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date: 29 January 2023



  • Ian Archibald Richmond
  •  and Janet DeLaine


The earliest surviving permanent amphitheatres are found in *Campania, the well-preserved example at *Pompeii, called spectacula by its builders (CIL 10. 852), being the only closely datable example (c.80 bce). At Rome, although gladiatorial games were held in the *forum Romanum from an early date with spectators accommodated in temporary wooden stands, the first permanent building was erected by T. *Statilius Taurus in the *Campus Martius only in 29 bce. Nero built a much larger wooden structure there, destroyed by the fire of ce 64. Rome finally gained a permanent, monumental amphitheatre with the *Colosseum. Amphitheatres are common in the western provinces from the late republic but are rarer in the east, where from the 2nd cent. ce onwards many *theatres were instead adapted for this purpose. The use of gladiatorial techniques for training the Roman army led to small amphitheatres also becoming a normal adjunct of military *camps, the earliest surviving examples being Augustan.


  • Roman Material Culture

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