Ancient Roman Coliseum (DOC)

Document Sample
Ancient Roman Coliseum (DOC) Powered By Docstoc
					Ancient Roman Coliseum
Ancient Rome was the dominant power for hundreds of years and left a mark on the word. The
ancient Roman Coliseum is the single structure that most exemplifies this fact.

Ancient Roman Coliseum

Perhaps the most well-known of all of the structures in Rome, the ancient Roman Coliseum is
an important part of the history of the Roman Empire. This structure, built in the 70's AD, was
once the most important site in all of Rome, and also the largest amphitheater built in the
Empire. Holding up to 70,000 spectators, ruins of the Coliseum still stand today as a testament
to its powerful status in Rome.

The ancient Roman Coliseum was originally known as the Flavian Amphitheater, and was built
during the reign of emperors Vespasian and his son Titus. Building on the Coliseum started in
the year 72 AD, and was completed in the year 80 AD. The amphitheater was constructed in the
location of emperor Nero's lake below the site of his massive palace. The Coliseum was
continuously used until the year 217, when a lightning strike caused a fire at the site, causing
damage. The amphitheater was repaired by the year 238, and after this gladiators fought here
until Christianity ruled the practice was not to be continued. By 508, the Coliseum was in
disrepair, in part because of two massive earthquakes that hit the structure.

By the Middle Ages, the structure had been hit by even more earthquakes, and was eventually
converted into a fortress. A Christian church was even constructed in a small corner of the
ancient Roman Coliseum. The original marble outer covering was removed bit by bit, and
reused in constructions of other buildings and palaces nearby, and in some cases, burned to
produce quicklime. In the Middle Ages is also when the Coliseum gained its name, which is said
to have been taken from a colossus, or large statue, of Nero that was located near the structure.
The former name of the site, the Flavian Amphitheater, became disused and is hardly known at
this time.

At the present, the ruins of the ancient Roman Coliseum still stand in Rome. The arena floor no
longer exists, but there are still parts of the walls, the underground structures known as the
hypogeum, and the 80 separate entrances are still evidenced. Additional buildings were built
around the Coliseum to support the site, and there are still parts of these buildings that are
standing - such as the armory and gladiator training schools.

The Coliseum will continue to be a source of speculation and much study for years to come. We
have learned a lot about the history of the structure, but there is still more to learn. Even now,
the flora and plant life of the Coliseum holds much mystery, as there have been 684 species of
plants discovered there since the 1600's and still more appear. This structure has not yet
yielded all of its secrets to the world.