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The top level was finished by his son, Titus , in 80,  and the inaugural games were held in 80 or 81 AD. Commemorative coinage was issued celebrating the inauguration.
He also added a gallery to the top of the Colosseum to increase its seating capacity. In , the Colosseum was badly damaged by a major fire caused by lightning, according to Dio Cassius  which destroyed the wooden upper levels of the amphitheatre's interior.
It was not fully repaired until about and underwent further repairs in or and again in Gladiatorial fights are last mentioned around The arena continued to be used for contests well into the 6th century.
Animal hunts continued until at least , when Anicius Maximus celebrated his consulship with some venationes , criticised by King Theodoric the Great for their high cost.
The Colosseum underwent several radical changes of use. By the late 6th century a small chapel had been built into the structure of the amphitheater, 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 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 , causing the outer south side, lying on a less stable alluvial 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 midth century  and continued to inhabit it until as late as the early 19th century.
During the 16th and 17th century, Church officials sought a productive role for the Colosseum. Pope Sixtus V — planned to turn the building into a wool factory to provide employment for Rome's prostitutes, though this proposal fell through with his premature death.
He forbade the use of the Colosseum as a quarry and consecrated the building to the Passion of Christ and installed Stations of the Cross , declaring it sanctified by the blood of the Christian martyrs who perished there see Significance in Christianity.
However, there is no historical evidence to support Benedict's claim, nor is there even any evidence that anyone before the 16th century suggested this might be the case; the Catholic Encyclopedia concludes that there are no historical grounds for the supposition, other than the reasonably plausible conjecture that some of the many martyrs may well have been.
Later popes initiated various stabilization and restoration projects, removing the extensive vegetation which had overgrown the structure and threatened to damage it further.
The arena substructure was partly excavated in — and and was fully exposed under Benito Mussolini in the s. The Colosseum is today one of Rome's most popular tourist attractions, receiving millions of visitors annually.
In recent years, the Colosseum has become a symbol of the international campaign against capital punishment, which was abolished in Italy in Several anti—death penalty demonstrations took place in front of the Colosseum in Since that time, as a gesture against the death penalty, the local authorities of Rome change the color of the Colosseum's night time illumination from white to gold whenever a person condemned to the death penalty anywhere in the world gets their sentence commuted or is released,  or if a jurisdiction abolishes the death penalty.
Most recently, the Colosseum was illuminated in gold in November following the abolishment of capital punishment in the American state of Connecticut in April Because of the ruined state of the interior, it is impractical to use the Colosseum to host large events; only a few hundred spectators can be accommodated in temporary seating.
However, much larger concerts have been held just outside, using the Colosseum as a backdrop. Unlike earlier Greek theatres that were built into hillsides, the Colosseum is an entirely free-standing structure.
It derives its basic exterior and interior architecture from that of two Roman theatres back to back. The outer wall is estimated to have required over , cubic metres 3,, cubic feet of travertine stone which were set without mortar; they were held together by tons of iron clamps.
The north side of the perimeter wall is still standing; the distinctive triangular brick wedges at each end are modern additions, having been constructed in the early 19th century to shore up the wall.
The remainder of the present-day exterior of the Colosseum is in fact the original interior wall. The arcades are framed by half-columns of the Doric , Ionic , and Corinthian orders, while the attic is decorated with Corinthian pilasters.
Two hundred and forty mast corbels were positioned around the top of the attic. They originally supported a retractable awning , known as the velarium , that kept the sun and rain off spectators.
This consisted of a canvas-covered, net-like structure made of ropes, with a hole in the center. Sailors, specially enlisted from the Roman naval headquarters at Misenum and housed in the nearby Castra Misenatium , were used to work the velarium.
The Colosseum's huge crowd capacity made it essential that the venue could be filled or evacuated quickly. Its architects adopted solutions very similar to those used in modern stadiums to deal with the same problem.
The amphitheatre was ringed by eighty entrances at ground level, 76 of which were used by ordinary spectators. The northern main entrance was reserved for the Roman Emperor and his aides, whilst the other three axial entrances were most likely used by the elite.
All four axial entrances were richly decorated with painted stucco reliefs, of which fragments survive. Spectators were given tickets in the form of numbered pottery shards, which directed them to the appropriate section and row.
They accessed their seats via vomitoria singular vomitorium , passageways that opened into a tier of seats from below or behind.
These quickly dispersed people into their seats and, upon conclusion of the event or in an emergency evacuation, could permit their exit within only a few minutes.
The name vomitoria derived from the Latin word for a rapid discharge, from which English derives the word vomit. According to the Codex-Calendar of , the Colosseum could accommodate 87, people, although modern estimates put the figure at around 50, They were seated in a tiered arrangement that reflected the rigidly stratified nature of Roman society.
Special boxes were provided at the north and south ends respectively for the Emperor and the Vestal Virgins , providing the best views of the arena.
Flanking them at the same level was a broad platform or podium for the senatorial class, who were allowed to bring their own chairs.
The names of some 5th century senators can still be seen carved into the stonework, presumably reserving areas for their use.
The tier above the senators, known as the maenianum primum , was occupied by the non-senatorial noble class or knights equites.
The next level up, the maenianum secundum , was originally reserved for ordinary Roman citizens plebeians and was divided into two sections.
The lower part the immum was for wealthy citizens, while the upper part the summum was for poor citizens. Specific sectors were provided for other social groups: for instance, boys with their tutors, soldiers on leave, foreign dignitaries, scribes, heralds, priests and so on.
Stone and later marble seating was provided for the citizens and nobles, who presumably would have brought their own cushions with them.
Inscriptions identified the areas reserved for specific groups. Another level, the maenianum secundum in legneis , was added at the very top of the building during the reign of Domitian.
This comprised a gallery for the common poor, slaves and women. It would have been either standing room only, or would have had very steep wooden benches.
Some groups were banned altogether from the Colosseum, notably gravediggers, actors and former gladiators. Each tier was divided into sections maeniana by curved passages and low walls praecinctiones or baltei , and were subdivided into cunei , or wedges, by the steps and aisles from the vomitoria.
Each row gradus of seats was numbered, permitting each individual seat to be exactly designated by its gradus, cuneus, and number.
The hypogeum was not part of the original construction but was ordered to be built by Emperor Domitian. Little now remains of the original arena floor, but the hypogeum is still clearly visible.
It consisted of a two-level subterranean network of tunnels and cages beneath the arena where gladiators and animals were held before contests began.
Eighty vertical shafts provided instant access to the arena for caged animals and scenery pieces concealed underneath; larger hinged platforms, called hegmata , provided access for elephants and the like.
It was restructured on numerous occasions; at least twelve different phases of construction can be seen. The hypogeum was connected by tunnels to a number of points outside the Colosseum.
Animals and performers were brought through the tunnel from nearby stables, with the gladiators' barracks at the Ludus Magnus to the east also being connected by tunnels.
Separate tunnels were provided for the Emperor and the Vestal Virgins to permit them to enter and exit the Colosseum without needing to pass through the crowds.
Substantial quantities of machinery also existed in the hypogeum. Elevators and pulleys raised and lowered scenery and props, as well as lifting caged animals to the surface for release.
There is evidence for the existence of major hydraulic mechanisms  and according to ancient accounts, it was possible to flood the arena rapidly, presumably via a connection to a nearby aqueduct.
However, the construction of the hypogeum at Domitian's behest put an end to the practise of flooding, and thus also to naval battles, early in the Colosseum's existence.
The Colosseum and its activities supported a substantial industry in the area. In addition to the amphitheatre itself, many other buildings nearby were linked to the games.
Immediately to the east is the remains of the Ludus Magnus , a training school for gladiators. This was connected to the Colosseum by an underground passage, to allow easy access for the gladiators.
The Ludus Magnus had its own miniature training arena, which was itself a popular attraction for Roman spectators. Other training schools were in the same area, including the Ludus Matutinus Morning School , where fighters of animals were trained, plus the Dacian and Gallic Schools.
Also nearby were the Armamentarium , comprising an armory to store weapons; the Summum Choragium , where machinery was stored; the Sanitarium , which had facilities to treat wounded gladiators; and the Spoliarium , where bodies of dead gladiators were stripped of their armor and disposed of.
Various explanations have been advanced for their presence; they may have been a religious boundary, or an outer boundary for ticket checks, or an anchor for the velarium or awning.
Right next to the Colosseum is also the Arch of Constantine. The Colosseum was used to host gladiatorial shows as well as a variety of other events.
The shows, called munera , were always given by private individuals rather than the state. They had a strong religious element but were also demonstrations of power and family prestige, and were immensely popular with the population.
Another popular type of show was the animal hunt, or venatio. This utilized a great variety of wild beasts, mainly imported from Africa and the Middle East, and included creatures such as rhinoceros , hippopotamuses , elephants , giraffes , aurochs , wisents , Barbary lions , panthers , leopards , bears , Caspian tigers , crocodiles and ostriches.
Battles and hunts were often staged amid elaborate sets with movable trees and buildings. Such events were occasionally on a huge scale; Trajan is said to have celebrated his victories in Dacia in with contests involving 11, animals and 10, gladiators over the course of days.
During lunch intervals, executions ad bestias would be staged. Those condemned to death would be sent into the arena, naked and unarmed, to face the beasts of death which would literally tear them to pieces.
Other performances would also take place by acrobats and magicians, typically during the intervals. During the early days of the Colosseum, ancient writers recorded that the building was used for naumachiae more properly known as navalia proelia or simulated sea battles.
Accounts of the inaugural games held by Titus in AD 80 describe it being filled with water for a display of specially trained swimming horses and bulls.
There is also an account of a re-enactment of a famous sea battle between the Corcyrean Corfiot Greeks and the Corinthians.
This has been the subject of some debate among historians; although providing the water would not have been a problem, it is unclear how the arena could have been waterproofed, nor would there have been enough space in the arena for the warships to move around.
It has been suggested that the reports either have the location wrong, or that the Colosseum originally featured a wide floodable channel down its central axis which would later have been replaced by the hypogeum.
Sylvae or recreations of natural scenes were also held in the arena. Painters, technicians and architects would construct a simulation of a forest with real trees and bushes planted in the arena's floor, and animals would then be introduced.
Such scenes might be used simply to display a natural environment for the urban population, or could otherwise be used as the backdrop for hunts or dramas depicting episodes from mythology.
They were also occasionally used for executions in which the hero of the story — played by a condemned person — was killed in one of various gruesome but mythologically authentic ways, such as being mauled by beasts or burned to death.
The Colosseum today is now a major tourist attraction in Rome with thousands of tourists each year entering to view the interior arena.
Part of the arena floor has been re-floored. Beneath the Colosseum, a network of subterranean passageways once used to transport wild animals and gladiators to the arena opened to the public in summer The Colosseum is also the site of Roman Catholic ceremonies in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Work was planned to begin at the end of , taking up to two and a half years. The restoration is the first full cleaning and repair in the Colosseum's history.
Taking three years, the final product of this work was unveiled 1 July , when the Italian minister of culture, Dario Franceschini, also announced that the funds have been committed to replace the floors by the end of These will provide a stage that Franceschini says will be used for "cultural events of the highest level.
The fourth level held the marketplace, and the top fifth tier is where the poorest citizens, the plebeians, gathered and watched the show, bringing picnics for the day-long event.
The Colosseum is generally regarded by Christians as a site of the martyrdom of large numbers of believers during the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire , as evidenced by Church history and tradition.
D and although Irenaeus says nothing about this happening at the Colosseum, tradition ascribes it to that place. In the Middle Ages, the Colosseum was not regarded as a monument, and was used as what some modern sources label a "quarry,"  which is to say that stones from the Colosseum were taken for the building of other sacred sites.
Pope Pius V — is said to have recommended that pilgrims gather sand from the arena of the Colosseum to serve as a relic, on the grounds that it was impregnated with the blood of martyrs, although some of his contemporaries did not share his conviction.
Martinelli's book evidently had an effect on public opinion; in response to Cardinal Altieri's proposal some years later to turn the Colosseum into a bullring, Carlo Tomassi published a pamphlet in protest against what he regarded as an act of desecration.
The ensuing controversy persuaded Pope Clement X to close the Colosseum's external arcades and declare it a sanctuary.
At the insistence of St. A Christian cross stands in the Colosseum, with a plaque, stating:. The amphitheater, one consecrated to triumphs, entertainments, and the impious worship of pagan gods, is now dedicated to the sufferings of the martyrs purified from impious superstitions.
Other Christian crosses stand in several points around the arena and every Good Friday the Pope leads a Via Crucis procession to the amphitheater.
The Colosseum has a wide and well-documented history of flora ever since Domenico Panaroli made the first catalogue of its plants in Since then, species have been identified there.
The peak was in species. Attempts were made in to eradicate the vegetation, because of concerns over the damage that was being caused to the masonry, but much of it has returned.
The variation of plants can be explained by the change of climate in Rome through the centuries. Additionally, bird migration , flower blooming, and the growth of Rome that caused the Colosseum to become embedded within the modern city centre rather than on the outskirts of the ancient city, as well as deliberate transport of species, are also contributing causes.
Another reason often given is their seeds being unwittingly transported either on the fur or in the feces of animals brought there from all corners of the empire.
It was also featured in the The Rise of Rome expansion for the video game Age of Empires , and in the video game Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Colosseum disambiguation. Amphitheatre in Rome.
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Dio lxxviii. Retrieved 1 November Play Store. Accessibility will always be ensured to people with mobility difficulties with the use of elevators which have systematic sanitation interventions.
Gregorio estimated time 2 hours. Gregorio estimated time 2 hours and 30 minutes. Any right to a reduction or to a free admission has to be proved by the ticketing staff.
The reservation is mandatory. Access to the Colosseum, in this first phase, will be exclusively from the so-called "Sperone Valadier" and can be used by individuals or groups of up to 20 people, adequately spaced, who will enter every 15 minutes and will always be accompanied along the entire route.
The pre-sale of the admission tickets for individual visitors and groups is bound to a precise time. For all types of tickets full, reduced and free only the print home mode will be available no cash collection.
The congruity of reduced and free will be verified by the access control. If the NON-correspondence of the adequacy of the reduced or free admission ticket is verified, a new ticket will be issued based on availability.
Simultaneously with the purchase of the ticket, and included in the price of the same, the visitor will be sent a link to download, on their mobile device, an App essential for the use of the Park.
For the use of vouchers from 1st July, rules will be published on the website www.