December 19, 2008
Gladiators are back!
Gladiators will return to the Colosseum … though only in mock fights. The events will take place to mark the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of Emperor Vespasian, who began the construction of the structure. Originally known as the Amphitheatrum Flavium, the Colosseum is the largest amphitheater ever built in the Roman empire. Its plan is a vast ellipse, with tiers of seating for 50,000 spectators, measuring externally 188 m x 156 m (615 ft x 510 ft). The modern-day gladiators could be drawn from Rome’s “gladiator school,” whose 200 members spend their weekends dressed in sandals and breast plates and learning ancient fighting techniques.