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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 ?
"They resemble a Roman coliseum, which completely changes the look of the pool."
"In the past," he notes, "some of the most imaginative and experimental architecture was commissioned and built precisely by and for real estate developers." As long ago as 1728, the speculative builder and designer John Wood erected a spectacular and innovative residential complex in the English resort town of Bath that included, among other things, "33 three-story houses behind a facade that was loosely based on the Roman Coliseum." The renowned architect John Nash designed the Royal Opera Arcade, a glass-roofed shopping street (and precursor of the mall) that opened in London in 1818.
In the film's closing scenes, fans saw Gordon, 30, fight shoulder-to-shoulder with Crowe in the Roman Coliseum. They also saw him carry Crowe's body from the arena at the climax.
The campaign began on March 8 and was to end on April 8, a day that was to culminate with a meeting in the Roman Coliseum where numerous early Christians met their death.
Research a number of subjects - from Abraham Lincoln to the Roman Coliseum.
Name Calling, symbolized by the ancient sign of condemnation used by the Vestal Virgins in the Roman Coliseum, a thumb turned down.
For instance, we learn that the Toronto SkyDome is illuminated by 9000 lightbulbs; the field covers an area of eight acres, big enough to fit eight jumbo jets, more than 1000 elephants, or the Roman Coliseum (discussed earlier in the book); the roof weighs eleven tons and takes twenty minutes to open or close.
In ancient Rome corpses of vanquished gladiators were dragged into a room below the Roman Coliseum, where they were stripped of their bloodied weapons and shining armor before being disposed of or handed over to grieving loved ones.
“Now alongside your photos of the Roman Coliseum you'll have a relevant summary of the Wikipedia entry to provide the factual and historical context,” says Dispatches spokesman Matthew Stowell.
Overstock officials have said that from the ground level, the building will look like a corporate glass-and-concrete version of the Roman Coliseum, but from the air, the three-story building will appear as a peace sign.
The Roman Coliseum, Hitler's Holocaust and American slavery remain significant monuments to the degradation that a society will experience when it does not recognize and respect the sacredness and sanctity of every human life.
Thankfully, Shearer could be relied upon to provide the footballing highlight on a night when, rather like in the old Roman Coliseum, the fate of gladiator Bowyer was decided by the masses with a surprise thumbs up.