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Arles Amphitheater
Author: Paul-Louis FERRANDEZ | Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported | Amphitheater in Arles (France)

The amphitheater (amphiteatrum) was an open arena in the shape of an ellipse or a circle, surrounded – mostly with step-by-row rows of seats for spectators and intended for public screenings, among others gladiator fights, fighting with wild animals, naumachia.

In the ancient Greek theater, it was an open-air audience, arranged semicircularly on the slopes of hills, equipped with stone seats. In ancient Rome, this building evolved from a separate courtyard, on which gladiators fought. Around the courtyards, benches began to be placed, which in time were placed in several rows on a dump. Later, the whole was surrounded by a wall. Eventually, the amphitheater became a great entertainment complex with an audience (cavea) often accommodating tens of thousands of spectators, with many chambers, masts for unshielding the cover (velarium) and many other amenities.

During the Roman Empire, hundreds of amphitheatres were built, mainly in Italy and the west. A decidedly smaller number of amphitheatres in the eastern provinces of the empire resulted in the reluctance of their inhabitants to bloody pastimes.

The most famous amphitheater is the Roman Colosseum.

  • Witold Szolginia, Architektura Warszawa 1992

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