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Amphitheatra

Collecting all the individual amphitheatra entries on pp5‑11 of

Samuel Ball Platner (as completed and revised by Thomas Ashby):
A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome,
London: Oxford University Press, 1929.


p5 Amphitheatrum: a form of building that originated, apparently, in Campania, but was developed in Rome after the end of the republic. It was widely diffused throughout Italy, and has always been regarded as a distinctly Roman structure. It was intended primarily for gladiatorial contests and venationes, which had previously taken place in the forum. Around the open area of the forum temporary seats had been erected, forming an irregular ellipse. This was the reason for the shape of the amphitheatre, and for the name itself which means 'having seats on all sides.' This word, however, does not occur before the Augustan era, and was at first applied to the circus also (Dion. Hal. IV.44); in the inscription on the building at Pompeii (the earliest extant example) we find spectacula used (SJ 128).

The amphitheatres erected in the city of Rome itself were the following:

Amphitheatrum Caligulae: begun by Caligula near the Saepta, but left unfinished, and abandoned by Claudius (Suet. Cal. 21): see Aqua Virgo.

(pp5‑6) Amphitheatrum Castrense: see separate page.

(pp6‑11) Amphitheatrum Flavium: see separate page.

Amphitheatrum Neronis: a wooden structure, erected by Nero on the site of that of Statilius Taurus (q.v.). It was finished in a year, but is spoken of by Tacitus (Ann. XIII.31) in such a way as to imply that it was not a remarkable building (Suet. Nero 12; Plin. NH XVI.200; XIX.24; Vict. Ep. 5.3).

Amphitheatrum Statilii Tauri: an amphitheatre built of stone by L. Statilius Taurus in 29 B.C., probably in the southern part of the campus Martius (Cass. Dio LI.23; Suet. Aug. 29; Cal. 18;1 Tac. Ann. III.72; Strabo, V.3.8, p236; CIL VI.6226‑6228). It was burned in 64 A.D. (Cass. Dio LXII.18), and Nero built another (q.v.) on the same site (HJ 496; cf 595, HCh 197 for the church of S. Angeli de domo Egidii a Poco, not de Rota, as Lanciani (Forma 14) and Armellini2 363 believed).


The Authors' Note:

1 Caligula is said to have looked upon it with scorn (Cass. Dio LIX.10), perhaps on account of its small size.


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Page updated: 22 Mar 09