(Greek "theatron"), enjoys the distinction of two spellings: in British English, "theatre" and in American English, "theater". There is no technical distinction between the meanings of the two spellings, however most theatre artists prefer the English spelling because it creates a historical nod to the ancient Greek term theatron
. Some also use the American spelling to designate a theatre building and the English term to reference the art itself, as in the "art of theatre."
Theatre is that branch of the performing arts concerned with the creation of stories or narratives for (or with) an audience using combinations of acting, speech, gesture, music, dance, object manipulation, sound and spectacle — indeed, any one or more elements of the other performing arts. In addition to standard narrative dialogue style, theatre takes such forms as opera, musicals, ballet, mime, kabuki, classical Indian dance, Chinese opera, mummers' plays, and pantomime.
The inaugural games of the Flavian Amphitheatre
were held in 80 AD
, on the orders of the Roman Emperor Titus
, to celebrate the completion of the Colosseum
, then known as the Flavian Amphitheatre. Vespasian
began construction of the amphitheatre around 70 AD, and it was completed by Titus soon after Vespasian's death in 79 AD. After Titus' reign began with months of disasters, including the eruption of Mount Vesuvius
, a fire in Rome, and an outbreak of plague, he inaugurated the building with lavish games which lasted for more than a hundred days, perhaps partially in an attempt to appease the Roman public and the gods. Little documentary evidence of the nature of the games remains. They appear to have followed the standard format of the Roman games
: animal entertainments in the morning session, followed by the executions of criminals around midday, with the afternoon session reserved for gladiatorial combats and recreations of famous battles. Only three contemporary or near-contemporary accounts of the games survive. The works of Suetonius
and Cassius Dio
focus on major events, while Martial
provides some fragments of information on individual entertainments and the only detailed record of a gladiatorial combat in the arena to survive to the present day: the fight between Verus and Priscus.
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