Friday, September 25, 2009


Initially the contests took place in the forums or "piazzas" of the city (Suetonius Caesar 39, Tiberius 7). Later, the greater frequency and length of the games led to the construction of special buildings large enough to hold hunts and fights simultaneously. Thus the amphitheater was created.
This type of building appears to have been invented in Campania. Indeed, the oldest amphitheaters that we know of are in this region, such as the one at Pompeii. Rome was one of the last cities in the Empire to fit up its own amphitheater. Until then, the contests in the capital were held in wooden buildings that were dismantled after each spectacle.
The first permanent amphitheater in Rome was built under Augustus, by Caius Statilius Taurus in the Campus Martius (Dio Cassius 51.23.1). After this structure was destroyed in the fire of A.D. 64, Vespasian planned the construction of the Colosseum, which was ultimately inaugurated by Titus in A.D. 80.

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