The AMphitheatre www.misterconnor.or g Describe them These were large, circular or oval open-air venues with raised seating, similar to modern sports stadia. They were used for
events such as gladiator combats, venationes (animal slayings) and executions. About 230 Roman amphitheatres have been found across the area of the Roman Empire. Details Amphitheatres are distinguished from circuses, hippodromes, which were usually rectangular and built
for racing events. Several of these terms have at times been used for one and the same venue. Amphitheatrum means "theatre all around". Thus an amphitheatre is distinguished from the traditional semicircular theatres by being circular or oval in shape. Components Consists of three main parts: the cavea, the arena, and the vomitorium.
The seating area is called the cavea (enclosure). Cavea is formed of rows of stands which are either supported by arches built into the framework of the building, or simply dug out of the hillside. Components (2) The summa cavea is the highest section and was
usually open to women and children. The media cavea directly follows the ima cavea and was open to the general public, though mostly reserved for men. The ima cavea is the lowest part of the cavea and the one directly surrounding the arena. It was reserved for the upper echelons of society.
Components (3) The front row was called the prima cavea and the last row was called the cavea ultima. The cavea was also divided vertically into cunei. A cuneus (Latin for wedge) was a division separated by the scalae or stairways.
Components (4) Arched entrances at the arena level and within the cavea are called the vomitoria (Latin "to spew forth) and were designed to allow rapid dispersal of large crowds. The fighting area was called the arena. This word derives from the Latin for sand (harena).
Pompeiis AMphitheatre This building is largely still intact, despite time and Vesuvius. In the nearby gladiator barracks were found the skeletons of six men, chained together for punishment. Graffiti in Pompeii confirms the great popularity of some gladiators. The retiarius Crescens looks after the girls; hes their lord and master. Like many Roman entertainments, games were paid for by ambitious men trying to gain favour with the mob. Gladiators owned by Aulus Suettius Certus will perform at
Pompeii on May 31. Venatio and velaria will be provided. The Skinny Oval shape distinguishes them from semi-circle theatres. Hundreds across the empire indicates the popularity of the games. Amphitheatre means theatre all around. Cavea, arena, vomitoria. Summa cavea, media cavea, ima cavea show strict class structure. Seating cut into cunei, providing scalae walkways. Vomitoria were exits built to disperse large numbers of
spectators. Pompeiis amphitheatre still intact after 2,000 years. Sources Taylor, David. Roman Society. Bristol Classical Press, 2001. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_amphitheatre http://www.basileusonline.it/vomitorium
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