Last Updated on April 30, 2021
Visiting Rome, we were particularly excited to see the Colosseum. Built of concrete and stone, the structure is considered to be one of the greatest works of architecture and engineering. It is absolutely incredible to think about how old the amphitheatre is, what used to happen within the walls and how complete the remains are. It is an incredible piece of history that is also very humbling; many lives were lost and sacrificed as pure sport. The floor of the Colosseum also long ago collapsed, leaving great views of what would have been the tunnels where the beasts and Gladiators would have waited to meet their fate.
You just can’t go to Rome and not visit the Colosseum. It is far bigger and impressive than we ever had imagined and the views from inside the Colosseum are breath-taking, as is the history and atmosphere of this iconic symbol of Imperial Rome. Millions of people each year flock to this majestic structure hoping to get some understanding of what it would have been like to live during the Ancient Roman times.
We were impressed with the many interesting facts about the Colosseum:
1. The original name of the Coliseum was Flavian Amphitheater, after the Flavian Dynasty of Emperors, including Vespasian, Titus and Domitian.
2. The massive Flavian Amphitheatre took less than 10 years to build.
3. The Coliseum in Rome has over 80 entrances, can accommodate about 50,000 – 80,000 spectators and covers an area of six acres.
4. It is thought that over 500,000 people lost their lives and over a million wild animals were killed during the time the Colosseum hosted people vs. beast games.
5. The last gladiatorial fights took place in 435 AD.
6. There were over 20 different types of Gladiators.
7. The name ‘Colosseum’ is derived from the Latin word ‘colosseus’, which means colossal. This was in reference to the gigantic statue of the Emperor Nero that had been previously erected near the site of the Colosseum.
8. The Colosseum is located in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy (Piazzale del Colosseo, Rome). The absolute location is 41 degrees latitude and 12 degrees longitude.
9. The Roman Colosseum was used for staging various events including gladiator fights, wild animal displays, theatrical entertainment, executions, religious ceremonies, mock sea battles and re-playing famous Roman victories.
10. There were 36 trap doors in arena, allowing for elaborate special effects.
11.The structure of the Colosseum was damage by many natural disasters, but it was the earthquakes of 847 AD and 1231 AD that caused most of the damage you see today.
12. Rome’s most popular monument was built for three reasons:
- As a gift to Roman Citizens, increasing the popularity of the Flavian dynasty
- Staging various forms of entertainment in a purpose built stone amphitheatre, creating a diversion for unemployed and unruly Plebs
- To utilize and showcase the latest Roman engineering techniques demonstrating to the world the power of Rome
13. The inaugural games at the Colosseum lasted more than 100 days.
14. An estimated 700,000 people died in the bloody arena.
15. Executions of Christians or Criminals provided popular midday entertainment.
16. BONUS FACT: Firefighters use the Colosseum for training exercises. When we were there a bunch of Firefighters were taking turns repelling from the Colosseum. It was quite the sight to see!
How many of these facts did you already know? Have you visited the Colosseum?