Form and Function of the Colosseum Essay

Form and Function of the Colosseum Essay

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Form and Function of the Colosseum

Colosseum is an example of a building in which its form and function
are inextricably linked. To prove this, let us take a look at some of
the orders, the wall-like structure and the vaults of the Colosseum as
part of its form and functions.

With reference to the Illustration Book Colour Plate 19,28,72,75,76
and 78, and Block 2 The Colosseum Figure 6.1 and 6.2, the Colosseum
evidently uses five orders: ‘Doric’, ‘Tuscan’, ‘Ionic’, ‘Corinthian’
and ‘Composite’. The function of these orders is to provide a
framework for the divisions of the whole building. A different order
is used for different levels, portraying the subtlety of the building.
Both ‘Doric’ and ‘Tuscan’ orders give an appearance of sturdiness to a
building while ‘Ionic’, ‘Corinthian’ and ‘Composite’ orders tend to
make a building appear rich and elegant.

In studying the ground plans on Plate 56(a), we can see that the
Colosseum stands up by it wall-like structures, consisting of walls
and pillars arranged in a pattern that spreads out from the centre of
the arena. As shown on Plate 29, these walls were made thick enough to
serve its function, which is to support the many tons of concrete used
in the structure and also accommodate the weight of fifty thousand
spectators of the Colosseum.

Apart from these load-bearing walls, the real strength of the
Colosseum was the vaults, which functions as to roofs to the spaces
between each radiating wall as referred to Illustration Book Colour
Plate 42 and 77. The Romans, being very experienced in constructing
vaults and domes, built vaults for the Colosseum that were remarkably

... middle of paper ...

...of the most important virtue of
man. For someone who had committed crime, there is no other way of
coming out of crime except proving in the arena that he is brave. This
virtue was so significant that a criminal gladiator may be granted his
life back and may receive a crown if he ever comes back alive and
victorious, regardless of what crime he had committed. Statius is
another writer who admires the bravery, majesty and strength of a
dying animal more than having any compassion towards it at all and
Hopkins finds that bravery and victory of the aggressor matters more
to the Romans than suffering of the vanquished.

With all the related references and opinions that have been presented,
it is thus clear to us as to why the Romans, as Thomas Wiedemann says,
“did not see what went on the amphitheatre as something wicked”

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