Located in the heart of Rome, the Colosseum is an oval amphitheater that was completed in 80 AD. It was originally used for public spectacles, the most notable being gladiatorial contests, reenactments of famous battles, animal hunts, and dramas. Despite substantial destruction by numerous earthquakes and stone robbers, the Colosseum is one of the most popular attractions in Italy and Europe.
Here are 10 interesting Colosseum facts that you should know about this iconic landmark.
9 Interesting Colosseum Facts
1. It is the largest amphitheater in the world
Despite being almost 2000 years old, the Colosseum is the largest amphitheater in the world today. It measures 50 meters high, 189 meters long, and 156 meters wide, and could seat between 50,000 and 80,000 people.
2. About 100,000 people were employed for its construction
It is estimated that between 60,000 and 100,000 people were involved in the construction of the Colosseum. Most of these were slaves from Jerusalem after the Romans won the Jewish-Roman War and ransacked the Jewish Temple of Jerusalem.
3. A lot of deaths took place in the arena
It is estimated that around 1 million animals died in the arena and about 400,000 gladiators fought to their deaths. During certain games or events held by the emperors, up to 10,000 animals would be killed in one day.
4. Free for all!
All major events in the Colosseum were free to attend. The cost was borne by the Roman Emperors in order to gain popularity with the people. Sometimes free food was also available to all the visitors.
5. It contains numerous underground rooms and passages
There are numerous underground rooms and passages below the Colosseum, which is called the Hypogeum. The animals and gladiators were kept here before their fights. There were 80 vertical shafts that led from the Hypogeum to the arena. The arena also features 36 trap doors that were used for special effects.
6. Contests took place over 100 days
The games sometimes went on for 100 days! Eventually, however, the contests no longer involved the killing of animals and gladiator fights. The last gladiator fights were held in 435 AD and the last animal hunts were in 532 AD.
7. It was destroyed by natural disasters
The Colosseum has been severely damaged by at least 3 massive fires and 4 earthquakes. It has undergone multiple repairs and renovations to restore it back to its glory over the years.
8. Travertine stone was used to build the Colosseum
The material used to build the Colosseum is travertine stone, which was mined at Tivoli, located about 20 miles away. It is estimated that 100,000 cubic meters of travertine were required to construct this massive amphitheater.
9. It was built by Vesuvius and Titus
The Colosseum construction was first commissioned by Emperor Vesuvius in 72 AD. However, Vesuvius died in 79 AD before the construction was complete. His son Titus completed the last level and the Colosseum held its inaugural games somewhere between 80 AD and 81 AD.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Colosseum Facts
A. The Colosseum is an ancient amphitheater located in the heart of Rome.
A. Despite being nearly 2000 years old, the Colosseum is the largest amphitheater ever built by humans.
A. The Colosseum is located at the center of the city of Rome, in Italy.
A. The Colosseum was built between the years 72 AD and 80 AD.
A. The inaugural games at the Colosseum were held between 80 AD and 81 AD.
A. Emperor Vespasian started building the Colosseum. He died in 79 AD before the top level was finished. His son, Emperor Titus completed the top level.
A. The interiors of the Colosseum feature a massive seating area, capable of housing 85,000 people and an arena that was 83 meters long and 48 meters wide.
A. The Colosseum is famous for holding gladiatorial contests back in the era of
ancient Roman Emperors. It is also known for holding numerous festivals, performances, and plays in the arena.