The Colosseum
by: Ti. Dionysius Draco
The Forum Romanum, between the Palatine and Esquiline, nowadays the widest ruin field of Rome, was for about 1000 years the marketplace, place of council and justice of Rome. Over the centuries, it continually changed in appearance; every Roman ruler who considered himself of some importance, immortalised himself with an impressive edifice. Basilicś, temples, triumphal arches and monuments were erected in honour of many emperors. The at first so spatious Forum Romanum became overcrowded with magnificent buildings and decorations of marble and gold, that the first wide space had become unrecognisible.

In the sixth century CE, most of the monuments began to decay. Some of them were turned into christian churches, others were used for materials for other buildings, or had their precious marble burnt to lime. A similar fate struck the Colosseum. This name would have been derived from the nearby statue of Nero, or the enormous measures of the Amphitheatrum Flavium, which was its actual name. This threatre, back then (and still) the largest theatre in the world, was finished in 80 CE. The opening festivals lasted for hundred days, during which the gladiators killed 5000 wild animals. Battles, war games, animal hunts, sea battles and public executions of 10 000 christians were organised in the Colosseum, to recreate the people. Ludwig Friedlšnder states: There is hardly a known manner of torture or horrible way of dying that wasn't being executed in the amphitheatre.

The Amphitheatrum Flavium had four floors, and was built in an elliptic form. In case of too much sun, or rain, it could be covered by tent sheets. For four centuries, it was the centre of Roman munera or gladiatorial combats. Until 1000 CE, the walls of the Colosseum remained untouched. The Romans believed that when the Colosseum would fall, Rome would undergo the same fate soon, but this prediction proved to be untrue when it was used as a stone quarry. When this was stopped, only the ruins we see today remained, which still testifies of the power and greatness of Rome.

The Colosseum in Rome
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