See also:building in which the seats for spectators surround-the scene of the performance . The word was doubtless coined by the Greeks of
See also:Campania, since it was here that the gladiatorial shows for which the amphitheatre was primarily used were first organized as public
See also:spectacles . The earliest building of the kind still extant is that at
See also:Pompeii, built after 8o B.C . It is called spectacula in a contemporary inscription . The word amphitheatrum is first found in writers of the Augustan age . In Italy, combats of gladiators at first took place in the forums, where temporary wooden scaffoldings were erected for the spectators; and
See also:Vitruvius gives this as the reason why in that
See also:country the forums were in the shape of a parallelogram instead of being squares as in
See also:Greece .
See also:Wild beasts were also hunted in the
See also:circus . But towards the end of the
See also:Roman republic, when the shows increased both in frequency and in costliness,
See also:special buildings began to be provided for them . The first amphitheatre at Rome was that constructed, 59 B.C., by C . Scribonius
See also:Curio . Pliny tells us that Curio built two wooden theatres, which were placed back to back, and that after the dramatic representations were finished, they were turned
See also:round, with all the spectators in them, so as to make one circular theatre, in the centre of which gladiators fought; but the
See also:story is incredible, and must have arisen from the false
See also:translation of & s4xOiarpov by "
See also:double theatre." It is uncertain whether Caesar, in 46 B.C., constructed a temporary amphitheatre of
See also:wood for his shows of wild beasts; at any
See also:rate, the first permanent amphitheatre was built by C . Statilius
See also:Taurus in 29 B.C .
See also:shell only was of
See also:stone . It was burnt in the
See also:fire of A.D . 64 . We hear of an amphitheatre begun by Caligula and of a wooden structure raised in the
See also:year A.D . 57 by
See also:Nero; but these were superseded by the Amphitheatrum Flavium (known at least since the 8th century as the Colosseum, from its
See also:size), which was begun by
See also:Vespasian on the site of an artificial lake included in the
See also:House of Nero, and inaugurated by Titus in A.D . 8o with shows lasting one
See also:hundred days . It was several times restored by the emperors, having been twice struck by
See also:lightning in the 3rd century and twice damaged by
See also:earthquake in the 5th . Gladiatorial shows were suppressed by Honorius in A.D . 404, and wild beast shows are not recorded after the reign of
See also:Theodoric (d . A.D . 526) . In the 8th century Bede wrote Quamdiu stabit Coliseus, stabit et
See also:Roma; quando
See also:cadet Coliseus, cadet et Roma .
See also:part of the western arcades seem to have collapsed in the earthquake of A.D . 1349, and their remains were used in the
See also:Renaissance as a
See also:quarry for building materials (e.g. for the Palazzo di Venezia, the Cancelleria and the Palazzo Farnese) . Rome possesses the remains of a second amphitheatre on the Esquiline, called by the chronologist of A.D . 354 Amphitheatrum Castrense, which probably means the "
See also:court " or " imperial " 892 amphitheatre . Its
See also:brickwork seems to date from Trajan's reign . It was included by Aurelian in the circuit of his
See also:wall . The remains of numerous amphitheatres exist in the various provinces of the
See also:empire . The finest are—in Italy, those of Verona (probably of the
See also:Capua (built under
See also:Hadrian) and
See also:Pozzuoli; in France, at Nimes, Arles and
See also:Frejus; in Spain, at Italica (near Seville); in
See also:Tunisia, at Thysdrus (El-Jem); and at Pola, in Dalmatia . The builders often took
See also:advantage of natural features, such as a depression between hills; and ruder structures, mainly consisting of banked-up
See also:earth, are found, e.g. at
See also:Silchester (Calleva) . The amphitheatre at Pompeii (length 444 ft., breadth 342 ft., seating capacity 20,000) is formed by a huge
See also:embankment of earth supported by a retaining wall and high buttresses carrying
See also:arches . The stone seats (of which there are
See also:thirty-five rows in three divisions) were only gradually constructed as the means of the community allowed .
See also:Access to the highest seats was given by
See also:external staircases, and there was no
See also:system of underground
See also:chambers for wild beasts, combatants, &c .
In contrast to this
See also:simple structure the Colosseum represents the most elaborate type of amphitheatre created by the architects of the empire . Its external
See also:elevation consisted of four storeys . The three lowest had arcades whose piers were adorned with engaged columns of the three Greek orders . The arches numbered eighty . Those of the
See also:basement storey served as entrances; seventy-six were numbered and allotted to the general
See also:body of spectators, those at the extremities of the major
See also:axis led into the
See also:arena, and the boxes reserved for the emperor and the presiding
See also:magistrate were approached from the extremities of the minor axis . The higher arcades had a low
See also:parapet with (apparently) a statue in each arch, and gave
See also:light and air to the passages which surrounded the building . The openings of the arcades above the
See also:principal entrances were larger than the
See also:rest, and were adorned with figures of chariots . The highest stage was composed of a continuous wall of
See also:masonry, pierced by
See also:forty small square windows, and adorned with Corinthian pilasters . There was also a series of brackets to support the poles on which the awning was stretched . The interior may be naturally divided into the arena and the
See also:cavea (see annexed plan, which shows the Colosseum at two different levels) . The arena was the portion assigned to the combatants, and derived its name from the sand with which it was strewn, to absorb the
See also:blood and prevent it from becoming slippery . Some of the emperors showed their prodigality by substituting precious powders, and even gold dust, for sand .
The arena was generally of the same shape as the amphitheatre itself, and was separated from the spectators by a wall built perfectly smooth, that the wild beasts might not by any possibility climb it . At Rome it was faced inside with polishedmarble, but at Pompeii it was simply painted . For further security, it was surrounded by a
See also:metal railing or network, and the arena was sometimes surrounded also by a ditch (euripus), especially on account of the elephants . Below the arena were subterranean chambers and passages, from which wild beasts and gladiators were raised on movable plat-forms (pegmata) through
See also:trap-doors . Such chambers have been found in the amphitheatres of Capua and Pozzuoli as well as in the Colosseum . Means were also provided by which the arena could be flooded when a
See also:sea-fight (naumachia) was exhibited, as was done by Titus at the inauguration of the Colosseum . The part assigned to the spectators was called cavea . It was divided into several galleries (maeniana) concentric with the
See also:outer walls, and therefore, like them, of an elliptical
See also:form . The place of
See also:honour was the lowest of these, nearest to the arena, and called the podium . The divisions in it were larger, so as to be able to contain movable seats . At Rome it was here that the emperor sat, his box bearing the name of suggestus, cubiculum or pulvinar . The senators, principal magistrates, vestal virgins, the provider (editor) of the show, and other persons of note, occupied the rest of the podium .
At Nimes, besides the high officials of the
See also:town, the podium had places assigned to the principal
See also:gilds, whose names are still seen inscribed upon it, with the number of places reserved for each . In the Colosseum there were three maeniana above the podium, separated from each other by terraces (praecinctiones) and walls (baltei), and divided vertically into
See also:wedge-shaped blocks (cunei) by stairs . The lowest was appropriated to the equestrian
See also:order, the highest was covered in with a portico, whose roof formed a terrace on which spectators found
See also:room . Numerous passages (vomitoria) and small stairs gave access to them; while long covered corridors, behind and below them, served for shelter in the event of
See also:rain . At Pompeii each place was numbered, and elsewhere their extent is defined by little marks cut in the stone . The spectators were admitted by tickets (1esserae), and order preserved by a
See also:staff of
See also:officers appointed for the purpose . The height of the Colosseum is about 16o ft.; but the
See also:fourth storey in its
See also:present form is not earlier in date than the 3rd century A.D . It seems to have been originally of wood, since an inscription of the year A.D . 8o mentions the summum maenianum in ligneis . It is stated in the Notitia Urbis Romae (4th century) that the Colosseum contained 87,000 places; but Huelsen calculates that the seats would accommodate 45,000 persons at most, besides whom 5000 could find standing room . The exaggerated estimate is due to the fact that space was allotted to corporate bodies, whose numbers were taken as data . The greatest length is about 615 ft., and the length of the shorter axis of the ellipse about 510 ft .
The dimensions of the arena were 281 ft. by 177 ft . The following table, giving the dimensions of some of the principal amphitheatres, is based mainly on the figures given by Friedlander ENTIRE BUILDING . ARENA . Greater Shorter Greater Shorter Axis . Axis . Axis . Axis . Rome (Colosseum) 615 5io1 281 177 Capua 557 458 250 148 Julia Caesarea . 551 289 459 197 Italica (Seville) 514 4394 • • Verona 5024 403 248 1454 Thysdrus . 488 406 308 197 Tarraco 486 390 277 181 Pozzuoli 482 383 2361 137 !
See also:Tours . 472 406 223 981 Pola .
4491 3674 230 1444 Arles . 448 352 229 129 Pompeii 444 342 2184 115 Nimes 440 336 227 1261 Pompeii, its
See also:Life and
See also:Art (2nd ed . 19o4),
See also:chap . 3o; for the Colosseum,
See also:Middleton, Remains of
See also:Ancient Rome, ii. pp . 78-110, and Huelsen's art . ` Flavium Amphitheatrum " in Paulyy-Wissowa, Realencyclopadie . (H . S .
AMPHISBAENA (a Greek word, from &pegs, both ways, a...
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