The Colosseum was the greatest Roman amphitheater of ancient times. Located in the city of Rome, it became a symbol of Roman power and grandeur—and also of violence. For hundreds of years, the Colosseum presented gladiator* fights, wild animal spectacles, and other types of entertainment. Much of the entertainment was violent and bloody, with thousands of gladiators, slaves, prisoners, and animals killed each year.

Construction of the Colosseum began about A.D. 75 during the reign of the emperor Vespasian. The dedication ceremonies for the amphitheater took place five years later, and it was named the Flavian Amphitheater in honor of the Flavian family of emperors who had supervised its construction. However, it later became known as the Colosseum after a colossal statue of the emperor Nero that stood nearby.

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