Every country has a special building which is regarded as a symbol of it. In France, it is the Eiffel Tower. In Egypt, it is the Great Pyramid of Giza. In Rome, it is, without doubt, the Coliseum. This Amphitheatre was a mute witness of emperors’ greatness, gladiators’ suffering, and common people great work and admiration. It can be assumed that the Coliseum is a true soul of Rome. The proof of it can be found in the analysis of history of its creation, general appearance, and functionality.
History of the Coliseum Creation
The person, who started working on the Coliseum, was Emperor Vespasian (around AD 72). He was the first Roman emperor who moved out of his palace and concentrated on building public projects. During his ruling, Vespasian had had many achievements in the sphere of the Coliseum. He built a large temple to Pox (Peace), the centerpiece of a new amphitheatre. Vespasian also re–erected a colossal statue of the Coliseum – the statue of Nero. The next emperor who continued working on the Coliseum was Titus, the son of Vespasian. He completed the building with a set of baths. The Arch of Titus at the entrance to the Coliseum became the symbol of the Flavians’ military power in the battle with Jerusalem. The official opening ceremony of the Coliseum was held around AD 72. It was rich in different lavish shows, which demonstrated Titus’ generosity and care for the plebs. Almost 100 days of the games were held in honor of this event.
Nevertheless, it is necessary not to underestimate the input of ordinary people in the creation of the Coliseum. Without their hard work, it was impossible to build such an immense building within 8 years. Moreover, without concrete, a construction material discovered by Roman builders, neither the Coliseum nor other building would have a chance to appear. Taking into consideration the history of the Coliseum creation, it become clear that is reflects the most prominent feature of Roman life – the collaboration between powerful emperors who desired majesty and their citizens who brought this dream into life.
Appearance of the Roman Coliseum
Architecturally, the Coliseum is an ellipse measuring 617 ft (188 m) on the long axis, 512 ft (156 m) on the cross axis and 159 ft (48.5 m) in height, while the arena floor, also an ellipse, measures 282 ft (86 m) by 177 ft (54 m). The facade presents a four–story building. Lower three stories consist of eighty arches in an arcade. The arches are separated by half columns carved in the blocks: Tuscan on the first floor, Ionic on the second, and Corinthian on the third one. In general, the facade of the Coliseum can be described as a very traditional one. Nevertheless, it is not true about the interior because of implementing the concrete construction consisting of concrete piers and vaults, the seating area of the building has the unprecedented size. The network of tunnels connected by stairs enable approximately 45, 000 – 55,000 visitors to move freely inside the building. In addition, as the Coliseum is provided with 76 entrances for common spectators and 4 additional entrances for VIPs (emperor, gladiators), the crowd can easily exit the building in five minutes. It makes the interior of the Coliseum real breakthrough, even in comparison with modern stadiums. Moreover, the combination of traditional fa?ade with innovative interior reveals the two-sided nature of Romans – the dedication to following traditions and, at the same time, the desire to impress the whole world with their innovative greatness.
Functionality of the Coliseum
The most common attraction taken place at the Coliseum was gladiatorial games. During them, gladiators, the strongest warriors of the Roman army, showed their courage in the battle with different dangerous animals brought from different provinces of the Roman Empire. Although these games were very evil and bloody, almost all Romans liked them. Moreover, they were ready to spend their fortune on this attraction. It was estimated that the amount of money spent on NFL games is equal to the amount of money spent on gladiatorial games. It reveals the particular feature of Romans – the unprecedented courage of warriors and love of the spectacles.
In addition, the Coliseum performed even secret functions. One of them was the social differentiation of spectators. People of different social status had different places in the Coliseum. For example, women and the poor could sit only at the top level. The men of prestigious professions could enjoy the best view from the seats situated closer to the actions. The other function was a time machine. With the help of performances, it was possible to stage famous Roman battles. For example, occasionally, an emperor partially flooded the Coliseum enabling people to reenact Roman naval victories.
To sum up, the Coliseum is one of the most famous buildings of the Roman Empire. It is not only from the point of view of tourist attractions but also from the ability to reveal the soul of Romans. The analysis of the Coliseum history, appearance, and functionality helps to characterize Romans as those who obeyed the power of majestic emperors and could perform immense tasks under their ruling. They followed the traditions, impressed the whole world with innovations, devoted their life to courageous deeds, enjoyed the spectacles, knew their places in the social ladder, and adored the history of their country.
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