THE COLOSSEUM in Rome is a marvel of Roman engineering and the greatest of the many amphitheaters of the empire. Opened by the emperor Titus in A.D. 80, it held about 50,000 people and was designed so well that everyone could have got out of the building in a few minutes. The secret was in the skilled use of the arched of vaults, and the corridors and stairways leading to the seating. The arched vaults on the ground floor formed 80 entrances for the crowds, each marked with a number to help visitors to find their seats. A huge canvas awning was often stretched over the top to provide shade from the sun, and for nighttime shows a massive iron chandelier was suspended above the arena.
However, this extraordinary building was constructed for a horrible purpose:to allow people to watch killing and bloodshed for amusement. Gladiators fought each other to the death, and other men fought animals from the corners of the Roman world.
These so-called games were paid by emperors and other important Romans to gain popularity.