other is because for hundreds of years one side had been in the sun and the other in the shade, the material of the side in the sun was weakened by the heat and caused it to fall apart (with the aid of an earthquake).
The colosseum is a very impressive structure, I went around the theatre with a guide (from Romaround tours) and found the information very helpful in understanding the context of the colosseums place in Roman history. It is an unbelievable place to see and I suggest that you check it out for yourself!
Address: Piazzale del Colosseo, Via dei Fori Imperiali
Phone: (+39) 06 39967700
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