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The Colosseum of Rome is truly colossal - it stands 50 meters (165 feet) high and measures 185 meters (600 feet) long. It was large enough to hold 50,000 roaring spectators when it was inaugurated in 80 AD.
Today, it is one of the most dramatic, historic and recognized archaeological monuments on earth.
The picture on the upper right depicts the wonder in its youth. I drew and superimposed its awning over the Caen model. This illustrates how the Colosseum of Rome appeared when its massive awning was temporarily mounted to shield spectators on raining and hot sunny days.
Condition of today's
Colosseum of Rome
The wonder is in a partially ruined state, but it is in remarkable condition when you consider it was built nearly 2000 years ago.
Colosseum was built
The Flavian Roman emperors built the Colosseum of Rome for entertaining their subjects (and to distract their
minds from the woes of the time).
There were bloody contests pitting gladiators against gladiators - and against wild beasts. Even naval battles were staged in the Colosseum of Rome (the arena's floor was flooded for those events. Non-martial events were staged, too, including lavish theatrical productions and tamed animal acts.
Hollywood movies reinforced some widespread false impressions about the Colosseum of Rome.
Historians doubt that the wholesale martyring of Christians occurred there.
And, the image of lions eating the Christians before cheering crowds is likely fantasy.
Films have also bolstered the myth that thumbs down meant to kill the person in the arena. It was just the opposite in Roman times. Thumbs up signaled "kill him" and thumbs down, "spare him."
spelling is correct:
Colosseum? Coliseum? Colloseum?
All three are all correct. However, the first two spellings are more widely used.
Location in Italy
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Colosseum of Rome