amphitheater

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amphitheater

(ăm`fəthē'ətər, ăm`pə–), open structure used for the exhibition of gladiatorial contests, struggles of wild beasts, sham sea battles, and similar spectacles. There is no Greek prototype of amphitheaters, which were primarily Roman and were built in many cities throughout the empire. More or less well-preserved examples are at Rome (see ColosseumColosseum
or Coliseum
, 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.
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), Verona, and Capua in Italy; at Nîmes and Arles in France; at Cirencester in England; and at sites in Sicily, Greece, and North Africa. The typical amphitheater was elliptical in shape, with seats, supported on vaults of masonry, rising in many tiers around an arena at the center; corridors and stairs facilitated the circulation of great throngs. The arena itself was usually built over the quarters for gladiators, wild animals, and storage. Until the erection of the Colosseum (A.D. 80), practically all amphitheaters were of wood, the notable exception being that of stone built at Pompeii c.70 B.C. The word amphitheater is now applied to modern structures which may bear little resemblance to their ancient prototypes.

Amphitheater

A circular, semicircular, or elliptical auditorium in which a central arena is surrounded by rising tiers of seats; originally for the exhibition of combat or other public events.

amphitheater

[′am·fə‚thē·ə·tər]
(architecture)
A structure or large room containing oval, circular, or semicircular tiers of seats facing an open space.
(geography)
A valley or gulch having an oval or circular floor and formed by glacial action.

amphitheater, amphitheater

amphitheater
1. A circular, semicircular, or elliptical auditorium in which a central arena is surrounded by rising tiers of seats.
2. (Brit.) The first section of seats in the gallery of a theater.
3. Any outdoor theater, esp. of the classical Greek type.

amphitheatre

(US), amphitheater
1. a building, usually circular or oval, in which tiers of seats rise from a central open arena, as in those of ancient Rome
2. any level circular area of ground surrounded by higher ground
3. 
a. the first tier of seats in the gallery of a theatre
b. any similarly designated seating area in a theatre
References in periodicals archive ?
Ovid configures an amphitheatrical order in which the reader looks down on his characters from a safe distance.
Then, again, in mountainous countries where the traveller is continually girdled by amphitheatrical heights; here and there from some lucky point of view you will catch passing glimpses of the profiles of whales defined along the undulating ridges.
Peter Donaldson's gorgeously constellated discussion of the amphitheatrical vertigo at work in Julie Taymor's Titus, and John Gillies's Stanislaviskian account of why "the future of Othello .