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(both: kŏləsē`əm), Ital. Colosseo, common name of the Flavian Amphitheater in Rome, near the southeast end of the Forum, between the Palatine and Esquiline hills. Begun by Vespasian, c.A.D. 75, and completed by his son Titus in A.D. 80, it is the most imposing of Roman antiquities. The vast four-storied oval is 617 ft (188 m) by 512 ft (156 m), much of which is still standing; it had tier on tier of marble seats accommodating c.45,000 spectators. It encloses an arena measuring 250 ft (76 m) by 151 ft (46 m) where gladiatorial combats were held (see gladiatorsgladiators
[Lat.,=swordsmen], in ancient Rome, class of professional fighters, who performed for exhibition. Gladiatorial combats usually took place in amphitheaters. They probably were introduced from Etruria and originally were funeral games.
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) until 404. According to tradition, persecuted Christians were thrown there to beasts. The Colosseum has been damaged several times by earthquakes.


See J. Pearson, Arena: The Story of the Colosseum (1974).



(Amphitheatrum Flavium), a monument of ancient Roman architecture (A.D. 75–80).

The Colosseum is elliptical in plan, about 190 m long and 156 m wide. It includes an arena and four tiers of seats for spectators (about 50,000). The Colosseum was built for gladiatorial fights and other spectacles. Constructed of tufa, it had external walls faced with travertine. Inside, brick and concrete were used for the construction of the arched galleries, and the platforms were covered with marble. The statues and stucco decorations of the Colosseum have not been preserved. Outside, three tiers of arcades (Tuscan, Ionic, and Corinthian orders) and a crowning attic, articulated with flat pilasters, concealed the platforms and the labyrinth of the substructures of the arena. The majestic, grandiose Colosseum, with its powerfully rounded space and the rich plasticity of the arcades, is the most important of the Roman amphitheaters.


Tsires, A. G. Arkhitektura Kolizeia. Moscow, 1940.

colosseum, coliseum

colosseum, 1 showing seating and plan at various levels
1.(cap.) The Flavian amphitheater in Rome.
2. Any large Roman amphitheater.
3. Now, any large sports arena, open or roofed.
References in periodicals archive ?
See the Colisseum in Rome, from pounds 256 Head for New York on a US tour
At a recent Colisseum gig, the group couldn't believe it when Specials star Neville Staples joined them on stage.
You can't go to Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower, to Athens and not see the Acropolis, to Florida and not see Disneyland or to Rome without seeing the Colisseum.
Catch the band tonight at Coventry Colisseum, a lastminute change of venue from Birmingham's Sanctuary.
Daily excursions were good value and we jumped at the chance to visit the ancient Roman city of Carthage, Barcelona, Monaco and Monte Carlo, Portofino and Rome, including the overwhelming Vatican City, Trevi Fountain, the Colisseum and the Pantheon.
MAGNIFICENT: The Colisseum is only one of the many eternal sights of Rome
These men then pinned their captives down for the duration, thus providing "a realistic representation of the dead gladiators of the Colisseum.
In particular, it was the shortage of grain from Alexandria that spurred Vespasian into building The Colisseum, which was the main arena for the gruesome and bloodthirsty "entertainments", including the savage deaths of both human and animal victims.
The Scots model got the better of these three Roman gladiators in the shadow of the Colisseum.
AWE INSPIRING: The Colisseum is the definitive icon of Rome' MAJESTIC: Trevi Fountain' CHAMP: Italy's Cannavaro
Held up' came the verdict after what seemed like an age and after almost half an hour we had the bizarre sight of the world champions being held scoreless by a side given as much chance of winning the Six Nations as Elvis turning up alive and well at the Colisseum.