Roman Colosseum

Topics: Roman Empire, Ancient Rome, Vespasian Pages: 8 (2918 words) Published: March 19, 2008
The ancient Roman Colosseum is perhaps the most astonishing wonder in the history of Architecture known to man kind. The Colosseum served to provide a place of entertainment for the people of Rome and dole out harsh punishments portrayed through shows ending with death to menaces of society. The basis for the idea behind the Colosseum began with the Roman Emperor Vespasian who overtook the Emperor Nero to gain control of the Roman Empire. Much like Nero and other emperors during his time, Vespasian developed a reputation for conveying harsh punishment upon the citizens that jeopardized law and order in the empire. Therefore in 69 A.D. he ordered master craftsman to employ gangs of slaves to construct a facility that would satisfy the entertainment needs of society. The Colosseum allowed law abiding citizens to witness the fate of criminal souls. The harshness of the acts that took place inside the arena of the Colosseum served to keep citizens within the lines of the law. Those who decided to disobey could easily be and most likely forced to participate in fighting and killing among men and beasts in front of 70,000 blood charged Romans watching the spectacle . Although Vespasian did not live long enough to see dream become reality, construction on the Colosseum did not halt. The successive emperor, Titus, continued with Vespasian's cruel traditions by sponsoring 100 consecutive days of gladiatorial exhibitions, games, and venations – "huntings"-. These games and exhibits highlighted fights between people and beasts. The architectural aspects of the Colosseum serve to represent both the elements of punishment and entertainment of society during the times. The labor intensive construction of the Colosseum was completed by gangs of slaves underneath the watchful eyes of master builders. Ironically, the gangs of slaves essentially built the structure within which their punishment may occur may in the future. These men, destined for castigation, ultimately participated in building one of the greatest, most valuable historical structures to architecture known to man kind. Their endearing work on the Colosseum represents the depth of culture in the Roman society during ancient times. From an abstract view, it is an incredible feat that the lowest class in ancient Roman society conquered a nearly impossible project for the times. The idea of replicating the same design and building process today would require a vast supply of manpower and masonry knowledge that most likely dos not exist today. During the time of Ancient Rome vast resources of skillful, yet enslaved men were available to work diligently at little to no cost to the empire. For this reason the magnitude of the architectural process that contributed to the amazing design of the Colosseum is incredible because of the extensive workforce. The slaves who labored so intensively on the Colosseum probably never considered the impact of their work on future generations Romans. Little did they know that the style and history of both the construction and architecture behind the Colosseum would stand to serve as a reminder of the beastly values of Roman society at this time. Perhaps the most important design element of the Colosseum is the use of arcades to provide structural stability. Cut stone set to try represents nearly every part of the visible construction of the structure, except in the vaults and corridors and passages. This design technique contributes to the distinct characteristics of Roman architecture that is portrayed by the masterful use of stone. In order to create the most efficient viewing area for all spectators, the Colosseum was formed as a ring like structure. Following the elliptical shape of the arena, this design consists of an outer corridor that forms the outer most ring of the Colosseum. Extending from the outermost ring there are smaller corridors via which wedge - shaped passages lead toward the internal ring surrounding...
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