View Page: The Colosseum: Power, Brilliance, and Brutality
University of Washington Honors Program in Rome

The Colosseum: Power, Brilliance, and Brutality
Section One 1 of 7

The Colosseum
The Colosseum stands today as a symbol of the power, genius, and brutality of the Roman Empire. It is commonly known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, named after the dynasty of emperors that presided over its construction. Vespasian, who ruled from 69-79 CE, began construction of the Colosseum. Titus, his older son, dedicated the Colosseum and presided over the opening ceremonies in 80 CE. Vespasian’s younger son, Domitian, completed construction of the monument in 81 CE. The funding for building the Colosseum came from the spoils of the Judaic wars that the Flavians fought in Palestine.

Because of earthquake and fire damage, the Colosseum underwent repair until the 6th century. However, after the 6th century, the Colosseum sat in disrepair, was neglected, and used as a quarry for hundreds of years. Some of the outer arcades and most of the inner skeleton of the Colosseum remain intact today.