The Colosseum or Amphitheatrum Flavium is an amphitheater and the largest architecture ever erected by the Roman Empire. It was built during the Flavian Dynasty by order of Emperor Vespasian in the 72 AD and finished by Titus, his son, in 80 AD. It was originally a place for entertainment and for many other public displays and games. There were battles of animal vs animal, man vs beast and man vs man. During the bloody games, there were thousands of people and animals killed. Below the ground were rooms in which beasts were readied for exhibition in the arena.
Besides these bloody scenes, there were also performances by acrobats and flute players. The bloody games were soon prohibited by Emperor Honorius in 404 AD. Today, the Colosseum is one of the most famous sights in Rome. It is a monument of gigantic size and is acknowledged as one of the seven world wonders.
If you are planning to have a trip to Rome and you want to visit the Roman Colosseum, it helps to know ahead of time what to expect. Since The Colosseum is one of the most favorite spots among tourists and there are hundreds of people who want to see the monument in a day, it is expected that the line can be literally long. If you cant afford to spend an hour or two standing in long queue, you can instead buy your tickets ahead of time online. There is also a guided tour which covers more areas of the Colosseum.
People enjoyed the gladiator battles that took place in the Coliseum. The gladiators, who were mostly slaves, were trained how to fight in a gladiator school. They fought not only against each other but also against beast animals. Sometimes there were also fights between animals themselves. The general public was welcome to join the event and watch the gladiator fight without having to pay for any entrance fee. The Colosseum had both pitches and seats that were roofed with a huge textile so the audience did not have to stand or sit under the heat of the sun. The textile roof was attached to the 240 poles on the top ring of the Colosseum. It could accommodate as many as 70,000 spectators at once. The arena was enclosed with a sturdy iron fence. This forbids the animals from escaping during the battle.
The animals were brought to the arena via a lift while the human gladiators walk up to the battle ground through walkway. The rule of the Gladiator fight was simple: the last man standing was the winner and losers were destined to die. However, in some instances when the loser survived from being killed by his opponent, the emperor will be the one to determine his fate. Most of the time, the emperor looked at the audience to see what the majority of the crowd wanted before deciding. A thumb’s up from an emperor means that the loser has the opportunity to live. If its the other way around, the winner have to kill the loser.
The Colosseum has four storeys above ground and the spectators were seated according to their prominence or social status. The ordinary onlookers and the working class had to seat at the uppermost level while the prominent people were seated near the ground level so as to have a clear view of the arena. The games and displays in the Colosseum were used by emperors to generally entertain the public and to raise their level of popularity among them. So, it was particularly significant to hold games and circuses every now and then, some were even days-long. War slaves, prisoners, or condemned people were able to participate in these games. Even emperors sometimes partake in them since games were viewed as a symbol of prestige and power.
It took hundreds of years before the bloody gladiator fight tradition ended. It was estimated that a total of over 300,000 people and animals deaths during the ferocious fights. Thanks to Emperor Honorius. He was the one who took the initiative to put an end to this barbaric kind of entertainment.
In the fifth century AD, the amphitheater declined like the rest of the Rome. It was sacked by barbarians and affected by natural disasters. Later during the Middle Ages, it functioned as a quarry. But the deterioration of the amphitheater can also be blamed to man. People collected some stones from the Colosseum to be used for the construction of new buildings. Anyone who wanted to build stone buildings came to the Colosseum to collect stones. St. Peter’s was built with stones from the Colosseum and the Victor Emmanual used these stone as well.
Pope Benedict XIV then stopped the looting in the 18th Century. Later, Pope Pius VII commissioned the propping of the outer walls.. This work was continued by later popes.
The Colosseum that we see now is the remnant of the once imposing amphitheater. In spite of the deterioration process that the amphitheater had gone through, it still attracts a thousands of tourists. Apart from being the primary symbol of Rome, the Colosseum also plays an important role since it characterizes the streets of the city. When people think of Rome, they most like think of the Colosseum as well.
Getting tothe Colosseum is so easy. You just have to take subway line B and get off at Colosseum.
Almost everyone who visits Rome wants to visit the Colosseum. This is visible in the long queue at the ticketing and entrance of the amphitheater. It is so easy to waste an hour or two by standing at the long lines. However, if you do not want to fall in line just to get the ticket, you can avoid doing so by buying a combined ticket. This package ticket includes a visit to the Palatine Hill, The Colosseum and the Roman Forum. For convenience, you can also buy your ticket ahead of time online.
Also recommended is the guided tour.