Have you ever wondered what the Roman Colosseum was and what it was used for ? Maybe not, but it sure sounds like you from seeing it so much in movies, photos or video games.
Although today it is in ruins, it continues to impress us with its great size and beauty. Since 2007, it is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World .
If you look at the images and let your imagination run you can get an idea of what it was like 2000 years ago, so why not dive a little into its history?
The Romans liked to have fun!
As you know, one of the most important civilizations of antiquity was the Roman. For centuries the people of Rome conquered many territories and created a great empire that spread across part of Europe, Asia and Africa. This time is what we know as the Roman Empire .
At that time the emperors had all the power. One of the ways to demonstrate his greatness was by having huge and majestic buildings built in his domains, and especially in Rome, the capital of the Empire.
The inhabitants of Rome were very fond of shows and the emperors liked their people to be entertained. Just as we have cinemas, museums or amusement parks to have fun, they had special places to have fun: theaters to see dramatic plays, circuses for horse races, or amphitheaters to enjoy various festive activities.
Well, the Colosseum in Rome was a great Roman amphitheater, the largest and most important of all that have ever existed. It’s actually called the Flavian Amphitheater, but everyone knows it as the Roman Colosseum.
It was built by the Emperor Vespasian in 72 AD. C. and it was done in record time. In less than ten years it was finished!
What was the Colosseum like when it was built?
The Roman Colosseum, like all amphitheaters, had an oval shape and steps so that the public could see the performances well. It had seats for 55 thousand people! These are more or less the people that fit in today in many of the great soccer fields and believe me if I tell you that all the inhabitants of current cities such as Huesca or Segovia would enter inside.
The best place, the Tribune , was reserved for the Emperor and his family, while the other spectators were seated according to their level of wealth and importance. The poorest were at the highest point, which was logically the place from where it looked worst.
On the ground, covered with wood and sand, the different shows took place. As it was very hot in summer, the entire Colosseum was covered with a giant canvas to protect the public from the sun. The ancient Romans were very ingenious, don’t you think?
Under the ground were passageways, cages for animals and dungeons where prisoners who participated in them were locked. In the photographs you can see that this soil no longer exists and that is why we see the entire underground labyrinth.
Shows at the Colosseum
In the Colosseum the Romans enjoyed many different shows. One of the most incredible consisted of filling the ring with water to represent naval battles. Can you imagine ships inside the Colosseum? Well it was!
Wild animals fights were also organized (lions, panthers, elephants …) brought from far away places, or the poor prisoners were forced to face those fearsome beasts.
Of course, the main dish, as seen in Roman movies, were gladiatorial fights. Most of the men were slaves and prisoners who were forced to train very hard and to wield different weapons such as spears and swords.
Once prepared, they were forced to fight each other. For a gladiator, being victorious in such a tough confrontation was very important because he knew that it was the only way to save his life and also, he could be rewarded with freedom. His only option was to give it his all until the end.
The Roman Colosseum was used for many years for these purposes, but over time several earthquakes destroyed part of its structure. There came a time when it was not rebuilt and it was left in a dilapidated state. Many of the fallen stones were used for other buildings or were stolen by looters.
Now that you’ve learned so many things, would you like to travel to Rome, enter the famous Colosseum, and feel like an ancient Roman for a while? Who knows … Maybe one day you will have that opportunity!