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The Colosseum: Architecture - Research Paper Example

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In the paper “The Colosseum: Architecture” the author examines the greatest architectural and engineering works of the Romans. Located on the east side of the Roman Forum between the Caelian and Esquiline hills, construction began in 72 AD under Emperor Vespasian…
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The Colosseum: Architecture
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Download file to see previous pages The amphitheatre was constructed with sitting tiers that had a capacity of about 50,000 spectators. The colosseum had 80 entrances to ensure that spectators had ease in entering and exiting during events (Pepe, “The Colosseum”). From the ground level upwards, the structure was four storied. The upper storey had seats for persons that were considered low class. Prominent citizens occupied the lowest storey. The arena floor was wooden. Below it was a complex maze like design that held rooms and passageways for beasts, gladiators and involved in onstage spectacles (Bomgardner, 159). To protect spectators from the scorching sun, an awning known as the velarium was used to cover the colosseum.
Many events were held at the colosseum from gladiatorial combats, public executions, and mock battles at sea, re-enactment of battles and beast hunts. The emperors of the time used the colosseum to popularize themselves by hosting free games. During inauguration, Emperor Titus held a 100 day game event in which over 5000 exotic beasts were slaughtered (Hopkins, “The Colosseum”).
The construction site chosen for the amphitheatre was the artificial lake in Nero’s palace. This site was chosen as a symbol for the hatred of Nero’s rule. This are stood between the Palatine and Esquiline Hills. The site had several advantages as well as drawbacks. A major challenge was how to develop a drainage system. The lake was drained. It was further excavated until the clay bed of the lake was reached. This excavated area was then filled in with Roman cement to level the area. A doughnut like ring was created with a thickness of 12 meters (Taylor 138). A brick wall 3 meters thick and 6 meters deep was built to provide reinforcement for the foundation. Unlike other theatres that were usually built into hillsides, the amphitheatre was meant to be free standing. It was designed to be elliptical in shape (Pepe, “The Colosseum”). A drawing of the foundation obtained from Roma (Sotterranea – Luciani) The dimensions of the colosseum put it at 188 m (640 Roman ft/ 615 ft) in length with a width of 156 m (528 Roman ft/ 510 ft). It covered an area of 24,000 m2 at the base. The outer wall is 48 m (528 Roman ft/ 510 ft) in height. Its perimeter was 545 m (1,835 Roman ft/ 1788 ft). The arena was oval in shape with a length of 87 m (287 feet) and a width of 55 m (180 ft). The arena was surrounded by a 5m (15 ft) wall to protect the spectators (Taylor 140). General plan of the colosseum http://www.GreatBuildings.com/buildings/Roman_Colosseum.html Construction Construction started in 72 AD under Emperor Vespasian. The construction used a combination of materials. This ranges from concrete, travertine stone, tuff and iron. The foundation was laid using concrete as the main component. The piers and arcades were made of travertine stone. The materials used to construct the colosseum can be found easily in the Roman area. The travertine stone that used was quarried from Tivoli (known as Tibur during ancient Rome). This was the material used to construct ground floor, the main pillars, and the external walls. It was chosen ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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