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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 ?
The council has been embroiled in a legal dispute with Hellfire over the rundown appearance of The Colosseum as it is keen to improve the appearance of shops and bars in the town centre.
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Stations have had to be omitted from the route where archaeological sites are too sensitive to allow them, and plans for an archaeological museum at the Colosseum station have been scaled back for lack of funds.
The Colosseum was packed to capacity with a fantastic atmosphere and it's very likely that North East fans will create an even bigger buzz when he takes to the stage in Chester-le-Street.
The Colosseum testbed supports up to 256x256 real-time channel emulation, calculating more than 65,000 interactions at up to 80 MHz of real-time bandwidth per channel.
Robb, who also owned a Sunderland club, was arrested after the Colosseum was shut down by Cleveland police in 1996 but absconded to Cyprus where he was to spend the next 12 years.
The Colosseum's members-only and no alcohol policy put it outside of the law and, despite continued condemnation from the council and police, there were few signs it was ready to fold.
| The Colosseum, Rome, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio, and Petra in Jordan