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Roman Entertainment

The Colosseum and Theaters

The Colosseum and Theaters
Chariot Races
The Circus Maximus
Roman Baths

The Colosseum is the most famous monument of Ancient Rome. Its original name was the Flavian Amphitheatre. It was started by the Emperor Vespasian between 70 and 76 AD, and completed by his son Titus in 80 AD. The Colosseum was dedicated the year after Vespasian's death by Titus. They celebrated the opening by holding 100 days worth of games there. Vespasian wanted to build something for the people rather than for himself. It got its popular name, the Colosseum, because it was built near where Nero had erected a huge statue, or colossus of himself. It showed him as the god of the sun. It was 100 feet high, and it was the largest gilded bronze statue in antiquity. It was later moved away.

All over the empire, Romans enjoyed going to the theater to see concerts and plays, and to the stadium to watch chariot races and the amphitheater to watch bloody sports. Going to the amphitheater (Colosseum) was probably the most popular. Gladiatorial combats, fights with beasts and other fights were held in the Colosseum. The Colosseum was big enough to hold the whole population of a town--as many as 50,000 people would sometimes spend the whole day there watching sports.

The Colossuem

Fast Facts

The building required 100,000 cubic meters of marble, and 300 tons of iron to hold the Colosseum together.

The proper name of the Colosseum is not the Colosseum. It is the Flavian Ampitheatre.