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The magnificent Roman Colosseum was a symbol of the power of Ancient Rome and its Emperors. A remarkable example of Roman architecture and achievement, it was built by Emperor Vespasian, the structure took 10 years to complete. It was given its name to reference the size, colossal, next to a huge statue of Nero also enormous.
It could hold up to 50,000 people and there were many events held there, including gladiator fights, simulated navy battles, part of the lower arena could be flooded with water for ships to sail and do battle for the crowds. It was both a source of entertainment for the Roman public and a way for the Emperor to express his absolute power to his people. There were executions, that were also considered entertainment, in the arena.
"wild animal hunts were held at the Coliseum. During the staged fights as many as 10,000 people were killed. Fighters were slaves, prisoners or volunteers. Spectators saw persecuted Christians killed by lions. After 404 AD gladiatorial battles were no longer held, but animals such as lions, elephants, snakes and panthers continued to be massacred in the name of sport until the 6th century."
The Roman Colosseum did not so much contribute to the 'rise' of Ancient Rome as it contributed to the consolidation of Imperial power held by the Emperors. Although the 1st. century is considered the time of the 'Pax Romana' (Roman peace), it came with a great price paid for by the roman people. Known as the Flavian Ampitheather, its construction was begun under the Emperor Flavius-Vespasian in 69 C.E. (A.D.) to calm the nature of 'the beast' otherwise known as the people. Plain and simple,the construction of the Colosseum was a colossal public relations venture. As a structure it spoke volumes, it was erected on the land that the Emperor Nero had built his palace. The Roman people hated Nero so how better for a later Emperor to 'bond' with the sentiments of his people than to build on top of it. Flavius-Vespasian also understood that distraction was a powerful silent political tool that if used properly could prove beneifical to his concentration of power. Completed in 79 C.E. under Flavius' son the Colosseum did not fail in the court of public opinion. Roman citizens loved it and never knew that they were being manipulated by the imperial power of Rome.
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