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Roman amphitheatres

Case study of the Arles Ampitheater, Rome

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Roman amphitheatres

  1. 1. ROMAN AMPITHEATRES • Large, circular or oval open-air venues with raised seating – built by the Ancient Romans • About 230 Roman amphitheaters have been found • Used commonly for gladiator combats, chariot races, animal slaying and executions
  2. 2. ARLES AMPHITHEATRE (ARLES, FRANCE)  Two-tiered Roman amphitheatre located in the southern French town of Arles  Built in 90 AD  Capable of seating over 20,000 spectators  Built to provide entertainment in the form of chariot races and hand- to-hand battles
  3. 3. BACKGROUND  With the fall of the Empire in the 5th century, the amphitheatre became a shelter for the population and was transformed into a fortress with four towers  Encircled more than 200 houses, becoming a real town  Between 1826 and 1830, the houses were removed to clear the place out to make it an amphitheatre again
  4. 4. THE BUILDING  Built by the Roman architect T. Crispius Reburrus sometime around the first century AD  Measures 136 m (446 ft) in length and 109 m (358 ft) wide, and features 120 arches  Oval arena surrounded by terraces, arcades on two levels (60 in all), bleachers, a system of galleries, drainage system in many corridors of access and staircases for a quick exit from the crowd  Inspired by the Colosseum in Rome
  5. 5. MATERIALS AND TECHNOLOGY  Built on a bedrock with a wooden floor often provided on the rock. The joists supporting the wood can still be seen in many places  Lower level gallery comprised of 60 arches alternating with Doric piers, in the upper gallery, the 60 arches interspersed with attached Corinthian columns  Seating space divided into three tiers of seating steps at which height, it could accommodate anywhere between 21,000 to 25,000 spectators  Double row of arcades, each adorned with 60 archways with a width of 3.38 m.  Four arches, each 4.8m wide lead to the arena. They lead to a platform, followed by steps to the seats around and another set of stairs leading to the higher seats, just like a modern day stadium
  6. 6. ACOUSTICS  Wooden joists on which it was built helped to absorb the sound  Seating and arrangements easily provided good access and sound to the people anywhere in the two tiers  However, an obvious problem sometimes encountered in this oval Roman amphitheatres, as opposed to the semi-circular Greek amphitheatres : echo.  Thus it was only used for activities where audience noise is usually welcome like chariot races, battles, etc.
  7. 7. PRESENT CONTEXT  Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site  Still continues to be used as a playing arena  Bull fights and occasional musical shows and plays are held from time to time