THE COLOSSEUM – ROME
Andrew Wallace, from Andrew Wallace Architects, an architect and interior designer from Liverpool went to Rome this year and saw this historical monument , the Colosseum.
The Colosseum stands today as a symbol of the power, genius, and brutality of the Roman Empire. It is commonly known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, named after the dynasty of emperors that presided over its construction. Vespasian, who ruled from 69-79 CE, began construction of the Colosseum. Titus, his older son, dedicated the Colosseum and presided over the opening ceremonies in 80 CE. Vespasian’s younger son, Domitian, completed construction of the monument in 81 CE. The funding for building the Colosseum came from the spoils of the Judaic wars that the Flavians fought in Palestine.
Because of earthquake and fire damage, the Colosseum underwent repair until the 6th century. However, after the 6th century, the Colosseum sat in disrepair, was neglected, and used as a quarry for hundreds of years. Some of the outer arcades and most of the inner skeleton of the Colosseum remain intact today.
Colosseum has an elliptical shape, attendees to have a good view from virtually any location. It could hold over fifty thousand spectators, with the best view available along the minor axis. This was where the emperor and his family sat. Slightly behind him were the vestal virgins sat, then the senate, the equestrian classes, and finally women and slaves on wooden seats. Seating was preassigned, as evidenced by the markings on the seating areas designating the class of people that could sit there. The seats on each level of the Colosseum also acted as architectural supports for the level above.
The main floor of the Colosseum was composed of wooden blocks covered with sand. The wooden blocks could be removed to reveal an extensive underground area lit by flares. This 2-floor maze of corridors had human powered elevators that would bring wild beasts up through trap doors in the arena floor. There is a popular story about 100 lions being “magically” revealed at once.
Liverpool architects and achitects elsewhere in the UK may be interested to go to Rome.