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The Amphitheater of Capua Vettere (page 1 of 3)

  

 

A wide shot of the second largest Roman amphitheater in Italy

    The amphitheater was designed to accommodate great numbers of people.  Like the coliseum in Rome, 10 years were spent during the construction of this great edifice.  Throughout the structure, there are stairways and ramps; elevators brought the animals, gladiators and scenery up from vaulted chambers beneath the arena.  Crowds were controlled by a system of numbering tickets to match gate numbers, and by stairs leading directly to the various levels - techniques that are still used in modern sports arenas (Hadas, 162)

   It has been difficult to pin an exact construction date on this amphitheater.  Martha Pichey states that the construction of this amphitheater predates the coliseum (Rome) by 100 years.  Microsoft's Encarta'99 CD states that the Coliseum in Rome was completed in 80 AD.  Therefore I must conclude that the Capuan amphitheater was constructed sometime between 30 BC and 1 AD. 

     Above you can see what still remains of the once great structure.  The amphitheater stands naked as most of the marble, that once lined the outer walls, has been stripped away leaving the underlying brickwork exposed.  This is the view from the parking area.  In the foreground you can see the gardens where some remnants of the intricately sculpted marble can be seen. (Pichey, 76)

   A small portion of a large mosaic (below).  The entire mosaic is approximately 12 meters by 18 meters and may have originally served as the pavement of the entrance area.

A section of the huge mosaic in front of the amphitheater

   (Lower left)  This is the highest point that remains.  The amphitheater originally had four tiers. The pinnacle that is shown in this photo was once part of the third level.  This is Italy's second largest amphitheater.  It is 170m long and 140m wide.  Cicero wrote that it seated 100,000(Pichey, 76), however modern archeologists claim that only 50,000 spectators could have been accommodated. (Encarta)

   Below you can see the arena floor.  Notice the curbs at the tops of the channels; timbers were placed across the tops of the channels to seal them off, then they were covered with sand to create the arena floor. (Nucci)

 

This is all that remains of the third level

the exposed field where the gladiator games were played

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