Building The Colosseum: The Icon of Rome

When you think Rome, you think the Colos­se­um. It’s one of the great struc­tures of the Roman Empire, and it still dom­i­nates the land­scape of the mod­ern city. But how deep does your knowl­edge of the Colos­se­um actu­al­ly go? Which emper­or built the Amphithe­atrum Flav­i­um (as it was orig­i­nal­ly called)? For what pur­pose? And how, styl­is­ti­cal­ly, was it orig­i­nal­ly built and dec­o­rat­ed? All of this gets answered in an image-packed lec­ture by Yale pro­fes­sor Diana E.E. Klein­er, which forms part of her larg­er course on Roman Archi­tec­ture. (Find it on YouTubeiTunes and Yale’s Open Course web site). I queued up the lec­ture at the 20 minute, when Klein­er starts talk­ing about the Colos­se­um itself. But you can move back to the very begin­ning if you want to get some more polit­i­cal con­text.

Final­ly, let me men­tion that Google also lets you revis­it Ancient Rome. Google Earth offers a nice 3D view of the Colos­se­um and oth­er impor­tant Roman mon­u­ments, while Google Street View you tour the ancient ruins of Pom­peii. It’s all free, of course.

Please vis­it our col­lec­tion of Free Online Cours­es to learn more about his­to­ry, lit­er­a­ture, phi­los­o­phy or what­ev­er else piques your inter­est. You’ll find a good 250 free cours­es in the col­lec­tion.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.