One of the most historically relevant places on this planet is Rome, which is also home to some of the greatest architectural remnants of the past. One such relic of this city is the Colosseum.
Famed as one of the seven wonders of the world, Colosseum is a standing proof of the majesty with which ancient Romans lived and protects the legacy left behind by one of the greatest ancient empires of all times.
We all must have studied about the gigantic amphitheatre in textbooks. If not, there is no way you do not know about it, even a little. However, there are certainly a few things which most people miss out about the Colosseum, and I am going to enumerate them in this post.
Here are 8 facts about the Colosseum which might surprise you!
- Not What It Was Originally Called
Yes, Colosseum was not called by this name in the beginning. The construction of the amphitheatre started in 72 AD during the Flavian dynasty. Because of this, the Colosseum was originally called the Flavian Amphitheatre.
It was only in the Middle Ages that the name was changed to Colosseum, which was essentially to pay respect to the giant statue of the not-so-humble Emperor Nero, which was once situated close to the amphitheatre.
- Talk About How Grand It Is
It may be an ancient amphitheatre now, but its class is top-notch. If you did not know already, Colosseum is still the largest amphitheatre on this planet. It is about 189 m long, 156 m wide and 50 m high. It was so grand that it could easily accommodate 50,000 people and had about 80 entrances. Super cool, right?
- A History mired with blood
Colosseum was not just an arena for sporting events. It was also used as a place to execute prisoners and renegades—in fact, such executions were a daily routine.
The reputation of the giant amphitheatre was thus not all glorious. It was also said that the Colosseum was a potent ground for witchcraft and paganism. Adding to this, of course, were the gruesome sporting events which were characterised by all sorts of cruelty including killing off around 10,000 animals every day.
- Colosseum Contributed To Other Monuments
You should know that about two-thirds of the actual Colosseum has been destroyed, particularly due to vandalism and natural calamities. Whatever ruins were left of the amphitheatre were used in the construction of other monuments such as Palazzo Barberini and St. Peter’s Basilica.
- Symbolism against the death penalty
As noted above, Colosseum has a notorious and cruel history marked by numerous executions. It stands as a grim reminder that death penalty is inhumane and should be eradicated. For a good 15 years, this monument was chosen as the face of the campaign against death penalty. In fact, and quite interestingly, every time a man is saved from gallows, the entire amphitheatre shines in green light.
- Lots of Flora
Imagine a place which was known for death and which now houses life in the form of varied kinds of flora. The flora grew out of what was left after the 851 AD earthquake which is responsible for the amphitheatre’s current asymmetrical condition.
Inside Colosseum, you would notice about 242 plant species growing, and many of them are exotic. In fact, the number once stood at 684. The preservation of these unique species has been possible because of the microclimates present in the amphitheatre providing ideal conditions.
- Gladiator was not shot here
Yeah, I know I got you! Well, much to your displeasure but the famous Gladiator was not shot here at the Colosseum. It was in another Roman amphitheatre called El Jem situated in Tunisia that the movie was filmed. But, the creative team did an excellent job, didn’t it?
- Not Just An Ordinary Arena
The Colosseum is among the seven wonders for a good deal of reasons. One of the reasons is its overall design, which once comprised several rooms as well as underground passages.
These were the rooms and passages where the ill-fated animals and gladiators were maintained. Also, the designers thought of sensationalising the events for spectators and included around 36 trap doors. Man!
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