The Colosseum is Rome’s largest amphitheater. It was started in 72 A.D. by Emperor Vespasian and was inaugurated eight years later by his son Titus as an elliptical sports stadium measuring 617 feet long by 512 feet wide by 187 feet high.
This venue was primarily designed for deadly gladiator combat and wild animal fights. This amphitheater is the largest ever built by the Roman Empire with a base of six acres.
When you tour the inside of the massive structure, you will see the elaborate network of underground passageways. There were 80 entrances that were used during Roman times.
The exterior of the grand stone ellipse was erected using travertine blocks; held together with metal camps instead of mortar. The marble and granite that covered the Colosseum’s elegant facade was recycled for Rome’s palaces and churches. The travertine blocks and the large holes from the missing butterfly clamps that held the blocks together are now exposed. The clamps were held in place with lead. All of the pre-existing metal from the Colosseum has also been recycled.
The Colosseum is one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and Roman engineering. The stadium could hold up to 50,000 bloodthirsty spectators. In ancient Rome, the spectators were covered with a canopy that protected them from the intense sun called a “velarium”. This canopy was suspended by ropes and masts attached to stone corbels on the upper level of the structure. Gladiatorial combat ended in the 6th century.
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