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The Colosseum is oval shaped arena measuring 187 by 155 meters and 50 meters high. This is the most important and biggest amphitheatre of the Roman Empire, capable of seating up to 50,000 spectators at a time. Originally it was called Amphitheater Flavio, but with time this structure came to be known as Colosseum.
The name derives from the bronze statua colossale di Nerone ( literally: colosal statue of Nerone) and also to the colosal dimention of the building (Amphitheater Flavio).
Construction of the Amphitheater began by Emperor Vespasian in 70 A.D. Seven year in to the construction Vespasian died and his son Titus completed and inaugurated the Amphitheater in 80 A.D. The opening ceremony is said to have lasted 100 days and a number of animals ranging from 5000 to 10,000 were believed to have been slayed for this special occasion alone.
The main motive to construct the Amphitheater was to divert attention of people from the political quagmires which were fomenting the seat of the Roman Empire in the second half of the first century A.D. The arena hosted professional and deadly (gladiatorial) fights, sea battles, animal hunts, executions and dramas.
The Colosseum has 3 rows. The first row was for first class (senators, government representatives, military officials). The second row was for the middle class and the last row to the lower class. Colosseum was connected to other training facilities like the Ludus Magnus (the Great Gladiator school) by underground passageways.
The Colosseum was out of service since the Middle Ages and parts of the monument was destroyed by earthquakes, stone robbers, unawarenes, negligence. In the 21st century, this is one of the main sources of income in the Italian economy.