Friday, September 10, 2010

colosseum-rome


The Colosseum or, The Coliseum, originally the Flavian Amphitheatre (LatinAmphitheatrum FlaviumItalian Anfiteatro Flavio or Colosseo), is an ellipticalamphitheatre in the center of the city of RomeItaly, the largest ever built in the Roman Empire. It is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture andRoman engineering.

Occupying a site just east of the Roman Forum, its construction started between 70 and 72 AD[1] under the emperor Vespasian and was completed in 80 AD underTitus,[2] with further modifications being made during Domitian's reign (81–96).[3] The name "Amphitheatrum Flavium" derives from both Vespasian's and Titus's family name (Flavius, from the gens Flavia).
Capable of seating 50,000 spectators,[1][4][5] the Colosseum was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts,executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. The building ceased to be used for entertainment in the early medieval era. It was later reused for such purposes as housing, workshops, quarters for a religious order, a fortress, a quarry, and a Christian shrine.
The Colosseum underwent several radical changes of use during the medieval period. By the late 6th century a small church had been built into the structure of the amphitheatre, though this apparently did not confer any particular religious significance on the building as a whole. The arena was converted into a cemetery. The numerous vaulted spaces in the arcades under the seating were converted into housing and workshops, and are recorded as still being rented out as late as the 12th century. Around 1200 the Frangipani family took over the Colosseum and fortified it, apparently using it as a castle.
Severe damage was inflicted on the Colosseum by the great earthquake in 1349, causing the outer south side, lying on a less stable alluvional terrain, to collapse. Much of the tumbled stone was reused to build palaces, churches, hospitals and other buildings elsewhere in Rome. A religious order moved into the northern third of the Colosseum in the mid-14th century and continued to inhabit it until as late as the early 19th century. The interior of the amphitheatre was extensively stripped of stone, which was reused elsewhere, or (in the case of the marble façade) was burned to make quicklime.[12] The bronze clamps which held the stonework together were pried or hacked out of the walls, leaving numerous pockmarks which still scar the building today.

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