When was the Colosseum built?

The Colosseum towers over Rome’s city streets, its crumbling ruins listed as the most recognisable landmark in all of Italy. It has stood the test of time, once being a thriving stadium during the ancient Roman Empire.

The Colosseum’s beginnings

Empire Titus Flavius Vespasianus commissioned the Colosseum in 72.A.D, as a gift to the Roman People. Although Titus passed before completion, his heir and son, also known Vespasianus, continued with the construction until his untimely death. Domitian, the next emperor and the last member of the Flavius dynasty, oversaw the reaming works on the Colosseum. Resulting in the construction lasting 20 years until it was fully complete. During this time a lot of the city’s buildings were in decay due to numerous fires, so the new amphitheatre was instantly popular. Its official name was the Flavian Amphitheatre but it later changed to the Colosseum after a nearby statue called the ‘Colossus of Nero.’ Although the statue was later pulled down, you can still see the base today.

The Colosseum’s Games

The amphitheatre’s games lasted days, with different events and show being presented in each day. The first ever game was in 80 A.D. and continued for 100 days. Tournaments continued to run until the until the 6th century during the decline of the Roman Empire.

Animal Displays and Hunts

One of the most popular events held in the early days of the games were the animal games. Where exotic, wild animals were displayed, hunted and fought against by gladiators. The display of the animals was the first event, as commentators described their region and danger. The hunting games would follow, with fighters and Roman’s powerful leaders using swords and arrows to kill the innocent animals. Animal fights are done after, mostly with gladiators one on one with the most dangerous animals, usually tigers or leopards.

Chariot racing

The ancient racing match involved multiple horses drawing a heavy carriage fit for one standing driver. The race was notoriously bloody, with a large majority of horses and riders dying or sustaining severe injuries.

Executions and Tortures

Group or individual executions was a common occurrence during the games. The victims and their executions styles varied. With Roman criminals beheaded as that was the only allowed method for killing a Roman. Salves were crucified, and where sometimes burnt alive once they were nailed up. One of the crowd’s favourite executions which were to simply throw the criminal in the pits with the beasts.

Gladiator fights

By far the most famous games of the Colosseum was the Gladiators of Rome. There were three stages of Gladiator fights. Lightly armed, heavily armed and the gladiator style fights. The event was always bloody, with dead or injured bodies dragged to the side once they were beaten.

Check out our 1 Day Rome Tour with Vatican & Colosseum!

Language »