The Colosseum is a giant amphitheatre built in Rome under the Flavian emperors. Construction of the Colosseum was begun sometime between 70 and 72 A.D. during the reign of Vespasian; the structure was officially dedicated in 80 A.D. by Titus in a ceremony that included 100 days of games. Later, in 82 A.D., Domitian completed the work by adding the uppermost story. Unlike earlier amphitheatres, which were nearly all dug into convenient hillsides for extra support, the Colosseum is a freestanding structure of stone and concrete, measuring 620 by 513 feet (190 by 155 meters) overall. Three of the arena’s stories are encircled by arcades framed by decorative half-columns in the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders; the structure’s rising arrangement of columns became the basis of the Renaissance codification known as the assemblage of orders.
The amphitheatre seated some 50,000 spectators. It was the scene of thousands of hand-to-hand combats between gladiators, of contests between men and animals, and of many larger combats, including mock naval engagements. However, it is uncertain whether the arena was the site of the martyrdom of early Christians.
The Colosseum was damaged by lightning and earthquakes in medieval times and, even more severely, by vandalism; all the marble seats and decorative materials disappeared.
Click on the picture to watch Collosseum Deconstructed by History Channel