The original name comes from Emperors Titus and Vespasian, and the current name comes from a giant statue of Nero that used to stand nearby. The statue has undergone many changes, with the head often being replaced to depict other emperors or famous people.
The Coliseum is also said to be one of the most famous examples of Roman engineering and architecture and it can hold up to 50,000 people.
Early History of the Coliseum
In later times it served as homes for some religious groups, as well as acting as a fortress, a quarry and even a Christian Shrine. It has definitely been a building with a unique history that visitors on trips to Italy are anxious to see.
Sections of the Coliseum
It also had an underground level to hold wild beasts inside special cages that allowed the people who ran the Coliseum could raise the beasts up into the arena area for the spectators to see. The events and games held there sometimes lasted for several days.
They would start innocently enough with displays of exotic animals or with performances by various entertainers. But then it would have the main events of brutal and bloody fights to the death with animals, prisoners, slaves and gladiators.
The Coliseum was originally covered with a special awning called the Velarium to keep the sun and weather off the people inside. It was held up via big long posts and rope tied to the ground. Originally it had taken more than 1 , 000 men to install it.
Coliseum Through the Years
In the 6th century a church was built there and the arena was actually used as a cemetery. Much of the building was converted into apartments and offices, and these were rented out clear through the 12th centuries. It was damaged in an earthquake shortly after this and then in the 14th through the 19th centuries a religious order called it home. It underwent a series of repairs during the 1800s and it was cleaned in during the late 1900s to get rid of car exhaust staining.
The Coliseum in ruins
All in all, the beloved Coliseum seems to live on in infamy and plays an important role in the history of Rome.