Example research essay topic: Roman Colusseum – 1,514 words

… or changes of attitude towards Christians came
with the Constantine the Great. He last exchanged
the purple pagan robes for the white robes of
Christian faith. However paganism continued until
392, when Theodosius I and Valentinian II
prohibited any form of pagan sacrifice. However it
was Honorius who abolished the games of the
Colosseum, but criminals were still persecuted
there for more than one-hundred years. 11 After
that it was generally used up until the end of the
sixth century for concerts, sermons, and

The structure itself of the Colloseum
can be summarized as the symbol of Rome and it’s
respect across the world: mammouth. The overall
plan is a huge elliptical structure measuring
about 617 by 512 feet: the measure of the actual
arena are 280 by 180.12 Estimates of capacity
range from 45,000 to 50,000 spectators. It is
believed to be made of two half circles in order
for the accoustics to be amplified. The building
incorporates many Roman influences with some Greek
past, and some of its own technologies that are
some of the most wonderous creations of man. The
most important of aspects of this monument are in
its arches, columns, vaulting, technological
advances, and in its mere magnitude. The arches
and barrel-vaulting are typical of Roman buildings
and architecture, but should be given more

The Colosseum is built as four stories
which was unprecedented in its day. The arch was a
great Roman architecture innovation which allowed
for great amounts of weight to be carried over
long spans. The arches allowed for the great load
bearing required to support a monument such as the
Colosseum. Arches are built by a series of stones
or bricks placed side by side in such a manner
that they can support one another and weight while
bridging a wide space. A barrel-vault is a half
cylinder created from the continuation of the
arches. The outermost walls of the structure sat
on eighty piers connected by stone barrel-vaults.
The four stories symbolized the basic Roman
orders: Tuscan (variation of Doric), Ionic,
Corinthian, and tall Corinthian pilasters on the
fourth story.

The outer walls on the bottom were
faced in Doric columns faced with travertine with
an Ionic entablature which ran all around the
building. Inside the building the columns on the
bottom were Doric and contained two parallel
corridors barrel-vaulted in concrete which
surrounded the building. The second level and
third level were similar to the first, except the
outer walls were separated by lined up columns of
the Ionic order, and the third level outer wall
was Corinthian. The fourth level is different than
the first three and this had much to do with the
covering of the Colosseum which will be discussed
later. It consisted of a flatter surface with
Corinthian pilistars and in alternating sections
contained windows. The roof of the upper corridor
seems to have formed a flat wooden platform below
the top of the outer wall.

The sailors who
operated the roof used this platform. The seating
was sat at a 37 degree angle13, and had a stairway
system to enter the three levels as shown by the
cutouts of the four levels below. The building was
not made all of travistine, but was made of
lighter and porous pumice stone and also of brick
and concrete. The seating on the bottom was
covered in marble and brass, and higher levels
were made of wood. Some of the technology employed
at the time of this building is very similar to
today’s buildings of similar uses for games. For
instance there were 76 entrance gates of the 80

The latter four were used for emperors and
gladiators (one of which was used to drag the
bodies to an unmarked grave). The entrance gates
were numbered and corresponded to numbers stamped
on the fan’s tickets much like todays sporting
events. With 80 gates one could easily maneuver to
their correct gate. In the ground floor contained
an intricate labyrinth of cells which housed the
gladiators, animals, and workers. There were
splendid uses of machinery in which to lift the
gladiator or animal to the surface of the battle
arena. But the most amazing construction at the
Colosseum had nothing to do with the show.

It was
designed purely for the benefit of the audience,
to keep them calm and content as the violent
spectacle unfolded below. It was a roof. The roof
of the Colleseum was one that was retractable and
much like a sailor. So much in fact, sailors who
lived in a nearby town managed the velarium, or
colored awning. This was a remarkable feat
considering that most stadiums now days are still
not fully enclosed (such as the Cowboy’s stadium).
The use of the corbels on the uppermost deck and
the use of a pulley system brought about this feat
of ingenious. Some archeologists thought that the
roof was non-existent or was a web of ropes, but
it is now believed to be made from masts and

The masts would hold horizontal masts on
which to pull the awning over. It is believed that
it did not cover the whole structure, but at least
the most important seatings of the emperor for the
whole day.14 Hebrew prisoners and slaves of the
time employed the building of the Colesseum. All
the details of the actual construction are
unknown, but it is based upon a barrel-vaulted
scheme that circles around. The builders used
tavertine blocks to construct a framework of
piers, arches, and linked walls and vaults. The
cement posts go deep into the ground to support
the great weight. The lower level vaults were
constructed of tufa or pumice.

On the upper floors
the walls were built with brick and concrete
(utilizing volcanic sand to dry). Travertine was
used to surround the outside and was held in place
by iron clamps. 15 The experience of being outside
the Colosseum was plain except for the added
statues. The outside of the building was paved
with boundaries and roads. One could make out the
hundreds of semicircles and arches. The arches
increased upwards from Truscan, Doric, and
Corinthian columns to the Corinthian Pillars and
wall of the fourth deck.

The outside was a
brilliant travertine that must have been a
spectacular sight. Next to the building one would
feel he is nothing but a little gnat compared to
the great building. To get inside one must enter
their gate, and proceed up the stairway to the
designated level much like a modern stadium. Since
there were 80 entrances, many people could occupy
the great Amphitheater. Inside the Coloseum the
arena floor was wooden and covered with sand to
soak the blood. There was a great podium made of
marble on the sidelines housed the dignitaries.
Above that were marble seats for distinguished
private citizens.

The second held the middle
class, the third held slaves and foreigners, and
the fourth levels were for women and the poor who
sat on wooden seats.16 The great velarium was
multicolored and must have been a specticle on the
inside of the Colosseum when raised. This would
also shadow and protect the fans from nature. The
arches allowed for great ventilation, stability,
and passageways to keep the crowd comfortable all
day. On a whole the Colosseum is symbolized by its
size which represents the greatness of Rome. The
name may be attributed to its size, or some
believe to the colossal statue of Nero nicknamed
the “crowned colossus” that was nearby. With all
of the circular motifs used by the arches, and of
the building itself, some believe it symbolizes
the sun.

This also makes sense considering part of
the Colosseum was built from the Golden House of
Nero, also known as the solar statue, or sun
statue. Many symbols used in the Colosseum were of
Pagan descendent. This included the sacrifices,
purple robes, battle-axes, and hammers of the
Etruscan Pagans. The cross was erected to
commemorate the early Christians who are believed
to have died here (although there is no evidence
to support this belief). The great arch beside the
Coliseum was erected in the third century in honor
of Constantine, although much of its decoration
was pilfered from monuments to other emperors.
Since one of the symbols was of the sun, the
arches created natural and splendid light and
shadows as shown in the picture. Much poetry has
been written of the light, shadows, and even smoke
from the arches of the Colosseum.

When it was not
noon the light would create long shadows and yet
have bright instances which accentuate the arches
and columns in the bright light. It shows an
alternating natural pattern of shadows. One of the
first natural changes of the Colosseum came in 320
when lightning struck and damaged the building. In
422 it was damaged by an earthquake. However
Theodosius II and Valentitian III repaired it only
to be again damaged by an earthquake in 508. After
the sixth century the city of Rome and the
Coleseum went downhill because of some devastating

Towards the end of the sixth century
grass was starting to grow rampant at the
Colosseum, . Bibliography:.

Research essay sample on Roman Colusseum