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Bill Thayer

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Roman Amphitheatres

[image ALT: The Roman Colosseum.]

The Colosseum, of course;
looking east through the colonnade of the Temple of Venus and Rome.

Now before we start, repeat after me: an amphitheatre and a theatre are different types of buildings.

Amphi-theatres are "theatres in the round": amphi- means "around" in Greek.

A theatre is a space with a stage, and the audience is on one side of it. People need to hear, so a theatre is relatively small.

An amphitheatre is for action: it's a sports arena, where the spectators sit around the field. They need to see, but they don't really need to hear, so an amphitheatre can be much larger.

Amphitheatres look like this: and just plain theatres look like this:

[image ALT: A plan of a large oval structure.]
[image ALT: A plan of a smaller semicircular structure.]

This index covers amphitheatres. For the Roman theatre, go here.

If you are really interested in the Roman amphitheatre and how it worked,
see this article from Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1875)
with plans, diagrams, and lots of solid text,
further illustrated with some of my better photographs of the Colosseum.

[image ALT: A very large amphitheatre thru a grove of pine trees.]

[image ALT: Some fairly tall ruins in half an oval of grass.]
Ariminum (Rimini)

[image ALT: Some fairly tall ruins in half an oval of grass.]
Arretium (Arezzo)

[image ALT: A large oval walled garden.]
Assisium (Assisi)

1 page, 1 photo

[image ALT: A large oval walled garden.]

1 page, 1 photo

[image ALT: missingALT]
Hispellum (Spello)

2 pages, 14 photos

[image ALT: This sward of nicely cut grass doesn't look much like an amphitheatre!]
Mediolanum (Milan)

1 page, 1 photo

[image ALT: missingALT]
Mediolanum (Saintes)

1 page, 2 photos

[image ALT: Patch of forest said to be in the shape of an amphitheatre. It is the almost non-existent remains of the Roman amphitheatre of Mevania, in Umbria (central Italy).]
Mevania (Bevagna)

1 page, 1 photo

[image ALT: missingALT]
Ocriculum (near Otricoli)

placeholder, 1 photo

[image ALT: missingALT]
Amphitheatrum Castrense

2 pages, 2 photos

[image ALT: missingALT]
Rusellae (near Roselle)

1 page, 5 photos

[image ALT: A tombstone showing an armed horseman beating up on some poor guy: it's a Roman funerary stele.]
in Britain

1 page of text

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Site updated: 30 Aug 05