Marvelling At The Colosseum ArchitectureAncient Engineering | Colosseum Spectacular Seating | Grand Walkways
Emperor Vespasian initiated the construction of the largest amphitheatre in the world and till date, the most visited attraction in the world, the Colosseum.
The Intricacies Of The Colosseum Architecture
The Basics Of The Colosseum Architecture
A structure which stood for close to two millennia and was built in less than 10 years is a marvel in itself. The ellipse-shaped structure measures at 188m (617ft) at this length and while the smaller axis is 156m (512ft). Where the gladiators and animals stood to entertain the enthralling crowds, that area measured 290 feet by 180 feet.
The Colosseum stood at almost 50 metres high. Several varied materials were used in the construction of the structure. The foundation was covered by a travertine layer. The pillars on the first floor were filled with tufa bricks (a variety of limestone) and then firmly anchored with melted metal. In this way, the pillars were raised to the second floor and beyond and since the material used was so strong, the upper and lower levels could be worked on at the same time to complete the construction in record time.
Based on some research, the Colosseum was able to accommodate 50,000-80,000 spectators at any given time. With 80 entries and exits, much planning would have gone to build this structure to accommodate emperors, their senators, special guests, spectators as they watched what was to unfold on the arena floor.
Thanks to the brilliance of the architects, multiple stairways and arches were built within the structure to move the considerable number of people in and out of the building without having the problem of stampedes or overcrowding in one particular spot.
In 847, parts of the Colosseum collapsed – the southern side, due to an earthquake.
Inside The Colosseum
With over 100 fountains and restrooms, the crowd was taken care of. The retractable roofs of today pay homage to the Colosseum which in those times also had a retractable roof, called the Velarium. It was used during the hot days to shade the spectators sitting on the topmost tiers.
The arena floor was wooden supported by wooden poles and covered by sand for the gladiators, animals to display their strength and viciousness. But, the brilliance in engineering was that the poles could be removed as they were temporary fixtures, just like the wooden floors.
Below the grounds of the arena were two levels, the hypogeum. This was an extensive expanse of corridors and tunnels with cellars to keep the animals, gladiators, slaves, equipment, and weapons required for the gory games to be played out on the arena.
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