ART075 11:00 a.m. TR
April 6, 2012
The primary function of the Colosseum was for showing gladiatorial battles against animals. The shows were called “muneras” and were hosted by individuals as a show of their wealth. Often, these events were private and not held by the state. This amphitheatre is also representative of the Flavian dynasty. This dynasty began with Vespasian and his two sons succeeded him. Vespasian ruled from 69 A.D. to 79 A.D. Then, Titus ruled for a short period of time from 79 A.D. to 81 A.D. Domitian ruled the end of the dynasty from 81 A.D. to 96 A.D. Together, this family greatly impacted the city of Rome and gave back to the citizens. The Colosseum is the focal point of this dynasty and what the emperor’s had accomplished. The function of the Colosseum is of great importance. On the morning of an event, a pompa was performed. A pompa was a morning procession and included performers, fighters, priests, and others of the community. Afterwards spectators would pour into the amphitheater. Slaves and women would sit in the highest level while senators and vestal virgins were closest to the arena. There was an imperial box for the emperor located at the center on the north side (Mueller 18). A crucial phase for the games was called the “venatio.” This occurred throughout the entire morning and is known as the wild beast hunt. When captured, these animals became apart of the event by entering the arena for a fight and typically were slaughtered throughout the games. Leopards, lions, and tigers were the considered the most popular, however, other animals such as elephants, rhinoceroses, giraffes, and bears also appeared in the arena. When the Colosseum was inaugurated in A.D. 80, Titus captured about 9,000 animals for the series (Mueller 20).
Another important aspect of the Colosseum that pertains to the function is the hypogeum. As if by magic, the animals would enter the arena in various ways due to the elaborate tunnel system. The spectators would be in anticipation waiting to see what the next animal would be and whether it would surprise any hunters in the arena. Emperors often played jokes on citizens by sending out harmless creatures such as chickens and allowed the participants in the arena to exit after proclaiming an apology (Mueller 21).
The Colosseum also functioned in the political role. Rome had conquered lands far away and the killed animals were to represent the challenge that came with capturing wild lands. The executions performed were to symbolize the unforgiving justice (Muller 28). When I see pictures of the Colosseum, I see a building with great magnitude and importance. There are tremendous arches and entrances. The layout of the amphitheatre gives it a dome like feeling and signifies the importance of the events that took place within it. There are multiple mediums included in this work. The obvious are bricks, concrete, and stone. The stone is easily visible from the outside and is the easiest to determine. In the early years of completion, the Colosseum had statutes and contained marble. However, over the years the citizens of Rome, to embellish the looks of their own homes, have stolen the marble. The Colosseum once contained a canvas roof that was used when the weather was unfavorable. This building may be harder to formally analyze because it contains a variety of different sections with specific elements. One of the main focal points is the inscription above the entrance. The inscription recognizes the time and effort put forth by popes. It also displays a tradition of Christianity for the martyrdoms that took place there. The total number of entrances is 76 plus four grand entrances that were not numbered. There are three levels of arches and then an upper level above the arches. These levels are equivalent to a 12-story building and the whole Colosseum stands roughly 187 feet in height. There is stadium like seating with an