Interesting Facts About The Colosseum: Roman, Ancient World Monument | Kidadl


Interesting Facts About The Colosseum: Roman, Ancient World Monument

Arts & Crafts
Learn more
Reading & Writing
Learn more
Math & Logic
Learn more
Sports & Active
Learn more
Music & Dance
Learn more
Social & Community
Learn more
Mindful & Reflective
Learn more
Outdoor & Nature
Learn more
Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

The Colosseum is a must-see spot for a tourist.

The Colosseum was built in Rome, Italy. Despite being built in 70 AD, it is the largest amphitheater in the world knows, even today!

The Colosseum in Rome is one of the new seven wonders of the world. It was built by Emperor Vespasian, the founder of the Flavian Dynasty, who started construction in 70 AD, which was later overseen by his son Titus after his death in 79 AD. The fact that it was built in only 10 years is pretty impressive. It was built by almost 100,000 Jewish slaves in ancient Rome! This makes the Colosseum around 1,900 years old.

If you are enjoying the article so far, why not check out other fun facts like Arc de Triomphe facts and how many edges a cube has.

Where is the Colosseum located?

The Colosseum is located in the metropolitan city of Rome, Italy. It was built by Emperor Vespasian in 70 AD, and the construction was continued by his son Titus after he died in 79 AD. The Colosseum was also known as the Flavian Amphitheater.

The emperor before the Flavian was Emperor Nero, who had a private man-made lake where the Colosseum stands today. With the beginning of the Flavian dynasty, the lake was drained by creating a series of canals to build a sewer system, and the Colosseum was built atop this land. The sewer actually ensured a steady and equal flow of water to all of Rome! The Colosseum stands around 157 ft (47.8 m) tall. The length of the Colosseum is 615 ft (187.4 m), and the width is 510 ft (155.4 m).

In ancient times, Colosseums usually had to be built by digging out the side of a hill underground in order to provide them with the support that they needed. The Flavian Colosseum was one of its kind in ancient Rome and was built entirely out of stone and concrete blocks that weighed around 44,092.4 lb (20,000 kg) each. It had a pretty, beige color back then! The Colosseum made by Vespasian and Titus had around 80 arched entrances, which were about three stories tall!

The entrance was supported by semi-circular columns, which were unique in themselves. Each story had a different style or pattern of a column supporting it! The first story had the Doric order, which was relatively simple and plain. The second-story columns were decorated in the Ionic order, which was more defined than the Doric order yet not too flashy. The third column, however, was made with the Corinthian order. The design was intricate and made the column look grand. There was another story of regulated pilasters that topped the third column, and these too were designed with the Corinthian order. The orders were the most common style of building architecture in the Roman Empire.

The Colosseum had a labyrinth below it which was called a hypogeum. They would keep gladiators and animals there who were concealed underground from the audience's view with 36 trap doors. When the trap doors opened, gladiators and animals would emerge from the underground, creating a great dramatic effect. There was an underground elevator to elevate all the gladiators and animals!

The arena even had a velarium (an awning or a cover of sorts) that could be pulled over the seating area to protect spectators from the sun or rain. The seating in the Colosseum was even segregated based on class.

The west exit of the arena was known as the Gate of Death as dead gladiators were carried through this exit. Interestingly enough, the spectators would get to decide whether the gladiator got to live or not! If the audience put their thumbs down, then the swords would be put down, and the gladiator's life would be spared.

Why was the Colosseum built?

The history of the Colosseum and the reason why it was built is quite amazing. The Colosseum was built as a gift for the Romans by the Flavian emperors. The Colosseum could hold from 50,000 to 80,000 spectators at its full capacity! When the Colosseum was built, Rome was going through serious frustrations in the political and social spheres. The massive structure was essentially built by the emperors to create a state of stability and distract the Romans from all f those frustrations.

The Colosseum was mainly constructed for entertainment purposes and hosted gladiator fights, animal hunts, chariot races, executions, and even mock naval battles that would be held over a period of 100 days once every year!

One of the most popular contests held in the Colosseum was the gladiatorial event which was known as Munera. Slaves, criminals, bankrupt aristocrats, and even prisoners of war were usually the gladiators in these events. Eventually, even women were permitted to participate in them and were known as Ludia. The gladiatorial battles became so popular that training schools were opened throughout Rome to train skilled gladiators! Gladiators were armed fighters who faced off against other gladiators, wild animals, or even seasoned criminals! It was an extremely violent and gruesome event in ancient Rome. The wealthy Roman aristocrats would celebrate military victories, showcase their wealth, and even celebrate their birthdays by watching these events! Spectators would come from all over the world to watch these events. There were retiarii who would use a net and trident instead of swords and also hastarius who had a shield and spear to defeat their opponents!

Animal hunts were a public event held in the Colosseum. In this event, animals would face off against other animals or even against humans sometimes! Exotic wild animals, like lions, hippos, elephants, giraffes, panthers, and bears, would face off against each other or against an armed contender. These hunts would usually be held in connection with the Munera.

Chariot races were also hosted in the Colosseum and at other venues, such as the Circus Maximus of Rome. These were just as famous and in-demand amongst the Roman aristocrats as the other fights. Sometimes, public executions were held in the Colosseum as well.

Any amazing event deserves to have a glamorous finale, and the games at the Roman Colosseum were no different. The naval battles, or the naumachiae, were the grandest of events in Rome. They were started by Julius Caesar over a hundred years prior to the construction of the Colosseum to celebrate his conquest in Egypt. The entire arena was filled with water to create an aquatic effect, and gladiator participants would board naval fleets and face off against each other. Up to this day, nobody has any idea about how exactly the arena was flooded!

The Colosseum is located to the east of Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum!

How much of the Colosseum is still standing?

Over the course of time, only one-third of the amphitheater stands today. Its marble seats and other decorative aspects have been destroyed too. Due to natural disasters, harsh weather conditions, negligence, and vandalism, by the 20th century, the historical structure was destroyed.

However, from 1993-2000, and later in 2013, efforts towards the restoration of the Colosseum were made which were sponsored by Tod's shoe company (a famous Italian designer company). The Colosseum is a large tourist spot in Italy due to its glamorous history. The Colosseum was in use for almost four centuries altogether! Later, events such as gladiator fights were abolished, followed by the other events. By the 6th century AD, all the previous games that were held in the Colosseum had stopped.

Even at that time, the Colosseum suffered a great deal of damage due to large-scale earthquakes and lightning in Rome. Soon enough, the Colosseum was completely abandoned and used as a quarry for building projects such as the Palazzo Venezia and cathedrals of St. Peter and St. John Lateran. At the start of the 18th century, various popes deemed the Colosseum to be a sacred Christian site; however, these claims are not verified.

The underground was filled, and some people even used it to live, grow gardens, do business activities, and even run workshops of sorts there!

How many people died in the Colosseum?

While the Colosseum was a place of fun and entertainment for some Romans, many of them saw it as a chamber of death. For the gladiator participants, the same Colosseum was a place for the rich aristocrats to look down on the poor and needy.

There was a time when Saint Telemachus tried to stop a game as the participants were lovers, and he was stoned to death by the audience!

The Colosseum was in use for about 400 years, and the number of people who died there is estimated to be around 400,000. This means that about 1,000 people died every single year just from these events! The gladiator participants were taught ways to die in their training schools! The spectators wished to see graceful deaths, so the gladiators were taught how to die with honor. It wasn't only humans who died in the amphitheater. Over the course of 400 years, around 1,000,000 animals were killed by humans in the Flavian Colosseum! The gladiator fights were ended in 435 AD, and the animal hunts were put to a stop in 532 CE.

Despite all these grand arrangements in the arena, the tickets for these games were usually free of cost for everyone! They would even provide free food in the amphitheater sometimes. Emperor Titus and other political figures would pay for all the charges to gain popularity amongst the people of Rome!

Despite its dark history and the gruesome fights that were held in the arena, the Colosseum is still considered to be one of the greatest wonders of the world since 2007. The intricate designs, glamorous yet horrid games, and historical importance of the place have truly made it an amusing spectacle for historians and tourists from all over the globe.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked reading our interesting facts about the Colosseum, then why not take a look at our articles on whether dogs can eat kale or whether dogs can?

Written By
Joan Agie

<p>With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.</p>

Read The Disclaimer

Was this article helpful?