Daily Dose: Colosseum

Add to TwitterWhat kind of masonry blog would this be if we never wrote about the Colosseum? Luckily, you’ll never have to find out, because this is your Daily Dose of ancient Roman masonry! An ancient host of gladitorial games and battle reenactments and modern-day tourist attraction, the Colosseum has consistently been a gathering site for crowds of visitors. In fact, when it was first constructed, it could seat up to 50,000 people. Read on for more astounding facts about this newly-appointed World Wonder.

Colosseum at night

The Colosseum was built in 8 years, from 72-80 AD. Its oblong shape spans an area of 6 acres and is 615 feet in length and 510 feet in width. Rome’s masterpiece doesn’t just take up a sizeable chunk of land; it also extends four storeys into the sky (on top of all those underground passages!) Each of the first three levels are adorned with engaged columns of the doric, ionic and corinthian orders. The distinction between the three can be determined by the relatively simple or elaborate capitals – the icanthus leaves of the corinthian order being the most extravagant design. Travertine limestone was used for the outer wall, set with mortar and 300 tons of iron clamps. In 1349, when the Colosseum sustained significant damage from an earthquake, this stone was reused to build palaces, churches and hospitals in the city of Rome.

Interior of Colosseum

As this photo clearly shows, the wood floor that once covered the underground passages of the Colosseum is no longer in existence and has not been reconstructed. In its early years, the floor was covered with sand and served as the site for bloody, deadly battles between human slaves and exotic animals. In an interesting turn of events, the Colosseum is now used as a symbol for the campaign against capital punishment. At night, the lighting is changed from white to gold when someone’s sentence has been commuted or a jurisdiction abolishes the death penalty. Sounds like the battleground has changed its tune…

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Sources:

http://archaeological-buildings.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_construction_of_the_colosseum
http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colosseum
http://andwewent.wordpress.com/category/rome/

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2 Responses

  1. […] in my humble defense, I have written about Rio de Janeiro’s Solar City Tower and the Colosseum). In order to remedy this omission, I’m bringing you five of most unique and architecturally […]

  2. […] to build an extensive arcade wall and rusticated lower level that makes visual reference to the Colosseum in Rome, Italy. A blend was created specifically for Michigan’s stadium and the layout […]

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