Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheater)

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

The design of the Colosseum is a triumph of functional planning. With numerous exits and entrances, it could easily accommodate crowds. Barrel vaulted corridors gave access to tiers of seats laid over them--although most of the seats are gone today. Spectators were seated by rank with the topmost seats, the "chicken coop," available for women and children. An awning originally covered the whole.
The basement level, now exposed, was covered with a wooden floor which was strewn with fine sea sand (Latin "arena," the source of the English word "arena"). In the basement were elaborate corridors, service rooms, elevators, gladiatorial barracks, and rooms for wild beasts.


Looking out from one of the topmost arches; details of brickwork

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