Daily Archives: December 27, 2014

The exterior of the Roman Colosseum

The exterior of the Roman Colosseum is made entirely of travertine, stretching 527 m around and four stories high. The arches of the second and third stories were originally filled with statues. There were 80 entrances, with the two principal ones reserved for the emperor and his entourage. The interior is made of brick, tufa and marble; little of the marble survives today. The central area, the arena, was covered with a great wooden floor and canvas to make it waterproof. Over this was a layer of sand to absorb blood – in fact “arena” derives from the Latin word for sand. The floor is now exposed down to its underground passages, where beasts and gladiators awaited their fate, and crossed by a modern walkway. The arena was surrounded by a 5m-high wall to protect spectators from attacks by wild beasts. At the top of the wall was the podium, on which the imperial party and other VIPs had their seats. Near the site of the imperial box is a cross, which replaces an earlier one set up to commemorate the Christians who were believed to have been martyred here.Above this was the cavea, or seating area. This was divided into three tiers: the lowest for knights; the middle for wealthy citizens; and the top for the general population. In total the Colosseum could hold up to 45,000 spectators. The base of the Colossus statue of Nero, after which the amphitheatre is named, can be seen between the Colosseum and the nearby Temple of Venus and Roma.

F/3.5, 1/320 sec, ISO – 100, Photoshop CS6

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