Essay on The Colosseum

Essay on The Colosseum

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The Colosseum


In the first century AD, the Roman Emperor Vespasian decided that Rome needed a stadium that would not only satisfy the crowds, but also convince the magnitude that Rome had become a power to be reckoned with. He wanted them to know that Rome now again had strong and unquestionable power in the world after the strong and bitter civil war it had recently gone through. His idea was to create an amphitheater. This theater, named the Flavian Amphitheater, earned a reputation as the greatest and deadliest structure ever built during the Roman Empire.

The Roman people found their greatest entertainment at public gladiatorial combats. Up until the late first century BC, these combats were held in the forum, the Circus Maxima, and other small arenas. At each of these sights there were great drawbacks. When the games were held in the forum, the only seats were a limited amount of temporary wooden seating. The Circus Maxima could hold a much greater amount of people then the forum, but the large spina, which stood in the middle of the fighting floor, created a great visual obstacle for all the spectators. The small arenas had such limited seating that going to the expense of hosting the games was often not worth it, due to the limited viewing audiences. All of these venues also harvested great safety and sanitary concerns. None of them had public toilets, or wash rooms. They were also nearly impossible to be efficiently evacuated in case of an emergency.

In 53 BC the politician Curio created the idea to build two semicircular stands built on a pivot. These stands could then be moved so each section could be turned away from each other and view separate events, or they could be turned inward, forming an oval, for joint viewing. This was the first recorded amphitheater in history.

In around 72 BC Vespasian, the current emperor of Rome, took this knowledge of Curio, along with that of the problems created with the other theaters, and set out to build the greatest amphitheater ever. The architect who created his design is unknown, but construction began in 75 BC. He selected a marshy area between the Caelian and Esqualine hills as the sight for his structure. This area was also the previous sight of Nero’s Golden House. During Nero’s rule he had created such a lasting illusion of terror throughout Rome that Vespasian wanted to prove to R...


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...afford hosting the games. As time went on the building was largely abandoned. In the middle ages, much of the stone resources were taken from it and used to construct other nearby buildings. During the Middle Ages it also earned the name which it is largely known by today. It was named the Colosseum after a colossal statue of Nero that stood over 27 feet tall that was located near the theater in the public forum.

Today the Colosseum still stands largely intact, due to its quality construction. It has become one of Rome’s most powerful landmarks, as its walls tower over much of its historic surroundings. The Colosseum was solid, thick and sturdy, the same as how Romans wanted people to perceive their empire. Through one building the civilization created a giant substructure of how their whole world worked. The structure was Vespasian’s gift to the people. Even though it saw the death of so many innocent people, the followers of the Flavian Dynasty continued to be thankful long after their leave of power. To this day a reputation of greatness stays with the Colosseum, as many people remember Vespasian’s famous quote, “When the Colosseum falls, so falls Rome and all the world.”

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