The Colosseum

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The Colosseum is a giant amphitheater in the centre of the city of Rome. Originally capable of seating 45,000-50,000 spectators, it was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles.

Its construction began between 70 and 72 AD under the Emperor Vespasian. The amphitheater, the largest ever built in the Roman Empire, was completed in 80 AD under Titus, with further modifications being made during Domitian’s reign.

The Colosseum remained in use for nearly 500 years with the latest recorded games being held there as late as the sixth century – well after the traditional date of the fall of Rome in 476. As well as the traditional gladiatorial games, many other public spectacles were held there, such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, reenactments of famous battles, and drama based on Classical mythology.

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The building eventually ceased to be used for entertainment in the early medical era. The Colosseum is one of modern Rome;s most popular tourist attractions and still has close connections with the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope leads a torch-lit “Way of the Cross” procession to the amphitheatre every Good Friday.

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