Named for a giant golden and bronze sculpture of Emperor Nero, later changed to the Roman Sun God, the Colossus statue that sat adjacent to the stadium gave this historic building the name Colosseum that we are so familiar with today.
THE ORIGINAL BUILDERS
With Nero’s suicide in 68AD, Rome was plunged into the Year of the Four Emperors. Vespasian, who took the empirical throne in 69AD, pleased the Roman people by initiating a city wide building enhancement project. His two sons, Titus and Domitian, who each succeeded him respectfully, rounded out the Flavian Dynasty which would rule Rome for the next 27 years. Part of the city building plan was to fill in the Golden Palace of Nero, in an attempt to erase his memory from history. One of these projects was to drain Nero’s central lake and build an amphitheater that would be used to provide games and entertainment to the people of Rome. The colossal statue of Nero was then placed outside the new amphitheater as decoration after Nero’s likeness had been changed to that of the Sun God.
HOW WAS THE COLOSSEUM BUILT
The construction of the Flavian Amphitheater began in 72AD under Emperor Vespasian. More than 100,000 cubic meters of travertine were needed to construct the Colosseum, and in order to transport these huge blocks, a 20 mile road was built from the quarry in Tivoli. There were approximately 300 tons of iron used in the construction to hold the travertine blocks together. Using the spoils of war, the riches and slaves brought back from the sack of Jerusalem, the Colosseum construction was completed in just 8 short years. By this time, Vespasian had died and Titus succeeded him to the empirical throne. Under the rule of Titus, the Colosseum was inaugurated as he hosted the 100 Days of Games event in which at least 9000 animals were brutally slain in order to appeal to the masses in attendance.