Even today, in a society that prides itself on building ever taller skyscrapers, the Colosseum is still impressive. It stands as a symbol of Roman power and cruelty. Behind what seems to be never-ending arches, Romans killed thousands of people considered to be criminals.
It was important in ancient Rome to please the populace. Emperor Titus Flavius Vespasian built the Colosseum to do just that. As the emperor came from the Flavian dynasty, the original name of the Colosseum was the “Flavian Amphitheatre.”
Mankind is fortunate to have the Colosseum today. Roman aristocrats and popes were keen to use the stone as building material for their palaces and cathedrals. This plunder, coupled with fire and earthquakes, has reduced the Colosseum by two-thirds. One can only imagine what it must have looked like during its glory years.
There is so much history associated with the Colosseum. To fully appreciate the place it held in Roman society, it is best to take one of the Colosseum tours that cater for small groups, no larger than 25 people.
The Spectator Experience
Spectators entering the Colosseum did so through one of 76 arches. The best seats, ones reserved for the Emperor and his entourage, were on the podium, just meters above the arena floor.
Different classes were kept separate from one another. The first three levels were quite grand, but as you went up to tiers four and five, the dimensions became smaller, and the area was not decorated to the same extent. The top tiers were not accessible to visitors for many years, but today, Colosseum tours can arrange access to this area. These top tiers are separated from the other more noble spectators by a high wall. Although these top tiers were for the common man during Roman times, today they offer the best view of the entire structure, and of Rome itself.
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