The Amphitheatre

The Amphitheatre was built in about 80 B.C.. It hadn’t undergrounds under the level of the arena that was elliptic and surrounded by a parapet, decorated with paintings with scenes of fights. The cavea , that is the tiers, was divided in three flights of steps, the last one for women. Four passages allowed the admission to the cavea. Two places along these passages were used to assist the gladiators wounded in the fights. In the upper part there were the holes to support the velarium, the gigantic tarpaulin that was spread to shelter the audiences from the sun and the rain.
In the arena people ( the amphitheatre could contain about 20,000 people) could follow the fights among fierce beasts and gladiators or among gladiators. A lot of gladiators became famous. They were slaves or prisoners of war who tried to obtain the liberty. The performances took place initially in the forum, then in the amphitheatres.
These performances were born during the cruel funeral ceremonies , celebrated with the rite of the human sacrifice on the shrine of the dead to calm the fury of the infernal gods.


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