In the minds of the Romans, the amphitheater was a place of significant
savagery was regularly enacted. It was also a place of justice: certain
over its enemies: prisoners of war were either executed or forced to fight each
other as gladiators. But for the professional gladiator it was also a place of
redemption, in which one could overcome death by victory or by stoically
(Venerable Bede,VIIth century AD)
were rigged to the top to form awnings that kept the sun off everyone inside.
The bottom three stories have 80 arches each; the stories are separated by a
bottom story has 80 entrance arches, each of which is separated by a Doric
column (the columns are engaged, which means the column shafts are actually part
has engaged Ionic columns, and the third has Corinthian. The fourth story is a
solid wall with thin Corinthian pilasters (rectangular columns that are also
engaged). The space between the pilasters is filled alternately with 40 small,
recatangular windows and 40 bucklers (now lost).
The unique combination of strong support columns with airy arches and thin
archetraves makes the Colosseum look sturdy, yet open and soaring. The Doric
column is the oldest type it is strong, simple, and even severe in appearance,
making the first story appear to be a strong foundation. Moving up the building,
the columns become progressively "newer" and more refined, lending a
lightness to the upper stories.
Two phrases sum up the characteristics of Roman civilization in days of the
compassion, no liberality. Such are the scenes which we must witness, such are
the sentiments with which we must become familiar, the very moment that we turn
chiefly as yet of slaves and artisans, who had been taught to imitate a Divine
example of humility and sincerity, of purity and love.