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date: 27 October 2020

Colosseumlocked

  • Ian Archibald Richmond,
  • Donald Emrys Strong
  •  and Janet DeLaine

Extract

The medieval name of the Amphitheatrum Flavium, near the colossus of Nero on the site of the lake of Nero's *Domus Aurea. Begun by Vespasian, it was continued by Titus, and dedicated in June ce 80. Domitian was probably responsible only for the complex substructures of the arena. The building measures 188×156 m. (205×170 yds.) along the axes, and is 52 m. (170 ft.) high. The travertine façade has three storeys of superimposed arcades framed by half columns of the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders, surmounted by a masonry attic decorated with Corinthian pilasters on a low podium; there are windows in the podium and in the spaces between the pilasters, alternating with bronze shields. There were also mast-corbels for the awning, worked by sailors. The seating, supported by concrete vaults, was in three tiers, with standing room above it. The arena was cut off by a fence and a high platform carrying marble chairs for guilds and officials, including boxes for the emperor and magistrates on the short axis. The arena was floored in timber, covering cages for beasts, mechanical elevators, and drains. Audiences, estimated at 50,000, were marshalled outside the building in an area bordered by bollards, and held tickets corresponding to the 76 numbered arcades, whence an elaborate system of staircases serviced all parts of the auditorium.

Subjects

  • Greek and Roman Archaeology

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