Print this page Introduction Even today, in a world of skyscrapers, the Colosseum is hugely impressive. It stands as a glorious but troubling monument to Roman imperial power and cruelty.
Construction, inauguration, and Roman renovations Colosseum Sestertius of Titus celebrating the inauguration of the Colosseum minted 80 AD. A map of central Rome during the Roman Empire, with the Colosseum at the upper right corner The site chosen was a flat area on the floor of a low valley between the CaelianEsquiline and Palatine Hillsthrough which a canalised stream ran.
By the 2nd century BC the area was densely inhabited. It was devastated by the Great Fire of Rome in AD 64, following which Nero seized much of the area to add to his personal domain.
He built the grandiose Domus Aurea on the site, in front of which he created an artificial lake surrounded by pavilions, gardens and porticoes. The existing Aqua Claudia aqueduct was extended to supply water to the area and the gigantic bronze Colossus of Nero was set up nearby at the entrance to the Domus Aurea.
The lake was filled in and the land reused as the location for the new Flavian Amphitheatre. Gladiatorial schools and other support buildings were constructed nearby within the former grounds of the Domus Aurea.
In contrast to many other amphitheatres, which were located on the outskirts of a city, the Colosseum was constructed in the city centre; in effect, placing it both symbolically and precisely at the heart of Rome.
The slaves undertook manual labor such as working in the quarries at Tivoli where the travertine was quarried, along with lifting and transporting the quarried stones 20 miles from Tivoli to Rome.
The top level was finished by his son, Titusin 80,  and the inaugural games were held in A. Commemorative coinage was issued celebrating the inauguration. He also added a gallery to the top of the Colosseum to increase its seating capacity. It was not fully repaired until about and underwent further repairs in or and again in Gladiatorial fights are last mentioned around An inscription records the restoration of various parts of the Colosseum under Theodosius II and Valentinian III reigned —possibly to repair damage caused by a major earthquake in ; more work followed in  and The arena continued to be used for contests well into the 6th century.
Animal hunts continued until at leastwhen Anicius Maximus celebrated his consulship with some venationescriticised by King Theodoric the Great for their high cost. By the late 6th century a small chapel had been built into the structure of the amphitheater, though this apparently did not confer any particular religious significance on the building as a whole.
The arena was converted into a cemetery. The numerous vaulted spaces in the arcades under the seating were converted into housing and workshops, and are recorded as still being rented out as late as the 12th century.
Around the Frangipani family took over the Colosseum and fortified it, apparently using it as a castle. Severe damage was inflicted on the Colosseum by the great earthquake incausing the outer south side, lying on a less stable alluvial terrain, to collapse.
Much of the tumbled stone was reused to build palaces, churches, hospitals and other buildings elsewhere in Rome. A religious order moved into the northern third of the Colosseum in the midth century  and continued to inhabit it until as late as the early 19th century.
Modern The Colosseum in a engraving by Giovanni Battista Piranesi view by Giovanni Paolo Paniniemphasizing the semi-rural environs of the Colosseum at the time During the 16th and 17th century, Church officials sought a productive role for the Colosseum.
Allied troops consult a guidebook outside the Colosseum after liberation in InPope Benedict XIV endorsed the view that the Colosseum was a sacred site where early Christians had been martyred.
He forbade the use of the Colosseum as a quarry and consecrated the building to the Passion of Christ and installed Stations of the Crossdeclaring it sanctified by the blood of the Christian martyrs who perished there see Significance in Christianity.
The arena substructure was partly excavated in — and and was fully exposed under Benito Mussolini in the s.What were the various purposes and the significances of the Colosseum to Rome and Roman culture?
The Roman Colosseum was more than a mere colossal monument. It served many purposes and held significance not just culturally but both architecturally and politically.
Mar 22, · The ordered beauty of the Colosseum is in stark contrast to the murderous encounters that took place within it. Find a seat not too close to the action, for an inkling of what Romans got up to, in. Sep 03, · Watch video · Located just east of the Roman Forum, the massive stone amphitheater known as the Colosseum was commissioned around A.D.
The name Colosseum is believed to be derived from a colossal statue of Nero nearby. This statue was later remodeled by Nero's successors into the likeness of Helios (Sol) or Apollo, the sun god, by adding the appropriate solar crown.
Nero's head was also replaced . The Colosseum was used for gladiatorial combat until about A.D. and wild animal hunts continued until the early 6th Century. Beyond the 6th Century the Roman .