Colosseum was built by the emperor Vespasian. He was the emperor of Rome from
A.D. 69 to A.D. 79 when the commissioned the Colosseum. The year before he
became emperor, four emperors had been murdered for being cruel and
selfish. But Vespasian wanted to change all of that. He was strong, and a
leader of action and strong conscience. He knew that he would have to work hard
to win the favour of the Romans, who were fed up of the anger, poverty, and
violence caused by the previous emperors.
One of the ways to gain the favour of a Roman crowd was to provide them with
entertainment. Gladiator games were one of the most popular forms of
entertainment among the Romans, even though the city of Rome had no
suitable place to hold the games. The city needed an amphitheater, or an arena.
Vespasian decided to give the city a Rome a gift, not just any gift, the largest
amphitheater ever built. He started the construction on the enormous, complex Flavian
Amphitheater- which would later be called the Colosseum- in A.D. 75.
Vespasian did not live to see the completion of the Colosseum. After his death
in 79, his oldest son, Titus, continued construction on the amphitheater. Titus
opened it to the public in 80. After Titus' untimely death the following year,
Domitian- Vespasian's youngest son and Titus' younger brother- built the
underground components, and finished the decorative work.
The finished building, with its soaring facade, grand arches, and fifty thousand
seats, was imposing and magnificent. Its image was stamped on coins. It was a
tribute to the power and grandeur of the Roman Empire and a stunning symbol of a
Pictures of the Colosseum
Table of Contents
Timeline of the Colosseum