Colosseum



[kol-uh-see-uh m] /ˌkɒl əˈsi əm/

noun
1.
an ancient amphitheater in Rome, begun a.d. c70 by Vespasian, having the form of an oval 617 by 512 feet (188 by 156 meters).
2.
(lowercase) .
/ˌkɒləˈsɪəm/
noun
1.
a variant spelling of coliseum
/ˌkɒləˈsɪəm/
noun
1.
an amphitheatre in Rome built about 75–80 ad
n.

1560s, Medieval Latin name for the classical Amphitheatrum Flavium (begun c.70 C.E.), noun use of neuter of adjective colosseus “gigantic;” perhaps a reference to the colossal statue of Nero that long stood nearby (see colossus).

A great arena of ancient Rome, which seated fifty thousand. It is in ruins today, but its former glory can still be imagined.

Note: Some of the contests staged in the Colosseum were between gladiators, who fought with swords; some were between people and animals. The arena could even be flooded for mock sea battles.

Note: According to tradition, persecuted Christians were fed to lions in the Colosseum for the entertainment of the Romans. (See also bread and circuses.)

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