The Colosseum is an ancient stadium in the city of Rome. It was perhaps ingeniously designed as both a place of entertainment and an arena of death.
To this day, the Colosseum stands over 180 feet tall and is nearly 0.3 miles in circumference. This masterpiece is made up of three main materials: brick,
—a marble-like material—and
, a kind of limestone. Constructed by the Roman Emperor Vespasian, the Colosseum was eventually finished by the Emperor Domitian.
The Colosseum is a seemingly Roman design borrowed from Greek tradition. When it was first constructed, it could hold up to 50,000 people. The system of staircases and corridors within it allowed for a trouble-free journey to the seats. Its original architecture also include an intricate system of hallways and elevators that were powered by sailors using pulleys. These elevators and hallways were used to transport wild animals up to the arena, where they would fight gladiators to the death.
During such fights, spectators would bet on winners. Animals from all around the world were sent to Rome and the Colosseum to participate in these deadly games. The general rule was “kill or be killed.”
First known as the Flavian Amphitheater, the Colosseum was built after the great fire of 64 A.D. Following Emperor Nero's death, it was renamed the “Colosseum.” The construction of the Colosseum demonstrated Vespasian's commitment to public works, especially in contrast to the self-indulgence of the previous emperor, Nero.
The ruins of the Colosseum stand tall to this day and its legacy lives on. Be sure to check out this ancient wonder and witness living history if you're ever in the neighborhood.
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