The colosseum also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre is one of the most famous structures in Rome. It is an amphitheatre that is elliptical in shape located in Rome city, In Italy. It is the largest building in Roman Empire with a capacity of 50 000 spectators. The building is 188m by 156m with a height of 48m and has about 80 entrances. Vespasian was the one who begun the Colosseum and was finished in 80 AD by Domitian and inaugurated by Titus, Vespasian’s son who succeeded him. According to Gabucci (2002), the plan of the Colosseum was designed for specific roles and effects. The major role was the provision of a permanent purpose-built arena located in the centre of Rome for hosting different forms of entertainment for the Ancient Romans.
The Colosseum was the largest building in the Roman world. The design of the immense and breath-taking amphitheatre acted as a means of communicating the culture, wealth, might as well as power of the city of Rome and the Roman Empire. The colosseum derived this name from its colossal dimensions and from the colossal statute of Nero. The site of the Colosseum was in a valley occupied previously by a lake. The planning and architecture had to be carefully planned (Adam, 1990). The inauguration of the colosseum took 100 days where gladiator contests and celebrations were conducted.
The construction of the Colosseum took duration of less than 10 years to build. This was a remarkable accomplishment for the excellent and highly skilled engineers coupled with their famous skills in the field of engineering. The architecture of the Colosseum is an illustration of their use of concrete that is one of the most famous invention by the Romans. The Roman arch was especially prominently characteristic in the design, style and building of the Colosseum as were the different styles of architecture observed in the Roman columns. This is a clear indication that the mastery of architecture, design and erection of buildings by the Romans was excellent (Wilson-Jones, 2000). The colosseum was particularly designed through the principle of the arch.
The Colosseum has a classical design in its architecture (Adam, 1990). This is observed in rows of arches making each of the levels whereby the first level contains 23ft high and 14 ft wide order known as the Doric, which is the first story. The design of the second level consists of 21 ft and ft wide Ionic arches followed by the third level, which is 21 ft and 14 ft wide consisting of Corinthian style arches, the third story. Eighty walls containing support vaults on the passageways, the stairways and the tiers of the seats radiate the arena. Above the three story’s there is an attic story consisting of Corinthian pilasters and a window opening that is square in shape. A canopy meant for shade, the velarium is suspended at the top brackets. The Corinthian contains no archs but is decorated using Corinthian lesene. The amphitheatre also contains multilevel systems of vaults made using concrete.
The construction of the Colosseum used a careful combination of different types of materials ranging from concrete for the foundations, travertine constructed the piers and arcades while tufa infill was uses between piers for the walls of the lower two levels, the Doric and the Ionic. Lastly, brick-faced concrete was used to construct the upper levels as well as most of the vaults. The floor of the arena was made out of wood and covered with sand. Hypogeum was used below the floor of the arena; other areas included the tunnels of ingenious systems as well as chambers meant for slaves, the gladiators and wild animals. The colosseum had some underground tunnels that were connected to the stadium using stables and gladiator barracks (Gabucci, 2002). At the entrances and staircases, marble and iron dividers were used in the arrangement. This was meant to demarcate the different clientele according to class.
The Colosseum was a meeting place for thousands of persons and served different purposes such as political, entertainment among other functions. Most of the events conducted at Colosseum served to unite people through cultural diffusion. However, the Colosseum is also believed to have caused loss of life through the fights between the gladiators, men and the wild animals as well as the navel fights. In addition, this vast building had broad corridors and carefully planned passages and entrances. The seats were arranged in six tiers (Blaser & Stucky, 1983).
In conclusion, the elliptical Colosseum still stands intact despite some ruins by fire and other disasters and is one of the most significant landmarks in Rome. The walls of the Colosseum are seen rising over much of its historic surroundings. The Colosseum being solid, thick and sturdy showed a characteristic of how Romans desired people to perceive their empire. The arena is an all time impressive construction that used the arch principle taking advantage of the site being a valley to allow the three columns, Doric at the bottom, the Ionic, the Corinthian and the top most attic to stand tall.
Concrete is the material used by the Roman engineers to refine their work and construct the four storeys’ that made the Colosseum. It was through bringing together of great and bright minds that the Colosseum was constructed. Everything used was considered state of the art during that era from the methods, the style and the materials that constructed the Colosseum.