The Colosseum is an oval structure with a 156m short axis and an 188m long axis. Load-bearing pillars were made of travertine blocks, while exterior walls, staircases, and radial walls were made of tufa blocks and bricks. The construction was strongly supported by arches and vaults. The ground floor was used for exhibitions and games, while upper floors were given over to private suites and ballrooms.
The building was originally covered in marble but now only parts of it remain. It consists of two main sections: a larger section called the Palatine (or Imperial) part which forms the more modern part of the stadium and contains offices, shops, restaurants, and other facilities; and a smaller section called the Trajan's Forum part which is now only accessible via a museum visit or through some of the rooms in the Palatine part.
The design of the Colosseum reflects that of many Roman buildings: it has a concrete core surrounded by stone walls. This type of construction was commonly used at the time because it was easy to build and cheap to heat in cold climates like Rome's.
The interior of the Colosseum has been completely remodeled several times since its construction. The original idea was that this would be a place where wild animals could be kept and displayed for public entertainment. But after the animals became expensive to maintain, they were replaced with actors and musicians who performed for crowds watching competitive games.
The Colosseum is a Roman Empire amphitheatre erected in Rome by the Flavian emperors. The Flavian Amphitheatre is another name for it. It is an oval edifice built of stone, concrete, and tuff that reaches four floors tall at its peak. The structure was used for entertainment purposes including sports events and bloodfights. It also served as a place of execution.
The Colosseum has three levels for seating: the arena, the loggia, and the palatine. The top level, the arena, was reserved for those who paid to see fights to the death. Men and some women were put to death here. Below the arena were two levels of seats called the loggia, which opened onto an arcade. From where they stood, spectators could look down into the center of the arena where the condemned men's bodies were thrown in order to make room for more.
The bottom floor or palatine was open air. Here people could watch executions, but they weren't as important as seeing fights to the death so they were usually free admissions. Children under 12 years old were not allowed inside the Colosseum.
When the Colosseum was built, it was the most advanced piece of architecture in the world and one of the largest buildings ever constructed. It took 20 years to build and it could hold up to 50,000 people.
To strengthen the strength of the arches, the builders blended Roman concrete with stone (Alchin, n.d.). The Colosseum is surrounded by 80 arches, each 4.2 meters wide and 7.05 meters tall on the base floor and 6.45 meters tall on the higher floors, for a total of four stories (Pepe, n.d.). The arches are made of limestone mixed with sand and gravel to make a hard, durable material. They were probably reinforced with wood beams inside the structure.
The tympanum above the entrance doors shows Jupiter, the king of gods, flanked by lightning bolts. It was designed by Myron and executed by Pheidias. The sculpture is now in the British Museum in London.
Inside the arches are 16 rows of red granite columns supporting the ceiling. Each column is about 1.5 m high and has a diameter of about 30 cm. The builders used the softening effect of water to cement the joints between the stones. First, they washed the stones to remove any dirt or vegetation and then poured an adhesive into the space between the stones. When the resin had dried, they returned and polished off any rough edges where the stones met. Finally, they gave the whole structure a final wash with water to remove the adhesive and prepare it for use.
The walls and ceilings are covered with paintings created by artists from all over Europe. There are many scenes showing battles between Romans and Italians, including gladiators fighting with swords and spears.
The Colosseum was constructed using travertine stone and tufa, both of which were local, limestone-based stones. Instead of mortar, iron clamps kept the stones together. The outside would have been stunning if it had been coated with marble. There are numerous holes visible all over the stones of the Colosseum, particularly in the interior structure. These are for wood beams that held up the arena floor. Above the hole is an indentation where the beam used to be attached.
Marble is a natural rock composed of carbonate of calcium and magnesium or sodium. It can be white, black, red, or green depending on how much iron is present within the stone. Marble is popular for use as wall and flooring material because of its beauty and durability. The Colosseum is covered in these holes all over even though they are not visible from outside the arena.
Limestone is one of the most common sedimentary rocks in the world. It is made up of thin layers of aragonite or calcite pressed together into a solid mass. Limestone tends to be pale yellow, white, or gray depending on the type of mineral present within it. The Colosseum is built out of these same minerals so they would have looked very similar.
Tufa is shaped by water and air currents flowing underground toward a point where they hit impermeable rock. This causes the ground to rise up in domes or peaks called "tuff banks".