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Prior to showing the games in the Roman Forum, they were held in the Forum Boarium (Cattle Markets), and prior to that held outside of the city at the site of a burial (funeral games with fighters) The naturally oval/elliptical shape engendered by having the games in a forum with these ideal dimensions probably led to the ultimate shape adopted by Roman architects and builders for the amphitheater itself
Relief from Clusium (Chiusi) showing wooden scaffolding for spectators and umpires of games C5 BCE
Pompeii, easy access as at city walls Though the amphitheaters and combats had Italic origins, it was the native Pompeiian people who were being punished and the Roman colonists, victorious in the Italic war against the original inhabitants. The colonists are singled out, and the influence of the Italic peoples on this custom is not acknowledged.
Confraternita del Santissimo Salvatore ad sancta Sanctorum is the religious order to take up residence and possession from 1300s to 1700s They held passion plays in the arena of the amphitheater Beginning with the end of the animal hunts and the end of the Colosseum’s original purpose, and compounded by structural decay, in the Early Middle Ages some parts of the structure were used as quarries for new papal building programs in Rome Like many Roman buildings of pagan origin, it is notable that this one survived much intact due to its conversion into a space sacred to the Catholic Church Its obvious from the archaeological record that not only were repairs made through much of the functional like of the structure, but also various refinements, particularly to the arena area and the substructure
Maenianum the horizontal section of seating, cuneus a wedge shaped section, ordo the row, and locus the seat
Leidig, Michael . &quot;Ancient machinery drove cruelty at the Colosseum .&quot; Telegraph.co.uk 12/13/2003 <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/12/14/wcolos14.xml&sSheet=/portal/2003/12/14/ixportal.html>.
Did Michelle show this coin? This coin made to commemorate the inauguration of the amphitheater Also note the posts at the top, important enough to the designer of this coin to be depicted, for holding the awning
Vatican Museum,Tomb of the Haterii , Architecture panel (&quot;Via Sacra Relief&quot;)
Here’s the difference. Travertine Tufa Concrete
But where did the Romans enjoy their blood sports before the amphitheater? (According to Vitruvius 5.1.1-2) …Italiae vero urbibus non eadem est ratione faciendum, ideo quod a maioribus consuetudo tradita est gladiatoria munera in foro dari.  Igitur circum spectacula spatiosiora intercolumnia distribuantur circaque in porticibus argentariae tabernae maenianaque superioribus coaxationibus conlocentur; quae et ad usum et ad vectigalia publica recta erunt disposita. Magnitudines autem ad copiam hominum oportet fieri, ne parvum spatium sit ad usum aut ne propter inopiam populi vastum forum videatur. Latitudo autem ita finiatur uti, longitudo in tres partes cum divisa fuerit, ex his duae partes ei dentur; ita enim erit oblonga eius formatio et ad spectaculorum rationem utilis dispositio. …But in the cities of Italy we must not proceed by the same plan [as the Greeks], because the custom of giving gladiatorial shows in the forum has been handed down from our ancestors.  For that reason more roomy intercolumnations are to be used round the spectacle; in the colonnades, silversmiths’ shops; and in the balconies, rightly placed for convenience and public revenue, are to be placed on the upper floors. The dimensions of the forum ought to be adjusted to the audience lest the space be cramped for use, or else, owing to a scanty attendance, the forum should seem too large. Now let the breadth be so determined that when the length is divided into three parts, two are assigned to the breadth. For so the plan will be oblong, and the arrangement will be adapted to the purpose of the spectacles. (Loeb translation by Frank Granger)
Temporary Amphitheaters: Sumptuous? dingy cloaks the baser sort viewed the show close to the women’s benches. For the uncovered parts, exposed beneath the open sky, were thronged by equestrians or white robed tribunes. Just as the valley here expands into a wide circuit and, winding at the side, with sloping forest background all around, stretches in a concave curve…the sweep of the amphitheater encircles the level ground, and the oval in the middle is bound by twin piles of building. Why should I now relate to you things which I myself could scarcely see in all their many details? So dazzling was the glitter everywhere…”Certainly, we rate all cheap we saw in former years and shabby every show we once watched.” Look the begemmed balteus and the gilded portico vie in brilliance;…bright too is the gleam from nets of gold wire which project into the arena hung on solid tusks…Oh, how we quaked, whenever we saw the arena part asunder and its soil upturned and beasts plunge out from the chasm cleft in the earth; yet often from those same caverns the golden leaves and branches of wild strawberry sprang amid a sudden fountain spray (of saffron). On the temporary theater erected by Nero in 57 CE on the Campus Martius, as described by Calpurnius (Eclogues 7.23-24): I saw a theater that rose skyward on interwoven beams and almost looked down on the summit of the Capitoline. Passing up the steps and slopes of gentle incline we came to the seats, where in
Temporary Amphitheaters: Disastrous! During reign of Tiberius (27 CE) a temporary amphitheater built outside the city collapsed, killing a quoted 50,000 spectators. From Tacitus (Annals 4.62-63): “ One Attilius, of the freedman class, having undertaken to build an amphitheater at Fidenae for the exhibition of a show of gladiators failed to lay a solid foundation and to frame the wooden substructure with beams of sufficient strength; for he had neither an abundance of wealth, nor zeal for public popularity, but he simply sought the work for sordid gain. Thither flocked all who loved such sights and who during the reign of Tiberius had been wholly debarred from such amusements; men and women of every age crowding the place because it was near Rome. And so the calamity was all the more fatal. The building was densely crowded; then came a violent shock, as it fell inwards or spread outwards, precipitating and burying an immense multitude which was intently gazing on the show or standing round…For the future it was provided by a decree of the Senate that no one was to exhibit a show of gladiators, whose fortune fell short of four hundred thousand sesterces, and that no amphitheater was to be erected except on a foundation, the solidity of which had been examined. Atilius was banished.
The First Amphitheater practical, primitive, Pompeiian (70 BCE)
CIL 10.852 “Gaius Quinticus Valgus, son of Gaius, and Marcus Porcius, son of Marcus, the quinquennial duumvirs of the colony, because of the honor of holding public office, saw to the construction of the spectacle building with their own money and gave reserved seating to the colonists in perpetuity.” “ The remains of the Pompeiian structure exhibit its very simple construction. The area comprising the arena was excavated below the surface of the surrounding ground; the excavated soil was piled up around it to form the slopes supporting tiers of rising seats. The whole was enclosed by a retaining wall with exterior staircases leading to the upper seats.” Ernest Nash, Roman Towns
Martial, DE SPECTACVLIS 2 II Hic ubi sidereus propius uidet astra colossus et crescunt media pegmata celsa uia, inuidiosa feri radiabant atria regis unaque iam tota stabat in urbe domus; hic ubi conspicui uenerabilis Amphitheatri erigitur moles, stagna Neronis erant; hic ubi miramur uelocia munera thermas, abstulerat miseris tecta superbus ager; Claudia diffusas ubi porticus explicat umbras, ultima parts aulae deficientis erat. Reddita Roma sibi est et sunt te preside, Caesar, deliciae populi, quae fuerant domini. Where the starry colossus sees the constellations at close range and lofty scaffolding rises in the middle of the road, once gleamed the odious halls of a cruel monarch, and in all of Rome there stood a single house. Where rises before our eyes the august pile of the Amphitheater, was once Nero’s lake. Where we admire the warm baths, a speedy gift, a haughty tract of land had robbed the poor of their dwellings. Where the Claudian colonnade unfolds its wide-spread shade, was the outermost part of the palace’s end. Rome has been restored to herself, and under your rule, Caesar, the pleasances that once belonged to a master now belong to a people. (Loeb Translation by D.R. Shackelton Bailey)
Colosseum: its Evolution 70 Vespasian initiates the construction of the Amphitheater in the site of 80 Titus completes and inaugurates his father’s project following his death 100 Common Era (not to scale) 500 1000 1500 12 th century Vaulted spaces are rented as housing and workshops now then 1200 Frangipane family takes over the structure and adds fortifications Mid-14 th to early 19 th century The Northern third of the structure is occupied by a Catholic confraternity until preservation efforts begin in the early 19 th century Vibrations from surrounding traffic continue to pose threats to the structure’s stability 217 Fire damages the upper level of the arena, the first of many repair periods that continue through the 5 th century 443 Earthquake causes further damage repaired under Theodosius and Valentinian 434 Last mention of gladiatorial combats 523 Venationes continued until at least this time Late 6 th century A church is installed, the arena is used for burial grounds
Colosseum: its Elevation <ul><li>Three superimposed arcades and a fourth attic story </li></ul><ul><li>Lowest order is Tuscan, middle Ionic, top two simplified Corinthian </li></ul><ul><li>“ The manner in which the architect married the façade design to the interior complexities of the building and its circulation system is extremely skilled.” Amanda Claridge, Rome </li></ul><ul><li>The organization and division of seating by status is similar to the theater, with the rows closest to the arena reserved for senators </li></ul><ul><li>To enter to your seat in the Colosseum you would have followed numbers on a ticket (tessera) marked with the entrance number, maenianum , cuneus , ordo , and locus </li></ul>
What lies beneath? (and is now exposed) <ul><li>The substructure of the Colosseum: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>12 different building phases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>System of tunnels: one leading to the Ludus Magnus, and one each leading directly to the seats of the emperor and the Vestals, so they could quickly enter and exit the amphitheater </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Both lifts and trap doors created a system for getting animals and scenery into the arena </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cells for storage of weapons, armor, and scenery needed for games </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Naumachiae ? Probably not. </li></ul></ul>
The Amphitheater at Pozzuoli “ In Pozzuoli (ancient Puteoli), near Naples, subterranean passages of the amphitheater have been excavated. The spacious arena—236 x 138 ft. in area—is directly connected with the basement by sixty rectangular traps which allowed sudden dramatic entry of wild beasts into the arena. These traps also facilitated the handling of scenic machinery. The arena could be flooded for naval combats as well, since an outlet in the floor was provided by a narrow opening running along the main axis of the building. Ernest Nash, Roman Towns
On the treatment of the animals: "They were starved, had salt poured into wounds, were taunted and thrown straw dummies of men to make them fighting mad, and then they were released."
Ludus Magnus <ul><li>Located to the east of the Colosseum, this complex consisted of a practice arena and barracks. It housed the largest of the gladiatorial schools established by Domitian. </li></ul><ul><li>The arena itself was 25% smaller than that of the Colosseum (comparable with many others in the Empire), but there was a sizable difference in seating capability. There was room for 3000 spectators versus 50,000 at the Colosseum. </li></ul><ul><li>Connected to the Colosseum by means of underground tunnels. </li></ul><ul><li>The “other” Roman amphitheaters: </li></ul><ul><li>27 BCE: First stone amphitheater built by Statilius Taurus. Small structure, possibly semi-privately owned. </li></ul><ul><li>Mid-3 rd century CE: Made of brick, not much survives of the Amphitheatrum Castrense, only a small portion incorporated into the Aurelian walls. </li></ul>
<ul><li>“ The achievement here, however, is not mere massiveness, but precise engineering, careful calculations of stressed and strains, avoidance of crowding at entrances and exits, perfect visibility, and ingenuity in the arrangements for getting the wild beasts into the arena.” </li></ul><ul><li>Paul MacKendrick, The Mute Stones Speak </li></ul><ul><li>“ All this [the architectural organization of the façade] follows conventional lines, the architect’s principal contribution lying in the skill with which he handled the proportions of what could so easily have become a mere unwieldy bulk of masonry, and in the unobtrusive ingenuity with which he manipulated the detail of the orders to meet the requirements of the structures within.” </li></ul><ul><li>J.B. Ward-Perkins, Roman Imperial Architecture </li></ul><ul><li>“ The shape of the amphitheater has survived the centuries; yet no other monument of theatrical architecture has since been created which could equal the Colosseum in formal symmetry, exterior beauty, or techinical ingenuity.” </li></ul><ul><li>Ernest Nash, Roman Towns </li></ul>
Numismatic Colosseum Coin of Titus, 80-81 CE Details of Exterior: Sculptures appear in the niches and the main entrance features a chariot group in sculpture Details of the Interior: The crowd of spectators and the “single arched opening marks the imperial box” The neighboring structures: Also part of the Flavian building program To the left the Meta Sudens And to the right columns that probably represent the Baths of Titus
So where’s the rest of it? Of course, not all of the material taken from the Colosseum site was used in building St. Peter’s Basilica, but was used in building projects throughout the city, including refortification of the walls.