The Architecture of the Colosseum

The Architecture of the Colosseum

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The Colosseum is one of the most well-known structures in Rome, Italy. The Colosseum was built almost two thousand years ago to host games for gladiators. The Colosseum provided for entertainment for the Romans, a form of punishment for those who did not obey the laws, and a place of great architectural beauty.
The Architecture of the Colosseum is very grand, with the capacity to hold up to 80,000 people. The Colosseum is over 160 feet tall, it “has a length of 620 feet and was close to 513 feet wide” (“Colosseum Architecture.”). Because the Colosseum was so big, it would have been very difficult to get so many people in and out of it had it not been for the various arches and stairs built within it. In total there are about 80 arches that each led to various stairways. These stairways then led to all the different levels of the Colosseum, which in turn made it a lot easier and more comfortable for a lot of people to exit it in a short amount of time. The Colosseum also had many arches of which four were “reserved exclusively for royalty and nobles” and the others were for the rest of the people (“Colosseum Architecture.”). Unlike other amphitheaters which had a circular shape, the Colosseum had the unique shape of an oval, which helped the people watching have a better view of the arena. This added to the overall different feel that the Colosseum had.
When first designed the Colosseum did not have any floor, though a wooden floor was added at a later time. The floor was later rebuilt, it was of a similar design as the first floor but instead of wooden poles for support, stone pillars were used. Then, to simulate the ground sand was added. This sand was sometimes even dyed red to “disguise blood” (Hopkins). The arena was also at times decorated very elaborately for ritual murders, which sometimes varied with different tales. The floor was considered “a technical wonder” because although it gave the impression that it was a real floor, under it there was a maze of corridors and rooms, in which performers would get ready for their acts (“Colosseum Architecture”.). Animals were also kept underground and were later lifted into the arena. This was done with the use of elevators run by slaves. The arena floor had many trap doors from which the animals and performers appeared.

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To the audience the trap doors were invisible and when the people or animals appear it was almost like magic. The rooms under the floor not only had places for performers but there were also rooms for medics and places in which one could find food or drink, and occasionally places to gamble or be with prostitutes (Building the Structure of the Colosseum.).
Seating in the Colosseum was divide by social rank and class. Each section pertained to a different class. The seats ranged from being made of wood to marble. The wooden seats were located in the upper sections of the Colosseum and belong to woman, the poor, and the people who did not have Roman Citizenship. On the other hand, Marble seats, which were located at the lower levels, were for men whom had Roman Citizenship. Men and Women were not usually allowed to sit together. Other sections were then reserved for higher ranking officials such as dignitaries. These sections usually had seats made of ivory. In total there three different levels. The one closest to the floor being for senators or the rich, the second level for farmers or artisans, and the third level being for women and slaves.
Today the Colosseum is still one of “the most recognizable of Rome’s Classical Buildings” (THE COLOSSEUM). “Recent restoration has focused on maintaining the Colosseum” (THE COLOSSEUM). The Colosseum is one of the world’s seven greatest wonders and many people still visit it to see the beauty and the history presented in this structure. People visit the Colosseum to in some ways be able to connect to the Roman culture and the way society and life was for the Roman people (Visiting the Roman Colosseum).
In conclusion, the Colosseum is a grand structure that is still located in Rome, Italy. The Colosseum was used for gladiator battles and sometime different theatrical performances. In the arena, spectators were able to see battles between men, battles between men and animals, or even the punishment of criminals or war captives. The Colosseum was divided into different levels for the different class ranks. In total, there were three levels. The first level, being the one closest to the arena, was reserved for the higher officials and the rich. The second level was reserved for the middle class, who were most often farmers and artisans. The third and final level was for the poor, slaves, and women because men and women were generally not allowed to sit together. The arena was a grand stage with many trap doors and under the arena were many rooms which were used to keep animals, to serve as dressing rooms for performers, and were used for other entertainment purposes such as gambling or prostitution.

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