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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).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Colloseum also argued that Levi Strauss should lose the trade mark rights to the red tab alone as it had never used it, contravening EU "genuine use" requirements for brands which can mean loss of a trade mark which is not used for at least five years.
The victories of Soviet Legend in the five-furlong maiden and Colloseum inthe seven-furlong bandedrace ended a quiet spell for trainer Tim Etherington, who had not had a winner for seven weeks.
Colloseum's win, coming 46 days after the horse's fine second in a Catterick maiden, highlighted the problems faced by trainers trying to find opportunities for moderate horses.
Trying to pin down their sound is reassuringly difficult, but their PR company came somewhere close when they described them as "Arcade Fire meets Super Furry Animals" and you can judge for yourself tomorrow night when they play Coventry's Colloseum.
Follow-up album Don't Be Afraid of Love is released on February 4 and later this month they set out on a UK tour that takes in Coventry's Colloseum on Tuesday, January 22.
ORANGE CAN, the London outfit led by brothers James and Jason Aslett play Coventry Colloseum tomorrow week - two days before the release of their second album Home Burns.
"The players can either take the attitude that they are the Christians going into the Colloseum to be fed to the lions, or they can go out and enhance their reputations and make a name for themselves.
The UK leg of the tour takes in Coventry's Colloseum next Friday - and, explains cellist/guitarist Martin McCarrick, that's the sort of venue that's right up their street.