The ancient building for mass shows - the Colosseum, located at the base of two of the seven heights of the city - the Capitol and the Palatine, is considered one of the symbols of Ancient Rome, and since 1979 has been under the protection of the UNESCO organization.
This article contains interesting facts about the Colosseum, one of the most popular architectural monuments of the culture of the Roman Empire.
The Colosseum may not have been built, but the Roman emperor Flavius Titus Vespasian (senior) decided to eliminate the traces of the rule of Claudius Nero.
The construction of the structure began on the site of a reservoir with swans in 70. The Colosseum was opened in 80, during the reign of the son of Titus, who was the representative of the Flavians (dynasty of emperors). Therefore, the Colosseum was often referred to in historical documents as the "Flavian Amphitheater".
By order of Nero, the architect Zenodoros made a sculpture in the imperial honor in the image of the Colossus of Rhodes (a large-sized statue of the sun god - Helios) and received the name "Colossus of Nero".
Initially, the Colossus was installed in the palace of Nero. After the death of Nero, the Emperor Hadrian erected a stone foundation near the Colosseum, on which the statue transferred from the palace was placed. The sculpture itself has not survived to this day, and the marble pedestal was removed from the Colosseum square in 1930.
Most of the amphitheaters in ancient Greece were built by excavating a certain area on the hillsides. The elliptical Colosseum was built of stone.
The Colosseum was built for all the Romans, but the wealthy class was seated separately from the rest of the poor in Rome. The amphitheater could accommodate 50 thousand people.
A popular entertainment for the Romans was gladiatorial battles, in which criminals, slaves, and prisoners of war were forced to participate. But also volunteers took part in this type of competition.
In addition to fights between people, fights with animals were arranged. The gladiator, in order to stay alive and be the winner, had to kill a wild beast released from the cage into the arena. Ancient chroniclers noted that during the grand opening of the Colosseum, which lasted 123 days, about 11 thousand animals were killed in the arena: elephants, tigers, lions, bears, and buffaloes.
During the reign of Emperor Troyan, about 40 thousand people died in gladiatorial battles and in battles with animals. Among them, Christians were thrown into the arena, who at that time were considered to be responsible for the beginning of the decline of the Roman Empire.
Until the reign of the youngest son of the emperor Vespasian, before the underground floor was built under the Colosseum, the arena was flooded to a depth of one meter, and the arena turned into a pool, where imitation of sea battles (naumachia) took place for the entertainment of the public. For this, a water supply channel (aqueduct) was built.
According to historical documents, when the Roman Empire collapsed, the Colosseum in the 5th century ceased to play the role of a place for various kinds of social events and gradually collapsed. After the earthquake in 847, beautiful marble and brick were used for the construction of church buildings, and the Romans used the cellars for growing vegetables.
Most of the marble was used to clad the outer façade of Peter's Cathedral in the Vatican.
For the first time, the priests of the Catholic Church started talking about the Colosseum as a historical monument of world culture in the 18th century.
Pope Benedict XIV decided to consider the Colosseum a holy place. After that, the restoration of the amphitheater began, which has been open to tourists since 2000 and is considered the most visited monument of world culture.
Another interesting fact is the quote, which was expressed by the English chronicler, the monk Venerable Bede in one of his works that if the Colosseum falls, then Rome itself will follow.