Around the world with Dave – Stop 4

Welcome to around the world with your lovable and witty host, me, Dave. This is the place where I tell you all about the places around the world I hope to one day visit.

Our stop this week takes us to Rome and the largest amphitheater ever built. Can you guess where it is?

It is of course The Colosseum.

By Diliff - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5
By Diliff – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5

Construction for the Colosseum began in 72 C.E under the emperor Vespasian  and was completed by his successor and heir Titus in 80 C.E with modifications made during the reign of Domitian (81–96). I’m impressed that it only took eight years for them to make, in Britain it takes us longer than that to repair a road let alone only project on such a grand scale, yes I am talking about the HS2 nonsense.

The Colosseum is also known at the Flavian Amphitheatre, named after the three emperors above who constructed and modified it as they all belonged to the Flavian dynasty. Well they helped build something that still stands almost two thousand years later, I suppose it’s only fair that they get their names on it somewhere.

The construction time is even more impressive when you consider that The Colosseum could hold an estimated 50,000 – 80,000 spectators. with an average attendance of  65,000. That is bigger than a lot of football grounds even today. The new Wembley Stadium for instance, which took five years to build with modern technology, only holds a maximum of 90,000 spectators.

However it is what the Colosseum was used for that probably best helps keep it in the popular imagination. Gladiatorial contests, mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology.

The Colosseum could be flooded to allow for mock sea battles, how incredible and difficult to construct must that have been? They had animals from all over the world brought to the Colosseum to be used in animal hunts, yeah OK it sucks they were getting hunted but it must have been amazing to see all these strange and exotic animals from the far reaches of the Roman Empire. And who doesn’t like a good drama based on Classical mythology?

As you are probably aware of by now I love ancient history and the Colosseum is one of those shining examples of it. It has survived for almost two thousand years and is an example of how great the Roman Empire was and how grand they made their structures.

Remember to check back next week to see where we’ll be stopping next time.

Missed a previous stop? Check them out below.

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