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Why is the Colosseum round?

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The Colosseum is round because it is an amphitheater. Simply stated, amphitheaters developed by taking the design of a traditional theater, with a semicircle of seats on one side, and doubling it to make a round or oval-shaped performance space. In fact, the word amphitheater literally means a two-sided theater. There were amphitheaters all over the Roman Empire, but the Colosseum was the largest and most well-known of them all.

The building's round shape allowed for a maximum number of spectators. It is thought that the Colosseum could hold up to 80,000 audience members. Unlike drama performances which were often staged in semi-circular theaters, the spectacles held in the Colosseum, animal and gladiator fights, were meant to be viewable from all sides. Therefore,...

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