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The Colossal Colosseum

The Colosseum stands today as a symbol of the power, genius but also brutality of the Roman Empire.

It is commonly known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, named after the dynasty of emperors that presided over its construction. Vespasian, who ruled from A.D. 69-79, began the construction of the Colosseum. Titus, his older son, dedicated the Colosseum and presided over the opening ceremonies in A.D. 80. Vespasian’s younger son, Domitian, completed the construction of the monument in A.D. 81. The funding for building the Colosseum came from the spoils of the Judaic wars that the Flavians fought in Palestine. In A.D. 80, Vespasian’s son Titus opened the Colosseum–officially known as the Flavian Amphitheater–with 100 days of games, including gladiatorial combats and wild animal fights.

Because of earthquake and fire damage, the Colosseum underwent repair until the 6th century. However, after the 6th century, the Colosseum sat in disrepair, was neglected, and used as a quarry for hundreds of years. Some of the outer arcades and most of the inner skeleton of the Colosseum remain intact today.


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