The Colosseum Rome Italy




The Colosseum Rome Italy


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The Colosseum Rome Italy



A Roman amphitheatre was a Roman invention and was simply two theatres joined together therefore the shape of it was a oval and not a circle. 

History               - originally this was called the Flavian amphitheatre after the family of Emperors who made it.
of                        - it got the name Colosseum after the colossal statue of Nero that stood nearby. 
the                      - built on the site of a drained lake from Nero’s private gardens as a place of public entertainment. 
Colosseum        - the Colosseum represents a characteristic of the Flavian dynasty and that was restoring and maintaining                                     support for the emperor by returning to the public areas in the heart of Rome that Nero had used for his own                                 personal satisfaction.

Stages               - lake drained by Vespasian (founder of the Flavian dynasty).
of                        - Vespasian built the first two stories for VIP’s and the Imperial family,            
building                           - Titus built two more stories including an area where the poor could stand,
- Domitian finished it off with wooden seating for women and (possibly) the rooms and cells under the arena floor.

The                     - the floor of the Colosseum was elliptical and was 86m x 54m. 
Arena                  - arena floor covered with sand, sometimes coloured, to help hide/soak up the blood and for ease of cleaning.
                            - a system of winches and pullies helped to get caged wild animals up and onto the arena floor. 
- there were huge hinged platforms which could make scenery 5m high appear and disappear below the floor.
- the gladiators entered through one end of the arena and the dead were dragged out of the opposite end, the Porta Libitinania.  Libitina was the Roman goddess of the dead.
- the floor of the arena started 4m below the seating to protect the audience.

The                     -the structure of corridors and seating is 51m thick and sits on a two-stepped travertine base.
interior               - the problem of giving 50,000 spectators quick and orderly access to their seats was solved by giving a ticket
and                     with the number of the entrance way on the ground floor to be used to get them quickly to their seats.
seating               - encircling the main interior structure are vaulted walkways with 80 arched entrances leading out to it on ground level.  67 are numbered and this ensured the spectator could easily get to their own seat.
- the auditorium was divided horizontally into four zones and vertically by stairways and aisles to allow smooth flow of spectators to their seats.
- podium was the lowest level of seating and it was reserved for distinguished spectators like Senators, knights, Vestal virgins, members of the Imperial family.
- on the podium also sat the Emperor’s box which was entered through a triple archway.  Opposite the Emperors box sat the Consuls box.
- above the podium is the cavea where most of the seating (36 rows) was placed.  The cavea is spilt into two sections       - the first was a section of 20 rows of marble seats,
- the second is about 16 rows.
- men sat here with the least important men filling the top rows.
- the sections were further divided up into wedges by steps and aisles that lead down from the internal passages or vomitoria.
- at the top on a wall above a colonnade were the wooden seats for the women.
- the last level was at the very top where there was standing room for about 5,000 of the poorer classes of Rome.
- corridors and stairways inside the structure allowed the public to move freely.

Taking                - the problem of such a large structure being stable and supporting its own weight was
the                      solved by            - elliptical vaulted corridors formed vaults that could support a huge weight.
weight                                           - radial barrel vaults also took the weight from above and distributed it horizontally into
from                                              continuous archways.                                 
above                                            - arches and vaults inside the structure lightened the weight.
- the building materials were chosen for their strength and lightness, for example; concrete for the interior top two stories, concrete faced with brick where the pressure was greatest, upper seating made of wood, travertine for the outer wall, only the lower seating areas were made of marble.
- the angle of the seating (37 degrees) which was essential for viewing also helped to lessen the weight.

The                     - three tiers of arches held statues and were decorated with Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian engaged
exterior                            half -columns.  These columns bear no weight and serve no structural purpose. 
- the top (fourth) story was decorated with Corinthian pilasters, windows and shields. 
- the second and third levels held statues but none now survive.
- each story/each arch gets smaller as it goes higher (7.05m, 6.45m, then 6.4m)
- the top storey had corbels which held masts for the awning used to shade the audience.
- this awning was called the Velarium which be rolled out when needed.
- ropes supporting the awning were attached to masts and then winches fixed to a row of bollards surrounding the building.
- the foundations were made of concrete and were 52m wide and 12m deep.


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The Colosseum Rome Italy