The Roman Colosseum (also called Coliseum) is a huge ancient oval amphitheater, located just east of the Roman Forum in Rome, Italy. It is one of Italy's most famous tourist attractions. For hundreds of years the ancient Romans would gather at the Colosseum to watch gladiators battle, executions, plays, and spectacular shows like mock sea battles and reenactments of famous Roman battles. On this page are lists of interesting facts about the Roman Colosseum written for both kids and adults. This information includes when it was built, how it was constructed, and what condition it is in today.
The Roman Colosseum Description
The Roman Colosseum is 615 feet (189 meters) long and 510 feet (156 meters) wide.
The Colosseum was mainly built with travertine stone.
The Roman Colosseum has four stories. Each of the stories has a different order of architecture. The first floor is Doric, the second story Ionic, the third story Corinthian, and the fourth has a composite.
The building had a seating capacity of between 50,000 and 80,000 people.
The Colosseum was equipped with an awning (velarium) which stretched out over the seating areas to protect the audience from the hot sun.
The Colosseum's arena had a wooden floor which was covered with sand.
There were 36 trap doors in the floor of the Arena from which people and animals could be transported into or out of the arena.
The arena was separated from the seating by a 15-foot (4.57 meter) wall; which helped protect the audience from the wild animals often released in the arena.
Beneath the arena floor was an area called the Hypogeum (underground). This area had tunnels, animal pens, and large strong platforms which could raise people and animals to the arena level.
The Roman Colosseum Interesting Facts
The Roman Colosseum was the largest ancient amphitheater ever built.
The Roman Colosseum was commissioned by Emperor Vespasian around 70 A.D. and was completed in A.D. 80 by his son Emperor Titus.
The Romans named the Colosseum "Amphitheatrum Flavium"; which translates to Flavian Amphitheatre. The Flavian's were a dynasty of three successive emperors; Vespasian who commissioned the building, and his sons Titus and Domitian who completed the construction.
By the 6th century AD the Colosseum was no longer used for entertainment and had begun to fall into ruin. Over the centuries to follow its condition would worsen due to vandalism. The once magnificent structure was stripped of its marble, stone work, and bronze clamps which were used to hold its stone walls together.
After its glory days during the Roman Empire the Colosseum was used for various things including, as a fortress, for housing, home for a religious order, and a Christian church.
In 1349 the outer south wall of the Colosseum collapsed due to an earthquake.
After being abandoned around the 6th century AD numerous stones were removed from the Colosseum and used to build various structures around Rome, including St. Peter's Basilica, St. John Lateran, and the Palazzo Venezia.
In 1749, Pope Benedict XIV dedicated the Colosseum in memory of the Christians (martyrs) that were believed to have been executed there. There is however little historical evidence that Christians were ever actually killed there; although it is strongly believed this was the case.