The History of the Colosseum

The History of the Colosseum

‘So much to see, so little time’ is a phrase we hear quite often at Venice Events. Italy’s long history and rich cultural legacy leads to such dilemmas which can make it difficult to plan a trip to Italy. Indeed, as the centre of the Roman Empire and home to the majority of Roman antiquities it can become quite stressful to plan a trip to Rome!

‘So much to see, so little time’ is a phrase we hear quite often at Venice Events. Italy’s long history and rich cultural legacy leads to such dilemmas which can make it difficult to plan a trip to Italy.

Indeed, as the centre of the Roman Empire and home to the majority of Roman antiquities it can become quite stressful to plan a trip to Rome!

Perhaps the most impressive of those antiquities is the structure instantly recognisable as the symbol of Ancient Rome - the Colosseum. The history of the Colosseum in Rome is fascinating and can be told by through brief explanations to some of the most common questions about the Colosseum.

Why was The Colosseum Built?

In 64 A.D. the Great Fire of Rome destroyed much of the city including both the Amphitheater of Statilius Taurus and the wooden Amphitheatrum Neronis. Garnering support from the Roman people, referred to as the ‘plebs’ or ‘mob’ through entertainment such as gladiatorial games was not a new idea.

After the fire and tumultuous conclusion to the reign of Nero (54-68 A.D.) his successor, Vespasian, ordered the construction of the Colosseum in order to convey ‘the glory of Rome’.

When Was The Colosseum Built?

Work began on the Colosseum between 72-75 A.D. after the successful quelling of the Jewish Revolt in Roman Judea in 70 A.D.. The Colosseum was nearing completion when Vespasian died in 79 A.D.. The Colosseum was completed and inaugurated by his eldest son Titus in 81 A.D.

How Was The Colosseum Built?

Constructed in line with specific plans and dimensions the Colosseum was an incredible achievement, ingenious in many ways. The funding for Ancient Rome’s most impressive structure came from the spoils of the war in Judea, specifically the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. No expense was spared during construction and specialists including architects, engineers & artists worked for years in order to create what can only be described as a masterpiece.

Manual labour was undertaken by an endless supply of over 100,000 slaves brought to Rome from Judea. Their work revolved around quarrying and then transporting the travertine the 20 miles from Tivoli to Rome.

A range of building materials were used in the construction of the free-standing structure including; travertine (pillars & external walls), iron (clamps held travertine blocks together), cement (arches), bricks (interior walls), marble (seating, outer cladding, water fountains & statues), lead and terracotta (pipes for sewer & water system).

Additions To The Colosseum

Over the years a number of additions were made to the Colosseum including the building of the vast network underneath the structure. This area was called the ‘Hypogeum’ and is quite ingenious in its design.

The Hypogeum included tunnels and passages through which water could be diverted from aqueducts to flood the floor of the Colosseum in order re-enact naval battles! There were also cells from which animals could be released via connected ramps and trap doors.

More detailed information on the Colosseum including the specific dimensions and other statistics can be found here.

Planning A Trip To Rome?

If you are planning on visiting Rome in order to see the Colosseum first hand, Venice Events can help. We offer a number of guided tours around Rome, many of which feature the Colosseum.

Contact us for further information on the services we offer including our range of tours in Venice, Florence, Milan and Rome.