Rome’s renowned Colosseum, a magnificent example of ancient architecture, is well known around the world. Around 6 million people travel to Rome each year to see this oval amphitheater, and for good reason. Its continued standing even after 1942 is not only admirable but astounding and demonstrates how far ahead of their time the Romans were. Here, we’ll walk you through the Colosseum’s history, the numerous eras it has survived, and the reasons it belongs on your bucket list of locations to see.
Building The Colosseum
Site of Construction (Pre 70 AD)
The Roman Emperor Nero originally had a statue of himself built on the artificial lake where the Colosseum now stands. Nero had acquired control of the territory following the Great Fire of Rome, despite the fact that the region was populated in the second century. In the region known as Domus Aurea, he constructed numerous statues, pavilions, and gardens. The Flavian Amphitheatre was built here by King Vespasius to return the territory that Emperor Nero had used for his private use to the people of Rome. The man-made lake was filled, and another statue honoring Sol, the Roman Sun God, was erected in place of Nero’s. The Colosseum was built here for a number of reasons, including its central location in the city.
Construction Period (70 AD – 81 AD)
During King Vespasian’s reign in 70 AD, work on the Colosseum started. As the King used the military triumphs to pay for its construction, it was soon after the Siege of Jerusalem. This enormous monument required a lot of labor from prisoners of war. By the time King Vespasius passed away (79 AD), three storeys had been built. It was constructed with travertine limestone, which is typically found deposited near hot springs, tuff, a volcanic rock, brick-faced Roman concrete, wood, tiles, and cement. The monument was created by a team of expert engineers, decorators, artists, architects, builders, and painters.
Inaugural Games (80 AD)
Titus, King Vespasian’s son and heir, took over construction of the Colosseum after his father’s passing in 79 AD. Titus managed the building of the fourth floor after his father had finished the first three storeys. He planned inaugural events for approximately 65,000 spectators within the Colosseum to celebrate the project’s completion. Animal fights, gladiator fighting, hunting, imitations of criminal encounters, and criminal executions were all part of these games. Dio Cassius, a Roman historian, claims that more than 9000 animals perished at the first games. Since there were many accidents under Titus’ rule, including the explosion of Mount Vesuvius, the games ran for 100 days in order to appease the Roman populace and the Roman Gods.
Colosseum in Use (217 – 6th Century)
Domitian, King Vespasian’s younger son and Titus’ successor, added underground tunnels for animals and slaves along with a gallery to boost the Colosseum’s seating capacity even though Titus had already completed the most of the work before beginning the inaugural games. The Flavian Amphitheatre was utilized for a variety of events during the first games, including gladiator fights, animal fights, and reenactments of epic battles. In the Colosseum, where the conflict between the Corinthians and the Corcyrean Greeks was carried out, historians have also documented mock sea battles. Artists, painters, and technicians often produced simulated forests to illustrate mythological scenes or serve as a hunting backdrop.
Colosseum during Medieval Times (Late 6th – 14th Century)
At this point, the Colosseum’s function had changed. Now it served as a cemetery for famous Romans who were cremated. The Colosseum also contains a church. Vaults beneath the seating areas served as homes and workspaces for the common people. The influential Frangipani family acquired control of the Colosseum and began utilizing it as a castle in the 12th century. The Colosseum sustained the most of its damage during the medieval period. The other half of the building collapsed as a result of the earthquake in 1349. Marble was used to produce quicklime, and stones were removed for use elsewhere.
Role of Colosseum in the Christian World (16th – 17th Century)
A religious community came into the amphitheater in the fourteenth century and stayed there until the Roman Church intervened. Numerous ideas were put forth regarding what should be done with the Colosseum. Pope Sixtus V proposed using it for bullfights, while Cardinal Altieri, the nephew of Pope Clement X, proposed using it as a wool factory to provide work for Rome’s prostitutes. But nothing was carried out to completion. Because he thought many Christians were martyred there, Pope Benedict XIV intended to make the Colosseum a sacred place. Numerous Stations of the Cross were added by him. Later, other rehabilitation initiatives approved by the Church were undertaken to repair the harm caused by natural and man-made disasters.
Architecture of The Colosseum
Even today’s spectacular Colosseum was constructed with a specific goal in mind. Rome experienced its fair share of catastrophes and terrifying kings. King Vespasian started building this massive tower in 70 AD as a way to repay the people. The Colosseum was erected as a free-standing structure, unlike the majority of Rome’s buildings, which were dug into the side of hills. It has an oval central arena and is four stories tall. Emperor Domitian built tunnels underneath the main arena where he kept slaves and animals. To facilitate entry and escape as swiftly as possible, the building has eighty ground-level entrances. The northern gate was utilized by the Roman Emperor, three entrances were set aside for the aristocracy, and the remaining 76 entrances were open to the general public. At that time, seating was also split into classes, and King Domitian constructed a gallery for slaves, women, and the impoverished. The northern gate was utilized by the Roman Emperor, three entrances were set aside for the aristocracy, and the remaining 76 entrances were open to the general public. At that time, seating was also split into classes, and King Domitian constructed a gallery for slaves, women, and the impoverished.
The Colosseum is more than just a representation of the city of Rome; it is also evidence of the superior skills of prehistoric humans. It has witnessed global change and will continue to astound people for all eternity. The Colosseum is currently Rome’s most popular tourist destination, with over 6 million visitors a year. The Greek mythology deity of love, Eros, has a museum on the top floor. Public viewing of the underground tunnels and guided tours of other locations inside the building are both available.
Numerous ceremonies are occasionally held at the Colosseum because of its enormous religious significance, particularly the Scriptural Way of the Cross on Good Fridays. The Colosseum must be visited on a specific day during your journey to Rome if you want to see the marvels of the ancient Romans from the aged perspective of this monument.