The Colosseum: Symbol of Roman Power
by Amalia Fung-Jenikins, age 12
The Colosseum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rome with millions of people visiting each year. Also known as the Flavian Amphitheater, it has a very rich history dating back to the early A.D. 70’s when it was built as a gift to the Roman people.
Following the opening, the Colosseum went through many changes. Ultimately, it reached almost four stories high with measurements of approximately 620 feet by 513 feet. In terms of the design, it had the capacity for 50,000 spectators and there were a total of eighty entrances: 76 for the attendants of the events, two for the event participants, and another two for emperors only. The emperors regularly attended the gladiatorial games held in the Colosseum. During the first opening, the emperor Titus held a 100-day celebration for the gladiatorial games. The emperor Commodus was especially famous for performing in the arena during the games. In addition to the games, the Colosseum also held dramas, reenactments and public executions.
Eventually the Roman people lost interest in the games. After a number of earthquakes, the condition of the Colosseum began to disintegrate around the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century A.D. With almost two-thirds of the structure destroyed by the 20th century, restoration of the building began in the 1990’s.
While the Colosseum is a very popular modern-day attraction on its own, its deep history contributes to its continuing importance. The involvement of emperors in the gladiatorial games and the variety of entertainment that took place in the arena makes its story even more fascinating.