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Roman Games, Coliseum, and Circus Maximus. By: Chris Aikins and Connor Holt. Coliseum. Facts. Construction started around 70-72 under Emperor Vespasian Largest amphitheatre in Rome Coliseum is used for Gladiatorial games Third story completed by the time Vespasian died

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roman games coliseum and circus maximus

Roman Games, Coliseum, and Circus Maximus

By: Chris Aikins and Connor Holt

  • Construction started around 70-72 under Emperor Vespasian
  • Largest amphitheatre in Rome
  • Coliseum is used for Gladiatorial games
  • Third story completed by the time Vespasian died
  • Top level was finished and building was inaugurated by Vespasian’s son, Titus, in 80 B.C
  • Coliseum was badly damaged by a major fire caused by lighting in 217 A.D
  • Fire destroyed upper wooden levels of the coliseum’s interior
  • Coliseum was fully repaired in 320 A.D
  • Coliseum had to be repaired again because of a major earthquake
  • The Arena of the coliseum was used for contests until well into the 6th century
  • Was built on the site of an artificial lake
  • Was given its name because of the giant statue of Nero
  • 55,000 people could enter the building
  • 80 entrances and exits
  • Upper storey of the coliseum was for lower class and women
  • Lowest storey was reserved for rich citizens
  • Games consist of Roman chariot racing, gladiator fights , public executions, and “sea battles”( which actually lake naval battles)
  • Chariot racing has teams and colors (white, green, red, or blue)
  • Originated as funeral games
  • Gladiators were mostly unfree individuals
  • Some Gladiators were volunteers( Even Emperors)
  • Gladiators were generally regarded as beneath the law and unrespectable citizens
  • Most gladiators became popular heroes
  • Some gladiators could be freed and either continue to fight , be a gladiator trainer, or become a bodyguard for the wealthy
  • There are four types of gladiators: Thracian, Secutor, Retiarius, Bestiarius
  • Thracians have a wide-brimmed crested helmet with a visor, high greaves on both legs, arm protector, very small shield, and a short curved sword
  • Secutors have a egg shaped helmet with round eye holes, greave on one leg, arm protector, legionary-style shield and sword
  • Secutors are often called “chasers”
  • Retiarius have a arm and shoulder protector, large net, trident, small dagger, no helmet and is very mobile
  • Bestiarius have small leather armor, a whip and a sword or dagger
  • Bestiarius was the only type of gladiators to be trained to handle and fight wild animals and was the lowest ranking gladiator type
  • Criminals were executed during the annual lunch break of the games by being killed by animals, murdered through a mythological tales, or fight a professional gladiator with no previous training
  • Mainly used for Chariot Races
  • Romulus first introduced Chariot Races
  • Largest Stadium in Ancient Rome
  • Bronze dolphins were used to count the number of laps
  • The structure was hit by three fires
  • Was also used for gladiatorial combats
  • The structure is three stories high
  • The seating area was built in marble
  • Circus Maximus is 600m long and 150m wide
  • The colors of Chariot Racers represented the seasons
  • The last race at Circus Maximus was held in 549 A.D
  • Races were held at Circus Maximus for almost a millennium
works cited
Auguet, Roland. Cruelty and Civilization: The Roman Games. London: Allen and Unwin, 1972.

A view on cities. Circus Maximus

Barton, Carlin A. The Sorrows of the Ancient Romans: The Gladiator and the Monster. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993.

Futrell, Alison. Blood in the Arena: The Spectacle of Roman Power. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1997.

Grant, Michael. Gladiators. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1967.

Harris, H. A. Sport in Greece and Rome. Aspects of Greek and Roman Life. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1972.

Pearson, John. Arena: The Story of the Colosseum. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1973.

Pilli, Maya. Roman coliseum.

Wiedemann, Thomas. Emperors and Gladiators. London: Routledge, 1992.

Wistrand, Magnus. Entertainment and Violence in Ancient Rome: The Attitudes of Roman Writers of the First Century A. D. Göteburg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis Universitatis, 1992.

Works Cited