Colosseum Facts

One of the most famous and ancient attractions not only in Rome, but throughout Italy is the Colosseum. Interesting facts about the Colosseum are known in all countries, even children. Roman Colosseum holds many secrets and interesting facts that can tell us a lot about the history and customs of ancient Rome. In this article, we have selected only the most interesting facts!

1.  The real name of the Colosseum is the Flavian Amphitheatre.

In Latin, the Colosseum was called Amphitheatrum Flavium. This name comes from the name of the Flavian dynasty of emperors, during whose reign the construction of the Colosseum took place. Construction began in 72 AD. by order of Vespasian, and ended in 80 under his son Emperor Titus. And in the interval from 81 to 96, Titus’ brother, Domitian, ruled the country.

2. Giant statue of Nero at the Colosseum

An equally interesting fact about the Colosseum is that at the first time after the construction of the amphitheater, there was a statue next to it called the Colossus of Nero. Its height was thirty-five meters. It was built of bronze by order of Emperor Nero. According to some historians, the amphitheater was named the Colosseum after the statue.

3. The Colosseum was built on the site of a former lake.

In 72 AD an artificial lake was drained, on the territory of which the Golden House of Nero was located. For this, the Romans used a very complex underground drainage drainage system, after which the place was filled up, by order of the emperor, the construction of an amphitheater began, the purpose of which was to entertain the people of Rome.

4. The construction of the Colosseum lasted 8 years.

The construction of the Colosseum lasted from 72 to 80 AD. For the construction, materials were used that remained after the destruction of the Golden House of Nero.

5. The largest ancient amphitheater.

The Colosseum is the largest amphitheater in the history of mankind. The building is completely built of monolithic concrete. Its height was 48-50 m. The arena had a width of 53.62 m and a length of 85.75 m.

The walls of the Colosseum were erected from large pieces or blocks of travertine stone, which was mined in the nearby city of Tivoli. The blocks were interconnected by steel ties with a total weight of approximately 300 tons, local tufa and bricks were also used for the internal parts.

6. Had 5 tiers and vip boxes.

Interesting facts about the Roman Colosseum report that it consisted of five tiers, as well as special separate boxes, on which only nobles could sit. The Colosseum had different areas for the rich and the poor. Walls were erected between the tiers. In addition, different staircases and entrances were intended for different categories of spectators.

7. The capacity of the Colosseum is 50,000 people.

Each spectator could count on a separate seat 35 cm wide. It is interesting that today not every modern stadium can simultaneously accommodate such a number of spectators – 50,000!

8. Carefully organized gladiator fights.

Interesting facts about the Colosseum in Rome, which have been preserved by history, say that a lot of time went into the preparation of gladiator fights, and all the details were thought out by the organizers very carefully. It is known that people for the role of gladiators were chosen according to body size, weight, experience, as well as combat skills and fighting characteristics. Often, the training of soldiers in special schools took several years.

9. Nearly 1 million animals killed

On the site of the Colosseum, it would be possible to make a real cemetery for animals, because for many centuries the arena was often used for hunting wild animals, as a result of which a huge number of “participants” of the performance died. More than 9,000 animals died during the opening of the arena. During the 123-day festival, held by order of Emperor Trajan, more than 11,000 animals were killed. According to historians, during the entire existence of the gladiatorial games, about 400,000 people died in the arena of the Colosseum, as well as more than 1 million animals.

10. Conducted naval battles

An interesting fact, but the Colosseum was the only amphitheater where the audience had the opportunity to see naval battles. During their holding, the arena was completely flooded and reconstructions of warships were used. Such shows were very expensive for the organizers.

11. The centuries-old desolation of the Colosseum

Over time, gladiator fights lost their former entertainment, and starting from the 5th century, the Roman Empire began to collapse. The Colosseum has ceased to be a venue for large-scale events. Natural phenomena such as earthquakes, lightning strikes, etc. also contributed to the destruction of the building. Was it only in the 18th century that representatives of the Catholic Church came to the conclusion that the Colosseum should be preserved.

12. Dismantled for building materials

Most of the majestic structure was used by the Romans for the construction of other buildings. So, marble and beautiful stones, which were once part of the Colosseum, became the walls of the Lateran Basilica, St. Peter’s Basilica, Palazzo Venezia and many other architectural objects.

13. Reconstruction underway

To date, active reconstruction is underway, but this requires a lot of money, which greatly slows down the process. One of the ancient, interesting and mysterious monuments of history and architecture is the Colosseum in Rome. Interesting facts about it attract the attention of hundreds of thousands of tourists who come from all over the world to admire the remnants of the former greatness of Ancient Rome, hiding many different stories, the tragedies of thousands of people, the fear and rage of wild animals, the manifestation of courage and the desire for life.

14. FILM “GLADIATOR” and the ROMAN COLOSSEUM.

All film fans know the Colosseum from the film “Gladiator”, and not only, because in 2000 the film grossed about 457,640,000 dollars at the worldwide box office, second only to “Mission Impossible II”. And all this thanks to the symbol of the Eternal City – the Colosseum. Although the shooting took place not in Rome. They began in January 1999, with exteriors filmed in Morocco, Tunisia, Italy and Malta, while interiors were filmed entirely in Los Angeles at Universal Pictures.
Director Ridley Scott and the director approached the municipality of Rome to film some of the fight scenes inside the real Colosseum, but the authorities refused because the Flavian Amphitheater was undergoing restoration at the time.
Interesting facts about Rome and the Colosseum, indicated in the film, which do not correspond to reality.

** In the film, the main Roman landmark is only referred to as the Colosseum, but this name dates back to the 11th century, during historical events it was called the Flavian Amphitheater.

** From the bird’s eye view of the film, recognizable monuments such as the Basilica of Maxentius and the Arch of Constantine, built only in the IV AD, a century after the events of the era of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus.

** The phrase: “Ave, Caesar, morituri te salutant” (translated from Latin “ Ave Caesar , those who go to death greet you!”) Was not pronounced by gladiators, but by those sentenced to death, as Suetonius points out to us.

*Marcus Aurelius, father of Commodus, kills his son by asphyxiation in the film. In historical reality, Marcus Aurelius dies from an illness (possibly from the same plague) in the fortress of Vindobona (modern Vienna) or in the city of Sirmium (today it is Serbia), on March 17, 180 AD.

** Emperor Marcus Aurelius was supposed to be younger, and in the film he is presented as an old man, who is almost dying.

** In the last scene, at dawn, behind the Colosseum you can see the lake of the Golden Palace of Nero. In fact, it didn’t exist back then. The reservoir was drained and filled with concrete in order to build the Colosseum on this site.

15. They wanted to turn the Colosseum into a cloth factory.

At the end of the 16th century, Pope Sixtus V wanted to convert the premises of the Colosseum into a cloth factory. He planned to organize living quarters on the upper tiers, and a workplace in the arena. However, the death that occurred in 1590 prevented him from carrying out his plans.