The Great Flavian Amphitheater
The Great Flavian Amphitheater, or the Roman Colosseum, is without question one of the richest structures ever built. Not only is it a feat of technological invention, it represents an economic and social culmination of ideas and skills which united to bring to fruition a design which crossed decades, emperors, and styles. The importance of the Colosseum lies certainly in its structural innovation, but also in the way in which history has seen and evolved new usages of the ambitions and concepts which led to its creation. Your research paper should examine the physical and imperial circumstances surrounding the structure itself, then will consider how further generations have evolved new types and typologies for their own use and adaptation. The Colosseum will be seen not as a historical monument entrapped in its era, but rather as a living legacy.
Construction of the Colosseum
Construction of the Great Flavian Amphitheater began in 72 A.D. on the grounds of Nero's Golden Palace It was begun under Vespasian (69 A.D-.79 A.D.) and completed in 80 AD under Titus (79 A.D. – 81 A.D.) The fire which led to the destruction of Nero's great amphitheater gave Vespasian the opportunity to present such a design to the Roman people. The structure was approximately 280 meters long and 175 meters wide, oval in geometry, 48 meters high, and rested on the same site as Nero's devastated project.
The arena measures approximately 75 meters by 50 meters, and could seat up to 45,000 spectators. There were both wooden and marble seats; less-expensive wooden seats were used for the lower class, while marble was reserved for the upper class. More then seventy entrances to the structure allowed all the spectators to move freely within the building and also, for the first time in a major construction, allowed them to leave easily; an advanced safety precaution was designed into the structure so that the entire crowd could exit in a short amount of time. In addition, a comprehensive ramp-and-staircase system was constructed under the floor, in order to move people and animals from one part of the arena to another.
Materials of the Colosseum
The Colosseum required 100,000 cubic meters of Travertine marble and over 300 tons of iron. The stone was carried in by carts, and both citizens and prisoners were employed in the massive task of building the ampitheatre. While the outer walls were marble, the inner walls were made of tufa and other softer building materials that could be more easily worked and handled. Concrete arches sprang from stone pillars, building on earlier Roman architectural advances of arches and corbelling.