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Flavian Amphitheatre

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Discuss at least three (3) specific elements of the Flavian Amphitheater. What architectural elements were used, how was the building designed for large crowds, what was the building used for, what are the dimensions, why is it called an arena, etc.?

The Flavian Amphitheater, more commonly known as the Colosseum, is a splendid example of architecture from the early first century. The structure was composed of four visible levels each of a different order although there were more levels on the interior. The first level was the sturdiest and built in the Tuscan order with barrel and groin vaults. The floor area of the amphitheater was covered in sand. Arena is Latin for sand and thus it is called an arena which is a term we still use for stadiums and similar structures, although we no longer cover the floor with sand. The second level is of the Ionic order again with barrel and groin vaults and the third and fourth levels of the Corinthian order which is the most ornate. The size of the Flavian Amphitheater is immense and it has an elliptical shape. It is estimated that during performances it could hold over 50,000 spectators (Text 186) and seating depended on one’s social status, with more prominent people getting to sit closer to the action and lessor people sitting in the uppermost seats. Perhaps the most renowned performances that could be watched in the Amphitheater were gladiator fights. These grisly battles were either hand-to-hand combat or gladiator against animal.…...

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