Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheater)

72-80 C. E.
615' x 510'; 159'H

Although amphitheaters were built throughout the Roman Empire, none were as large and grand as this. The name, however, derives not from its great size, but from the Colossus, a large bronze statue of Nero, standing near it. It provided good visibility for the more than 50,000 spectators who viewed animal games, spectacles, and gladiatorial combats there. Begun in the 1st century CE by Vespasian, a member of the Flavian family, it remained in use until the early 6th century.

A view of the ruined side (right)

Marble and metal were taken from the facade and interior of the Colosseum for use in later buildings.

Views of the lower story; the second story; the 3rd story and attic

The exterior borrows from Greek architectural orders. Each arch of the arcades is framed by engaged columns; from the bottom to the top, the columns are Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian with Corinthian pilasters in the attic. The attic has small windows which once alternated with bronze plaques (now lost).


One of the main entrances (with an ever-present Roman cat); a radial passage; another entrance

Click here to see page 2--interior of the Colosseum.

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