The Colosseum

The Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheater, was commissioned in 72 AD by Emperor Vespasian. The Colosseum was completed during Emperor Titus's reign in 80 AD.

There was a understandable reason behind the building of the Colosseum. Emperor Nero did not treat his citizens fairly, and this fueled civil wars. Vespasian attempted to restore Senate authority and promote public welfare. Vespasian returned to people the lush land near the center of the city. On the site of the Golden Palace, Vespasian decreed a new amphitheater would be built so the public may enjoy combat and entertainment.

Many materials were used to build the Colosseum. These included travertine, tuff, tiles, cement, lime, brick, and marble. Travertine is a limestone composed of calcite, deposited by nutrient-rich waters. The stone can withstand a lot of pressure and was a reliable material. Travertine was quarried from Tivoli. It was used to create the main pillars, ground floor, and external walls. Tuff is a porous stone. It was produced by the cementing of volcanic material. Tuff is used in the preparation of special cements and as a building stone. This material was used in minor pillars. Tiles and bricks were made by mixing clay, water, sand and straw. The mixture would be pressed into a mold, and then set out to dry in the sun. Tiles would be turned over often so that they wouldn't bend. Tiles would be baked in a oven at 800 degrees Celsius. When finished, the tiles would be used for the floors and walls. Brick were used to create walls. Cement was produced by mixing finely ground limestone and clay. It was used for vaulted arches. Lime is obtained by heating limestone in a kiln. Carbon dioxide will be removed from the limestone and create a highly reactive product known as quicklime. By adding water to the lime, it created lime putty (thick and greasy; used as a binder for the cement), and lime milk (used for the paints).

There are many unique architectural features. One would see different types of columns. On the ground floor was the Tuscan column (variation of the Doric order). The second floor has Ionic columns and the third floor has Corinthian columns. It is easy to note the arches, or row of arches, called an arcade. They are bigger on the ground floor than they are on top. The arena, where the battles take place, measures 76 by 44 meters. The floor of the arena is made of wooden planks, and it is covered in sand. On special occasions the sand would be colored or mixed with glittering materials. A complex system of passages runs underneath the arena. Animals and gladiators were held here. Lifts would bring contestants up to the arena to battle. The wall surrounding the arena is ten feet high. Their is a retractable awning on top to shade people from the sun. The corridors and stairs were planned in order to allow the public swift access and exit. It was also established to separate different classes. There are 80 entrances. The Colosseum is about 600 feet long, 500 feet wide and 150 feet tall.

The Colosseum is one of the most famous buildings of the Roman empire. It represents the power of the Romans. It shows wealth because of its superiority to any other building around. The Roman's raid on Jerusalem paid the expenses of the Colosseum. This shows that the Romans were very strong. It was a place for social gatherings and good times. Many of the wealthy would show, making the Colosseum a privilege. The Colosseum was a place where money would be spent by the thousands per event. The Colosseum was a stable and formidable attraction to attend.

The Colosseum has influenced the stadiums that we have today. We use similar passages to seats. We have seating designated to those who have suites and those who don't. In the stadium are forms of entertainment, just like in the Colosseum.

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