Colosseum (Rome, 1st century)

Colosseum (Rome, 1st century)

The most famous and most magnificent amphitheatre of Rome was built in the 1st century.



Colosseum, amphitheatre, Rome, Római Birodalom, animal fight, gladiator fight, arena, circus games, gladiator, building, edifice, Vespasian, Titus, Domitian, Nero, arch, entertainment, elliptic floor plan, auditorium, Flavian Amphitheatre, antiquity, persecution of Christians, emperor, imperial period, history

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  • What does the term amphitheatre mean?
  • Where is the Colosseum?
  • In which ancient empire was the world's most famous amphitheatre built?
  • During the reign of which emperor did the construction of the Colosseum begin?
  • Whose statue used to stand in front of the Colosseum?
  • When was the Colosseum inaugurated?
  • What was the original name of the building?
  • After the statue of which emperor was the building renamed in the Middle Ages?
  • What is the length of the building?
  • Approximately how many spectators could the building host?
  • Who were the gladiators?
  • What does the salutation of gladiators entering the amphitheatre mean? ('Ave, Caesar, morituri te salutant')
  • What does the following phrase mean? 'Panem et circenses'
  • Is the following statement true? Sea battles were also simulated in the Colosseum.
  • What is the height of the building?
  • Who was history’s most famous (rebellious) gladiator?
  • What did the thumb turned downwards mean for the defeated gladiator?
  • Is the following statement true? Female gladiators were also fighting in the Colosseum.
  • Is it true that many Christians were killed in the Colosseum?
  • Is the following statement true? Gladiators could never be freed.
  • What did the Emperor's thumb turned upwards mean for the defeated gladiator?






Time travel



Amphitheatres were typically elliptical-based structures that primarily served as venues for circus games.
The arena was surrounded by several storeys of seats that offered a safe place for the public to observe the fights.

A most infamous amphitheatre of the Ancient Roman Empire, the Colosseum, is one of the most famous structures in world history.
Its construction began under the reign of the Emperor Vespasian. The magnificent structure next to the Forum Romanum was inaugurated in 80 AD by Titus, Vespasian's successor. The finishing touches were added during Emperor Domitian's reign. Originally named the Flavian Amphitheatre after the Flavian dynasty that built it, the enormous building is said to have been renamed in the Middle Ages, when the structure was named after the nearby equestrian statue of the Emperor Nero.

The Colosseum was approximately 188 metres long, 156 metres wide and 50 metres high. The amphitheatre seated more than 50 thousand people with the emperor and his cortege occupying their own separate balcony above the main gates. The ingenious architects and engineers of the amphitheatre constructed a complex building out of limestone, tuff-stone and bricks. Regardless of the building's complexity, the system of entrances, stairs, descents and walkways worked exceptionally well in reality. (The shape and structure of the Colosseum inspired a number of architects of 20th-century football stadiums as well.)

The gladiators and the wild animals were led onto the 'stage' through ingeniously created walkways and integrated elevators from chambers located under the arena. By closing the drainage canals, they were able to create an artificial lake within the arena, in order to stage simulated sea battles. On the top, fourth storey, pedestals and consoles held large poles, to which a canopy was fixed to cover most of the amphitheatre.

In the course of many decades, a great many gladiators and wild animals lost their lives in the arena of the Colosseum, thus providing entertainment for the enthusiastic masses. (In the days when Christians were persecuted, many of them met the same fate as well.) The central amphitheatre of Rome, however, still attracts millions of tourists every year. Its condition is far from perfect now, but it remains one of the most important symbols of the imperial city. Visitors might even remember the following words from the medieval English historian, theologian and philosopher, the Venerable Bede: 'While stands the Coliseum, Rome shall stand; when falls the Coliseum, Rome shall fall; when Rome falls, the world shall fall'.

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