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Construction of the Colosseum began about 72 AD and ended in 80 AD. Vespasian ordered the construction of the Colosseum and it was finished by his son Titus. The land that was to be used for the construction of the Colosseum had been Nero's private lake which was drained. Its true name is the "Flavian Amphitheatre" but was called the Colosseum because of the giant statue of Nero that was located next to it and because of the Flavian Amphitheatre's enormous size. Limestone blocks and brick was used to build the Colosseum and it was covered with white marble.  It could hold more than 50,000 spectators who viewed gladiatorial contests, hunts, and mock naval battles (the Colosseum could be flooded). Giant hunts and fights were held here. Exotic animals from all over the world were brought in to fight the gladiators. In 100 days 9000 wild animals were killed to celebrate the opening of the Colosseum.
The Colosseum had 3 tiers in which the different classes of society sat.  The first and lowest tier was for the senators, ambassadors and vestals.  The second tier was reserved for the wealthy class and the third tier was open to the public. The first tier was decorated in Doric columns, the second in Ionian columns, and the third in Corinthian columns. When the weather was hot, large awnings were placed over the top of the Colosseum to provide shade to the many spectators. A special fourth tier at the top of the Colosseum anchored these awnings.  Subterranean passages were used to keep animals and props for the many events held in the Colosseum (as seen in the adjacent picture) .

The Emperor Constantine tried to put an end to the gladiatorial fights but the Romans did not want to give up these shows. At the beginning of the 5th century, a monk called Telemachus came and tried to put himself in front of the gladiators to protest the fights. The crowds yells insults and stoned Telemachus to death for protesting the games. That day the games were brought to an end. 

The Colosseum is an elliptical stadium. It measures 187 meters by 155 meters and is 50 meters tall.    Over many centuries, two-thirds of the Colosseum has been removed to build several churches and palaces.

More Pictures of the Colosseum


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