Interesting facts about the Coliseum
The ancient building for mass shows – the Colosseum, located at the base of two of the seven hills of the city – the Capitol and the Palatine, is considered one of the symbols of Ancient Rome, and since 1979 it has been protected by UNESCO.
HISTORICAL FACTS ABOUT WHICH YOU PROBABLY DO NOT KNOW:
The Colosseum might not have been built, but the Roman emperor Flavius Titus Vespasian (senior) decided to eliminate the traces of the reign of Claudius Nero. Construction began on the site of a pond with swans in the year 70. The opening of the Coliseum was in the year 80, under the rule of the son of Titus, who was the representative of Flavius (dynasty of emperors). Therefore, often in historical documents the Colosseum was called as “Flavian Amphitheater.”
By order of Nero, the architect Zenodor 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 was called the Colossus of Nero. In the beginning, the Colossus was installed in the palace of Nero. After the death of Nero, Emperor Hadrian built a stone base near the Coliseum, on which a statue transferred from the palace was placed. The sculpture itself has not been preserved to our time, and the pedestal, lined with marble, was removed from the Coliseum in 1930.
Most of the amphitheaters in ancient Greece were built by digging a certain area on the hillsides. The elliptical coliseum was made of stone.
A coliseum was built for all the Romans, but a wealthy estate was seated separately from the rest of the poor population of Rome. The amphitheater accommodated 50 thousand people.
A popular attraction for the Romans was gladiatorial battles, in which criminals, slaves, 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. To stay alive and be a winner, the gladiator had to kill a wild beast released from the cage into the arena. Ancient chroniclers noted that during the grand opening of the Coliseum, which lasted 123 days, about 11 thousand animals were killed in the arena: elephants, tigers, lions, bears, 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 the culprits of the beginning of the decline of the Roman Empire.
Before the reign of the youngest son of Emperor Vespasian, before the underground floor was built near the Colosseum, the arena was flooded to a depth of one meter with water, and the playpen turned into a swimming pool, where for the amusement of the public an imitation of sea battles took place (naumahiya). For this, a channel for supplying water (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 social events and gradually collapsed. Beautiful marble and brick after the earthquake in 847 was used for the construction of church buildings, and the Romans used cellars for growing vegetables.
The main part of the marble was used to clad the external facade of the Peter Cathedral in the Vatican.
For the first time, the Colosseum, as a historical monument of world culture, was spoken by the priests of the Catholic Church 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 made by the English chronicler, the monk Beda Venerable in one of his works that if the Colosseum falls, then Rome itself will follow.
The Colosseum is certainly not the only one, but it is undoubtedly one of the most significant and majestic places of the “eternal” Rome.