History of the Colosseum - Location, Construction and Use

hello everyone and welcome to Coby in

history today's video is about the

history of the Coliseum earlier this

year we went to Rome and I took some

footage to make videos ad off so you'll

see those in the next few months where

we're starting with Rome's most iconic

building the Colosseum

at this lesser well known as the Flavian

amphitheater which is actually the

official name named after the Flavian

dynasty which built amphitheatre so in

this video we will take a look at the

history of its location construction and

news starting with the location the

Coliseum is situated just east of the

Roman Forum which was seen as a center

of ancient Rome the site chosen for the

amphitheater is a flat area and a

low-lying valley between the Salian

Esquiline and Palatine hills of Rome

these were three of the seven main hills

which Rome was built upon by the second

century BC this area had been dusty

inhabited by the people of Rome due to

the houses being so close to each other

fires were a real threat they happened

occasionally but in 64 AD this area had

been completely devastated by the Great

Fire of Rome which lasted six days

following the devastation Emperor Nero

seized much of this area to add it to

his personal domain and built a

grandiose Domus Aurea

also known as Nero's golden house this

was a grand years complex which took up

the whole valley as well as parts of the

three hills surrounding it the place

where the Colosseum now stands was the

site of an artificial lake fed by

aqueducts and surrounded by civilians

and gardens a gigantic 30 metre high

bronze statue known as the colossus of


was erected nearby the entrance of his

domain and it was built to his own


when nero died the statue was modified

to represent the sun god sol by adding a

solar crank to his head around the year


it was moved by Emperor Hadrian to a

spot just outside the Flavian


and it took as many as 24 elephants to

accomplish this and as you've probably

already guessed this is where the

nickname Colosseum comes from the statue

is thought to have fallen down or been


sometime after the 4th century however

this nickname was only later given to

the building in the Middle Ages the

statue itself is mostly forgotten about

but it's based all survives to this day

which gives us a clearer image of where

statue on students after the great

Jewish revolt of 70 AD were suppressed

Emperor Vespasian funded the

construction of the Flavian amphitheater

from his own generals a share of the

loot taken from the Jewish Temple in

Jerusalem the artificial lake was filled

in to make room for the amphitheatre and

other supporting buildings like

gladiator schools were built nearby this

was popular decision with the people of

Rome not only because it symbolized the

reclaiming of the land taken my Nero but

also in contrast to most other

amphitheaters which were built on the

outskirts of the city this new one would

stand in the heart of Rome part of what

remained of the Domus Aurea

on the okyun hill was later buried by

Emperor Trajan to make room for his

public bathhouse the ruins left by Nero

were stripped of his marble and other

valuable materials to be used in a new

bath house but Trajan did not destroy

the actual structure instead he buried

it under earth and built about thousand

top of it

this caused the ruins to be relatively

well preserved and we went to visit that

as well

which I will show in an earlier video

construction of the Colosseum began in

72 ad along with the loot that funded

the project an estimated 200,000 Jews

were taken back to Rome after the

revolts and was used as a work force to

aid in the construction such as working

in the quarries at Tivoli where the

travertine stone was quarried and

transporting it 20 miles away to Rome


was one of the main building materials

of the amputee

it was set down without mortar and were

held together by iron clamps

among other materials that were used

were stuff and breakfast Gong creams the

slaves did not work on the construction

itself or at least not massively this

job was built in the hands of skilled

professionals such as Roman builders

engineers artists painters and

decorators when Vespasian died in 79 AD

the building had been completed up to

the third storey and the construction

was finished under the reign of his son

Titus an 80 ad with the inaugural games

being held either the same year or the

year after the building was remodeled

under Vespasian Gerson emperor Domitian

who succeeded his brother after his

death an 81 ad the mission constructed

the hypogeum a series of underground

tunnels used to house animals and slaves

he also added a gallery to the top of

the Colosseum to increase its seating

capacity tunnels were also connected to

nearby buildings linked to the

amphitheater such as a ludus Magnus

which was the largest of the gladiator

schools in Rome it had its own miniature

training arena which in itself was a

popular attraction for Roman citizens

other schools were also linked through

these tunnels such as a Dacian and the

Gallic schools where fighters from those

regions were trained as well as a school

where fighters of animals were trained

and other buildings like the armoury

machinery rooms and facilities to treat

wounded gladiators as well as a building

where the dead ones were stripped of

their armor and disposed of now we'll

have a closer look at the style of the

amphitheatre unlike the earlier Greek

theaters which were built into hillsides

the Roman amphitheaters were generally

freestanding structures but unlike the

common Roman amphitheatre the Flavian

amphitheatre derives its design from

that of two Roman theaters placed

back-to-back which results in an

elliptical shape another circle

most corbels were positioned around the

top of the outer wall they were used to

hold up the musts that held the velarium

this was a large retractable curtain

used to keep the spectators in the shade

and keep them dry when it rains and due

to its sloping down towards the center

it's got to win to provide the briefs to

spectators professional sailors were

enlisted to operate it due to it working

similar to a ship sail only bigger

the Coliseum's huge crowd capacity made

it essential that the venue could be

filled or evacuated quickly its

architects adopted a solution very

similar to those of the modern-day

stadiums to deal with the same problem

the amphitheater was ringed by 80

entrances at the current level 76 of

which were used by the ordinary

spectators each entrance and exit was

numbered as was each staircase the

northernmost entrance was reserved for

the Roman Emperor 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 these are some

fragments that survived in the arches on

the second and third floor street frame

statues probably depicting God's and

other figures from classical mythology

the triangular brick wedge at the end of

the archer wall is a modern addition

constructed in the early 19th century to

support the crumbling walls the floor of

the arena was made out of wood covered

by sand and this is where the word Arena

is derived from as the Latin word for

sand is harina underneath it is the

hypogeum literally meaning underground

it consists of two subterranean levels

where all sorts of prompts animals and

gladiators were held before the contest

began 80 vertical shafts provided

instant access to the arena through trap

doors which could be used to lift up

animals and scenery pieces so when the

show began the stage would appear

seamlessly with animals props and

scenery pieces such as factories being

lifted up through these concealed

entrances now we'll talk about what the

Colosseum was used for most well-known

of which is gladiatorial

but and beast fights but it was used for

a lot more than that other public

spectacles that were held there include

animal homes with great varieties of

exotic wild beasts executions

reenactments of famous battles and

dramas based on classical mythology and

it is said that even for a short time

mock sea battles were held there they

would divert to water from aqueducts to

the arena and fill it up by order to

create a lake to stage them all but this

was no longer possible after the

hypogeum was built the spectacles were

often staged him at elaborate sets of

moving trees and buildings and

occasionally they were held on a huge

scale Trajan had to have celebrated his

victories and Asia with contests

involving eleven thousand animals and

ten thousand gladiators losting 123 days

during intervals the public was

entertained with the executions where

the condemned were sent into the arena

naked and unarmed

where they would get mauled by a variety

of wild animals when they ran out of

people to execute they filled the

intervals with performances of acrobats

and magicians Daffy Theater was also

used to house shows called manera these

were given by private individuals rather

than the state they had strong religious

elements but they were also used as

demonstrations of power and prestige by

a certain family and were very popular

with the public recreation zuv natural

scenes were also held in the arena

painters technicians and architects

which construct a simulation of a forest

with real trees and bushes planted in

the arena floor and animals would then

be introduced to the scenery such scenes

might have been simply used to display a

natural environment for the urban

population or otherwise be used as the

backdrop for hunts or dramas depicting

episodes of mythology they were also

occasionally used for executions image

the hero of the story played by the

combatants person was killed in one of

various gruesome but mythologically

authentic ways such as being mauled by

wild beasts or being burned to death

spectators were given tickets in the


of numbered pottery shards on which they

were assigned an entrance section and

row to sit on we can't exactly say how

many people would have felt at max

capacity because individual seats were

not numbered they access their seats via

vomitoria passageways that opened up

into a tier of seats from below or

behind these quickly dispersed people

into their correct seats and upon

conclusion of the event or in the case

of an emergency evacuation these four

Matauri are permitted the people to exit

within only a few minutes the name

vomitoria derives from the latin word

for a rapid discharge and English word

for mats derives from this as well

special boxes were provided at the north

and south end of the amphitheatre for

the Roman Emperor and the Vestal Virgins

respectively these provided the best

view 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 and

the names of some fifth century senators

can still be seen engraved in the stone

work today presumably reserving that

spot for their use the tier above the

Senators was occupied by the non

senatorial noble cloths or knights the

next envelope was originally reserved

for the ordinary Roman citizen and was

divided into two sections the lower part

was for the wealthy citizens whilst the

upper part was for the poor citizens

specific sectors were provided for other

social groups for instance boys with two

tutors soldiers only foreign dignitaries

fri herald priests and so on

descriptions identified the areas

reserved for the specific groups the

gallery at the very top that was later

added by the mission was used by the

slaves command for and women this would

have been either standing room only or

would have had very steep wooden benches

some groups were banned altogether from

the amphitheater notably grave diggers

actors and former gladiators stone

seating which was later replaced by

marble were provided for the citizens

and Nobles who presumably would have

brought their own cushions

over there you can see a small section

of the stone seating that remains in the

rest of the Colosseum the stone seating

was removed for the stone to be used

elsewhere that also calls these hallways

which used to be covered by the seating

above to now be open to the air and you

can see the stairs that would lead to

the seating areas as well here Fred

tutorial fights were lost mentioned

around the Year 435 and animal homes

continued at least until the year 523

but the arena continued to be used for

other contests until sometime in the 6th

century at the end of the century a

small chapel was built into the

structure of the amphitheatre though

this did not give the building as a

whole any particular religious

significance the arena was then

converted into a cemetery the vaulted

spaces in the arcades under the seating

were converted into housing and

workshops it stayed like this until the

turn of the 13th century when the

Ferengi Pony family took over the

Colosseum and fortified it using it as a

sort of castle it was in 1349 that the

earthquake caused severe damage to the

Colosseum resulting in the collapse of

the southern outer wall much of the

rubble was then reused to build other

buildings in Rome after the earthquake a

religious order moved into the northern

part of the building and stayed there

until the early 1800s and a lot of the

interior of the Colosseum was also

stripped of its stone to be reused in

other buildings the marble of the facade

was burnt to make quick line and the

metal clamps that held the marble slabs

and the stonework in place were pried

and hacked out of the stone to be

smelted down and reused this left two

distinct marks on the outer walls of the

Colosseum today these marks can also be

seen in other Roman ruins where similar

stripping took place during the 16th and

17th century the church sought a

productive role for the Colosseum Pope

Sixtus v planned to turn the building

into a bull factory to provide

employment for Rome's prostitutes but

this plan fell through with this

premature death in 1671 the church

authorized it's used for bullfights but


to public outcry this idea was abandoned

in 1749 pope benedict xiv endorsed the

view that the calcium was a sacred site

where early Christians had been martyred

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 however there

is no historical evidence to support

Benedict's claims nor is there even any

evidence of anyone before the 16th

century suggesting this might have been

the case either way even if this wasn't

true it was still a good thing because

it preserved a Colosseum from any

further damage later popes initiated

restoration projects such as removing

the extensive vegetation which had

overgrown the structure and in 1807 and

1827 the brick wedges were constructed

to support the outer wall and the

interior was repaired in further decades

the arena substructure was also

partially excavated by the church but in

the 1930s it was fully exposed under

benito mussolini today the Colosseum

is one of Rome's most popular tourist

attractions and is listed as one of the

seven wonders of the world thank you for

watching and if you want to see my

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