The Colosseum

The Colosseum, called by the ancient Romans "Anphitheatrum Flavlum", was built by the Emperor Vespasian in 72 AD about, and inaugurated by his son Titus in 80 AD
The construction took place in the area occupied by the enormous palace of Nero's Domus Aurea, and nearby there was a colossal statue of Nero, from which legend has it that the name derives Coliseum. After the killing of This statue was remodeled to represent the sun god.

From an architectural standpoint, the Colosseum & egrave; ellipse of 188 to 156 meters, with 527 meters in circumference, and almost 50 meters high. Externally
from one stylobate of two steps there are four floors, including three with arches framed by half-columns of different orders (from the bottom) Tuscan, Ionic and Corinthian while the fourth floor & egrave; consists of a kind of penthouse divided by Corinthian pilasters. On top, the structure was completed by a cornice with three bands and a cornice with a grandiose drip.

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Rome and the Colosseum

They were the emperors Flavi to provide for a first Rome amphitheatre stable and worthy of the greatness of capital: the work began during the reign of Vespasian in the area between Palatino, Esquilino and Celio, over and above the pond that had to find within the Domus Aurea of Nero. Vespasian, demagogicamente speaking, returned to people what the tyrant-Nero had wanted to ourselves. Individually, Colosseum name derives from giant representative Nero that it had wanted in public areas of its magnificent residence. Previously an amphitheatre was was commissioned by Augustus to Statilio Tauro, but it was a structure Provisional wooden.


But how did the inflow of viewers for shows?
Up to each of the 80 arches that mark the ellipse was a serial number, indicated with Roman numerals, which was also reported to be above of tesserae that each of the spectators had to bring with them: from arcades you then access to internal staircases and various sectors of cavea through vomitoria. Only four arches of the major planks were not numbered and the presence of traces of a porch outside the northward and stucco paintings in the corridor corresponding to suggest inputs for personalities. Maybe this was the entry reserved to the emperor, given the direct correspondence with the gallery director, or pulvinar, and probably was topped by a quadriga.
Today only remain inputs from the thirteenth to LIV. Below the main grandstand was a criptoportico covered vaulted and decorated with stucco and marble slabs, said "passage of Commodus": put in communication buildings claudiani on Celio with the podium.

Even in the cavea viewers could not swarming at will: this was divided into three main areas, so-called maeniana, a series of steps immediately after the fence and fourth floor in high, wooden, it's like piccionaia modern theater. Everyone had a precise location and there was no the ticket price to make a difference, because the entrance was free: was the social class to establish the place. The posts were closer all'arena reserved for senators, the first meniano to riders and so on. The plan wooden or maenianum summum, was reserved for women, admitted to by Augustus only games away from men: on tiers of the class which was reserved the place was always remembered. The only characters which was reserved the place name were the senators: on the steps their confidential fully implemented in marble and not only foderati, in fact, are still today present the names of various characters, sometimes deleted and replaced by others. The meniano supreme was concluded by 80 columns and granite cipolin with capitals of a composite and Corinthian.

The total was wandering on 40-45.000 people sitting, more about 5,000 standing at the top: If you interpret some data taken Catalogues from Regionari, a sort of list of the major monuments of antiquity, the posts could be raised up to about 73,000.

How were organized performances?
Originally the games were religious, but for most people, the populace, was the occasion for fun, to be ferocious behind someone else: a certain sacredness was nonetheless conferred by the presence of the Vestal Virgins, the Pontiff Massimo and dell'imperatore-god, or that divinizzato. A few days before the course of the games, was made advertising and the program could be posted in various parts of the city. For the most part was written in color red, which attracts most attention: the name of those who financed games and why these were made were the most interesting. Then there were the number, and not the name, gladiators, the place where combat, the date and the possible presence of velario, which is certainly not secondary to the attention of viewers. The evening was first offered to gladiators a sort of Last Supper, in which everything was their permission, then recommended their families to friends. In the Coliseum, the day after, was the combat. Towards the south-east was the port Libitinensis, beyond which was the region II Celimontana: here was located the spoliarum, the place where inservienti, often masked by Charon, the ferryman hellish, brought the gladiators dead or dying to be stripped of morals and weapons, and for ever from this port leaving the beasts killed and carried by bestiarii, who shared the meat, skins and bones, while they were instead placed nell'anfiteatro rhinos, hippos and elephants and all other animal too large for the hoist. Towards the north-west had the door Triumphalis, through which entered the pump gladiatoria which gave the green light to ludi: consisted of the promoter of the games, with littori and players, on the one portantina with different symbols on top, then the premiums for gladiators winners, weapons and combat wagons each carrying a gladiator ammantato of purple and gold. Then the athletes formed a procession appiedato that percorreva the round the arena until podium imperial Here salutavano raising his right arm and the famous phrase "Hail Caesar, morituri te salutant "(Health Caesar, those who are about to die greet you). Then armavano with weapons scheduled for the day, sometimes gold as sub Pertinax, od'argento as with Caesar: the Samnites with sword and scutum, a small rectangular shield, Thraces, sica, a small curved sword, and parma, a shield round or square, the retiarius, with network and trident, mirmillo, sull'elmo namesake fish. The fighting had sometimes comic connotation: to Make weapons of cask wood fighting dwarves, lame and women, then a tuba announcing the true combat and gladiators entered accompanied by their patrons that in case of weakness or boredom them frustavano and rimproveravano to give people the right fun. In the end, inch towards or not, leaving the results on a table, with close to name a letter: V for winner, M for missus, mandate, that is alive and equal to the enemy, P for dead. There was also a market for "pieces" of a gladiator: the second legends gave their blood physical vigor and courage, a piece of capacity was talisman against evil eye, the tip of his auction that melting hair of a bride index was prosperous married life. Until Christianity Journal perform the arena was a point also responsible for many free citizens, men and women, whatever their rank.

When the shows, the arena was filled with yellow sand from Monte Mario that was risistemata after each fight.

During the venationes any animal, as long as fierce or particular, went well from tigers to giraffes: when these barbarities were prohibited, many animals were extinct in different regions of the Empire, like the hippos in Nubia, in Ircania tigers, elephants in North Africa, lions in Mesopotamia.

The Colosseum in the Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, the Flavian Amphitheater was first occupied by some civilian houses taken in vain corridors ring the ground floor and then in the twelfth century, was incorporated in the fortifications of the powerful aristocratic family of Frangipane. Sienna was a fortified structure estesissima, bringing together the Circus Maximus, the Palatine and thirteen arches of the Colosseum Party faces the Lateran. Medieval structures of today no trace remains, but they also had to occupy the the second floor of the Coliseum.
The occupation was presumably only external. The interior had suffered too much damage over the centuries: the first fires, then earthquakes: in 442, the 467 and 476 in particular, when it seems that even shook Rome for 40 days consecutive. The earthquakes one another even in later centuries (for example in the 739 and 780), even if the first mass collapses seem attributable to the violent earthquake dell'801 when the columns of the portico above the arena sank. With the earthquake of 1348 was the huge ruin of the party to the Celio (and on that occasion there was a dispute between the municipality, the Frangipane and the pope over who should take the fallen rocks).


X dates back centuries to jobs inside the Coliseum by the calcine that adapted monument in its own homes and garages. The area was also called Calcarium. The lime was obtained by burning both pieces of marble and travertine from the monument itself (already collapsed) and marble from other sources. In the Middle Ages were also charged the famous holes to extract the metal grappe lead to double dovetail that united in the old blocks. There being concern on the part of any rebuild of where the collapse occurred, the parties collapsed, usually the highest and the arches of the bastions behind the arena, became material for examination and then real resources for housing entrepreneurs more cunning. It is true that what the Romans did medieval against the Coliseum is nothing compared to the damage perpetrated by the popes Renaissance: concrete of them are at the Coliseum tribune of S. Giovanni in Laterano (1439) to the Basilica of St. Peter (1451) in Palazzo San Marco (mid-century. XV), Ponte Emilio (1574). And finally go back to baroque the most energetic spoliation including the most salient episodes occur in 1644 (when Pope Urban VI uses a few blocks collapsed by three arches for the construction of Palazzo Barberini) and after the earthquake of 1703 (when the blocks are used for the construction of Port of Ripetta).

Unlike many ancient monuments, the Colosseum in the Middle Ages was not involved in the process Christiana renovatio of ancient monuments, such as happened to the Pantheon (transformed in the church of Santa Maria to Martyres), the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina (which was headed to St. Lorenzo), the Temple of Peace (part of which became Ss. Cosma e Damiano), and so forth. The Colosseum maintained its air and paganeggiante old, who justified the birth around it of a whole series of legends, of course unfounded, but that popular beliefs believed true.
A witness of this mechanism is found in a code manuscript of the Laurentian Library in Florence which is reported the work of Armannino from Bologna. Known also as Armannino Judge, notary in 1325 that compose the Fiorita, a collection of historic and legendary stories (in prose and verse), all enclosed in a frame moralistic. Now, Armannino, ignoring the Coliseo in Ancient had been a place of entertainment, claimed that it was a temple, even the principal pagan temples around the world. It would be encased many evil spirits who made great wonders, and priests, showing the main demon effigy of the people, accustomed to ask: The Veneri? that was said in Latin Prepaid international recorded parcel eum? " hence the name of ... The disease struck etymology easy deeply medieval culture.
But apart from the etymology, it is interesting that interpretation of the Coliseum as a demonic temple, it seems departure a wire that connects the precise Fiorita with other medieval texts (as a guide anonymous handwritten kept in Biblioteca Nazionale di Firenze the start of the century. XV) which states that the Coliseum would have been a temple of the Sun covered in golden bronze surface on which were represented all the stars.

Source: http://www.medioevo.roma.it

Legends about Colosseum

According to some medieval myths seem to represent the Coliseum entrance leading directly into hell, where, at dusk, the souls of the dead to wander in search of eternal peace that perhaps will never find, 'cause perished violently and prematurely.

Another legend says that many plants from distant countries, which are attecchite in the Coliseum area, have been brought by the sandals of the passers-by or paws of animals sacrificed by evil emperors.

Another curious legend says the Colosseum and 'was a sort of temple with a lot of evil sorcerers who turned to the followers the following question: "Colis Eum" which means "Adore Him," referring to the devil, hence the name Coliseum.

The holes of the Colosseum

Looking at the Coliseum closely you can see many holes that dot the property. According to popular tradition deriving from the attempt of the barbarians to destroy the amphitheater, symbol of the greatness of Rome.
When invaders conquered urbe practiced many holes in the walls and filled them with gunpowder in order to blow up the monument.
Futile effort, the foundation held and the Coliseum stood.
From there it spread the fame that the Coliseum was indestructible and this episode came from the fact that Roman "As long as the Colosseum exist, exist Rome when the Colosseum falls, Rome will fall, but when Rome falls, also the world will fall " .

This legend is based on a small anachronism, according to which the gunpowder had been used by the barbarians. (Although according to widespread opinion among modern scientists, the story would not be so absurd as the first to introduce the gunpowder was Genghis Khan, who revealed the secret to his men.)

And the holes? Actually derive from grappa that the Romans used in construction and which were removed and transported, as needed, from old to new buildings.

Source: Tales of Rome

The Naumachie

The naumachia shows in the Roman world is a spectacle representing a naval battle is the basin in which they were held.

The first known naumachia is organized in Rome by Julius Caesar in 46 BC for his quadruple triumph.
After digging a large basin near the Tiber, in the Campus Martius, which holds true BIREME, galleys and quadriremes, recruited among prisoners of war fighters in 2000 and 4000 rowers.
In 2 BC, for the inauguration of the temple of Mars Ultor, Augustus gave a naumachia that emulate those of Caesar. As he himself points out in Res Gestae, dug on the right bank of the Tiber, in the place called "Forest of the Caesars" (nemus Caesarum), a reservoir where s'affrontarono 3000 men, besides the rowers, of 30 vessels with rams, and many smaller units.
The fighters were sentenced to death and we know that naumachiarii (fighters in naumachia) before the battle the Emperor greeted with a phrase that became famous: Morituri te salutant.


The Naumachia best known is that of Augustus it had to be around 533 x 355 m. Pliny says that the center of the basin, most likely a rectangular shape, was an island connected by a bridge embankment.
The basin must have a depth of 1.5 m, the minimum to allow the ship to float, and therefore a capacity of 200,000 m3: the aqueduct Alsietina, specially built by Augustus for his power, he could fill in 15 days and a navigation channel that provided access to ships coming from the river, crossed by a drawbridge.

Considering the size of the basin and those of a trireme (35 m x 4.90 approx), the thirty vessels used should not have much room for maneuver on the water. Moreover, knowing that the effect of a Roman trireme was about 170 rowers and one of the 50 or 60 soldiers aboard, a quick calculation leads to the conclusion that to reach a figure of 3,000 men, the ships had to take the of Augustus naumachia many more fighters a real fleet.
A large pipe discovered on the slopes of the Gianicolo hill above the Church of St. Cosmas is the first archaeological evidence on the location of naumachia. Another hypothesis about the exact location of the monument situated between the Via Aurelia in the north and the church of San Francesco a Ripa in the southeast, at a bend in the Tiber. The viaduct Republican on the Via Aurelia near San Crisogono could be served by the spillway for the reservoir.

The Gladiators

Gladiators (the name derives from the sword, a small short sword used very often in combat) have originated from ' habit of most people? free to offer the people, at their own expense, public performances during special circumstances, such duels to the death among slaves at the funeral of some relative.

The first show with gladiators probably took place in 264 BC, in 105 BC games became public and took place in the forum of Caesar. After the Flavian dynasty, which began with the Emperor Flavius Vespasian, there was the construction of pi? larger and more? the world famous Amphitheatre, the Colosseum.
In the fourth century, Emperor Constantine I, after having embraced the Christian faith prohibits them? but their great popularity? made sure that these games continue pi? or less from time to time despite repeated prohibitions, especially in the cities? far from Rome, where the last gladiatorial shows come to be celebrated in the early Middle Ages.


The gladiators were usually slaves, convicted criminals or prisoners of war, all people who in the Roman world did not enjoy any rights or whose lives were considered expendable, while the convicts and prisoners of war, especially equipped to be survivors of years of struggle and suffering, were much sought after.
In some cases, particularly cruel emperors were sending men to death only for their own caprice: it is known that Claudio order? get off to an official of the arena so? as it was (in toga), and Caligula invited? bestias to all visitors to a prison just because? lacked the meat for the animals.

Gladiators began his career by submitting (or being sold) to lanista. The activity? lanista of the Roman world was officially considered one of the most? base (below even the pimps, players and butchers), and he had a right to life and death on gladiators, who had to swear an oath by which they undertook to complete submission to be accepted into the school.
Gladiator swore to "bear the whips, brand, and death by the sword"; these terrible punishments were provided to suppress any hint of rebellion and to condition the minds of the combatants to? they are convinced that their only hope of salvation was to endure every test. The preparation lasted for years, since? the public had become very demanding, and only once this period I was ready to enter the Gladiator arena.
The training was done in the "Gymnasium", which is connected via an underground tunnel at the Coliseum. The gladiators were

categories: Retiarius, Secutores, Mirmilloni, Traci, and Dimachaeri each category had its own peculiarities?, Regarding the equipment and shots allowed and advantages and disadvantages. The fighting more? classical faced each other: the Retiarius Mirmilloni or against the Thracians against Secutores.
It then raced to find new ideas, drawing inspiration from mythological episodes, or search grotesque situations, such as that staged the emperor Domitian, in 90 women had to fight against dwarfs.

The Colosseum among the seven wonders of the world

Visita le settemeraviglieThe Colosseum has done it. On the night of July 7, 2007, in Lisbon, the famous Roman monument was proclaimed with six other great sites on the planet 'New Wonder' of the world after a survey sponsored by the Universal Swiss-Canadian filmmaker Bernard Weber, attended by 100 million people of all the continents according to organizers.

the Coliseum were elected New Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Wall of China, the ancient Jordanian city of Petra, the Statue of Christ Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru, Maya pyramid of Chichen Itza in Mexico, and the Taj Mahal (India). The proclamation of the 'New Seven Wonders' was made during a megaspettacolo Luz stadium, whose rights have been sold to dozens of stations, with a potential audience of 1.6 billion viewers. The date, 07/07/07, of course, was not chosen by chance: in fact all seven as the 'New Seven Wonders'.

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