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"What need, then, of dwelling on the place of horrors, which is too much even for the tongue of the perjurer? For the amphitheatre is consecrated to names more numerous and more dire than is the Capitol itself, temple of all demons as it is. There are as many unclean spirits there as it holds men."
Tertullian, De Spectaculis (XII)
Isidore of Seville is only slightly less critical of the spectacles. "A 'spectacle' in my view is in general the name of a pleasure that corrupts not in itself, but through those things that are done there" (Etymologies, XVIII.16.1).
Begun by Vespasian, the Colosseum (Amphitheatrum Flavium) was dedicated by his son Titus in AD 80, with games that lasted one-hundred days. It was completed by his brother Domitian, who added the substructure and a series of ramps and pulley-drawn cages that allowed the animals to be introduced through trapdoors into the arena.
In this detail from the Model of Rome, the Temple of Venus and Rome is in the background and in the foreground, two training schools built by Domitian: the Ludus Magnus for gladiators and the Ludus Matutinus for animal fighters.
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