We always admire great structures of the past. It's amazing that without modern
technology these huge, intricate buildings could be erected. The Roman Coliseum is an
example of these ancient structures.
Building of the Coliseum began c. 72 AD by Emperor Vespasian and was
completed in 80 AD by Vespasian's son Titus. The name "coliseum" came to be because
the Coliseum was next to a colossal statue of Nero. The original name of the huge
structure was The Amphiteatrum Flavium. (The Coliseum of Ancient Rome p 1)
When the arena was completely built emperor Titus inaugurated it with a blood
bath. For 100 days the arena shook with the roar of 50,000 people, the death of gladiators,
and the wild screams of 5,000 animals. This parade of killing lasted 4 centuries in spite of
Christian protest. (National Geographic Society pg. 451)
The Coliseum was over 160 feet high and had 80 entrances. It could hold nearly
50,000 people who came to watch gladiator fights and wild animal hunts. Throughout
the course of these fights as many as 10,000 people were killed. (The Coliseum of
Ancient Rome p. 1) Thefirst level was 34 feet high and the arches were 23 feet high and
14 feet wide. On the second level the height was 38 feet and the arches were 21
feet high and 14 feet wide. The third level was 37 feet high and the arches were 21 feet
high and 14 feet wide. The top level was 45 feet high and had no arches at all. Each of the
levels with arches had 80 passageways. ( The Colosseum p. 1)
A majority of the shows in the Coliseum lasted all day beginning with comedic
contests and animal shows in the morning. Professional gladiator events followed in the
afternoon. Death played a major role in the shows. The gladiators who were prisoners,
slaves, or criminals fought one another or wild animals usually until the death.
Gladiators may have used nets, swords, fir