The Roman Colosseum was originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre and was commissioned by Emperor Vespasian in AD 72. It was completed by his son, Titus, in AD 80, and was later improved on by Domitian.Vespasian ordered the Colosseum to be build on the site of Nero's palace, the Domus Aurea, to dissociate himself from the hated tyrant. His plan was to gain popularity by staging deadly combats of gladiators and wild animal fights for public viewing. Massacre was on a massive scale: at the inaugural games in AD 80, over 9,000 animals were killed.
Roman gladiators were almost all slaves, prisoners of war or condemned criminals, although some were volunteers. The fights were attended by the poor, the rich, and sometimes the emperor himself. One contest after another was staged in the course of a single day. If the ground become too soaked with blood, it was covered over with a fresh layer of sand and the performance continued.
The gladiatorial games continued until Christianity progressively put an end to those parts of them which included the death of humans.
The Colosseum is situated just east of the Roman Forum and was built with practicality in mind, with 80 arched entrances allowing easy access to over 55,000 spectators, who were seated according to their rank. The Colosseum is an enormous ellipse measuring 188m long and 156m wide. In it’s original state 240 masts were attached to stone corbels on the 4th level. Today the Colosseum is a major tourist attraction with thousands of tourists visiting the interior arena. There is now a museum dedicated to Eros in the upper floor of the outer wall of the building. and part of the arena has been re-floored. Underneath the Colosseum, a network of subterranean passageways once used to transport wild animals and gladiators to the arena opened to the public in summer 2010.