Was the Colosseum a Perfect Amphitheatre? Essay

876 WordsNov 2, 20124 Pages
“The Colosseum was a perfect amphitheatre.” How far do you agree with this statement? The Colosseum, located in Rome was built opened by the Emperor Titus in 80 AD. By many it is considered a “perfect amphitheatre” due to its décor, practicality and large structural layout. However, there are some features of the Colosseum which mean it is difficult to use, hence leading to some people disagreeing with the statement. One of the main reasons why the Colosseum was and is so highly respected is the buildings durability. This is due to the use of travertine in places of critical importance such as the pillars supporting the seating. Travertine is a hard, strong local rock which when used with pozzolana concrete creates very stable…show more content…
The Colosseum also had features besides size that made it unique to any other amphitheatre. In Titus’s reign the arena in the Colosseum could be filled with water, meaning that mock naval games (naumachia) could take place. In addition in Domitian’s reign a subterranean system of tunnels and cages were added, with trapdoors providing access to the arena so that people and animals could be transported to the arena in a more dramatic way. Again, interesting features such as these would have gained mass support in roman times for the idea that the Colosseum was the “perfect amphitheatre”. However, modern society may agree as this encouraged the unnecessary deaths of people to be brutalised in a varying manner, keeping the audiences interested and hence providing support for the continual killing of people. Another feature that may be seen as too impractical by a modern audience is the Valerium. This was an awning made of blue silk with gold stars. It was attached to 240 masts and took 1000 slaves working in a synchronised manner to lower it over the spectators. The enormous amount of slaves makes the use of it reasonably impractical. However, since this was the only roman amphitheatre to have an awning completely encircling an amphitheatre it made the amphitheatre unique. Hence it could be viewed as the perfect amphitheatre as it specialised in spectator comfort as they could have some shade from the sun. The décor of the

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