Roman Colosseum built in the center of the city of Rome, Italy Roman Colosseum great work of architecture was initially called the Flavian amphitheater. The Colosseum is an elliptical amphitheater. Construction of the Colosseum started between 70 and 72 AD under Emperor Vespasian's rule and it was completed in 80 AD under Titus rule. The Roman name of Amphitheatrum Flavium is derived from Vespasian's and Titus' family name. The name Colosseum was said to be derived from the statue of Nero.
The Colosseum was in use till late 6th century for nearly 500 years. Gladiatorial contests, public spectacles like mock sea fights, dramas based on classical mythology, re-enactment of famous battles were held there. The Colosseum had a seating capacity of 50,000 spectators.
Rome has now become synonymous with Colosseum. It has gained an iconic status. Though most of the structure is destroyed by earthquakes, it still has connections with the Roman Catholic Church, each Good Friday the Pope takes a torchlit procession to the amphitheatre and it is still one of the major tourist attractions of Rome. The Five-Euro cent coin has the Colosseum depicted on it.
Vespasian used the land which Nero had seized to construct the Colosseum. He wanted to return to the people what rightfully belonged to them. He melted Nero's gold statue and used it for construction of Roman Colosseum.
The Colosseum was constructed to provide wholesome entertainment to people who was in the form of killing animals or other people. It was only century's later people realized that killing animals or people was a cruel means of entertainment.
A lot of other support buildings and Gladiatorial schools were constructed. By constructing the Flavian Amphitheatre (Roman Colosseum) in the heart of the city Vespasian wanted to return to the people their land which Nero had captured. Titus completed the remaining portion of the amphitheater after Vespasian's death. Initially 4 floors were built out of which 3 had arched doorways and the 4th one had a rectangular entrance.
It is said that around 9000 wild animals were killed during the inauguration of the Colosseum. Vespasian's younger son Domitian constructed a hypogeum to house animals and slaves. He also added a gallery to increase the seating capacity.
A small church had been built in the interiors of the amphitheater by the late 6th century.. The arena in the theatre was used a cemetery. The spaces under the seating were used for housing. The great earthquake of 1349 damaged a great portion of the Colosseum. The stones were used to build hospitals, churches, buildings elsewhere in Rome. The bronze clamps which held the stonework together was hacked, leaving holes behind which are still visible. The Pope dedicated the building to the Passions of Christ.
Due to extensive damage, the interiors of the Colosseum can now house only 100 people, so no major events can take place. But using the Colosseum as backdrop, events take place outside the premises.
The Colosseum is an epileptic free-standing structure. The structure is 189 mts long, 156 mts wide, and a base area of 6 acres. The outer wall is 48 mts in height. The central arena is oval and 287 ft long and 180 ft wide surrounded by 15 ft high wall above which there are seating. The outer wall which was made of 100,000 cubic mts of travertine which were set without mortar and were held together with 300 tons of iron clamps on the exterior and of tufa and brick in the interior.
The stadium's huge seating capacity made it mandatory for them to build a large number of entrances making it easier for entry and exit. There were 80 entrances all numbered, out of which 76 were used by public, 1 was for the King and his aides and 3 were for the elite public. The interior was divided into 3 areas: the arena, the podium and the cavea. The audience's seating arrangement was based on gender and class.
Today the Colosseum has become a major tourist attraction; also a museum dedicated to Eros is located on the upper floor of Roman Colosseum. Part of the arena is re-laid. There has always been a great extent of flora growth in the colosseum. The Colosseum has been featured in numerous movies as it has an iconic status. Roman Colosseum has also become one of the new 7 wonders of the world and it rightly deserves so simply for its visionary architectural beauty.
Between 1993 and 2000, the Colosseum was renovated. The Colosseum has become a Roman forum to voice opinions against capital punishment which has now become an international campaign. From the year 2000, whenever anybody having death penalty gets commuted or is released they change the night time color of the Colosseum from white to gold.
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