- Location: Roma,
- Date: 72 - 80
The Emperor Flavius Vespasian erected this wonderful Amphitheatre A. D. 72, after his return from the Jewish war, on the site of Nero's lakes and gardens, that is, almost in the midst of ancient Rome. It is said to have been finished in five years; and to have cost 10,000,000 crowns, and employed 12,000 Jews, who were made slaves at the conquest of Jerusalem. Vespasian also transported the famous colossal statue of Nero, which that ernperor had raised in the vestibule of his palace, to the square before this Amphitheatre; hence the name of Coliseum: although some persons believe this denomination to have arisen from its extent, and really colossal height. Titus completely finished it and solemnly dedicated it to his lather, Vespasian.
These dedications varied according to the description of the edifice: the dedication of a theatre was celebrated by a drama; that of a circus by a chariot-race; that of a Naumachia, by naval combats; and that of an amphitheatre, by gladiators* combats, and the hunting of wild beasts. It is related, that on the dedication day of this superb edifice, Titus had 5,000 animals, of different species, brought here, which were all killed : besides these games, naval combats were exhibited, although there was a place purposely appropriated to mock sea-fights. The only difference between the amphitheatres and theatres was, that the latter were in the form of a semi-circle; and the former, like a whole circle ; so that they resembled two theatres joined.