Amphitheatre of Pompeii
The Amphitheatre of Pompeii is the oldest surviving Roman amphitheatre. It is located in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, and was buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE, that also buried Pompeii itself and the neighboring town of Herculaneum.
Design and Construction
Built around 80 BCE, the current amphitheatre is the earliest Roman amphitheatre known to have been built of stone; previously, they had been built out of wood. The next Roman amphitheatre known to be built from stone is the Colosseum in Rome, which postdates it by over a century. Contemporarily, it was known as a spectacula rather than an amphitheatrum, since the latter term was not yet in use at the time. It was built with the private funds of Quinctius Valgus and Marcius Porcius.
The amphitheatre's design is seen by some modern crowd control specialists as near optimal. Its washroom, located in the neighboring palaestra has also been cited as an inspiration for better bathroom design in modern stadiums.
Gladiatorial Contests in the Amphitheatre
The famed preservation of Pompeii and its amphitheatre have given insights into the gladiatorial culture of Rome. Around 59 CE, a deadly brawl occurred between Pompeians and residents of Nuceria during games in the amphitheatre, resulting in a 10 year ban on such events.
Aside from being a historical landmark and an object of archaeological study, the amphitheatre has been used for concerts and other public events in modern times.
- BBC, "Pompeii Art and Architecture Gallery", Joanne Berry (accessed 7 May 2009)
- History Channel, The Most (2001), episode "Family Business"
- 'CSO: Security and Risk', "Modern Crowd Control Lessons (from Ancient Pompeii)", Scott Berinato, 18 May 2007 (accessed 7 May 2009)
- Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii
- University of Chicago, "Amphitheatrum", James Grout, 'Encyclopaedia Romana' (accessed 7 May 2009)
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