Colosseum Facts

Are you doing a class project on the Romans?

Has your teacher asked you to find out about the world’s greatest amphitheaters?

Or maybe you just love anything to do with blood and gore…

Well, it doesn’t matter why you’re here.

Because soon you’ll have 12 Colosseum facts up your sleeve to entertain your friends and impress your parents.

Colosseum Facts for Kids

  • The Colosseum is an oval-shaped Roman amphitheater in Rome, Italy. It’s sometimes known as the Flavian Amphitheatre because it was built during the Flavian dynasty. The Flavian dynasty, or family, ruled the Roman Empire between 69 AD and 96 AD.
  • It is the largest amphitheater in the world and is made of stone and concrete.
  • Construction was started by Emperor Vespasian in 72 AD and was finished in 81 AD by Titus, Vespasian’s successor. This means it took only 9 years to build, which is impressive even by today’s standards for an amphitheater of that size.
  • The Colosseum was used as a games arena for gladiator contests, executions, mock battles (including sea battles), and animal hunts. Gladiators were armed warriors, usually, slaves, who entertained Roman audiences by fighting in the arena.
  • Gladiator games lasted for nearly a thousand years and were most popular between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century AD. The games declined during the early 5th century when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire.
  • Vespasian’s youngest son added tunnels underneath the Colosseum to hold the slaves and animals that were going to be used in events. The underground tunnels connected different parts of the arena. One led to the gladiator school, which was used as the gladiators’ entrance to the arena. Another connection to the Imperial Palace, which was a special tunnel for the Emperor.
  • The Colosseum could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators. It had box seats for wealthy and powerful people, just like modern-day stadiums. Food and entry to the Colosseum were free to all who were attending events there.
  • Many people died in the Colosseum during its time as an entertainment venue, possibly as many as 400,000. And even more, animals were killed in the great Roman amphitheater.
  • The Colosseum has become a symbol against the death penalty. Today, any time anyone in the world has their death sentence overturned, or they are released, the colors of the Colosseum nighttime light display change from white to gold. This also occurs whenever a country stops using the death penalty.
  • The Colosseum is also still a strong symbol of Imperial Rome, despite being damaged by earthquakes and stone-robbers. Imperial Rome is what historians call the period of time that Rome was ruled by Emperors. For a long time before that, it was a Republic; it had no Emperors and was ruled by a senate (a council of leaders).
  • It is thought that the name Colosseum came from the large statue, or Colossus, of Emperor Nero that stood nearby, which was named after the Colossus of Rhodes.
  • Today, you can see what it might have been like to watch a battle in the Colosseum by watching the movie, Gladiator, starring Russell Crowe



Question: How long did it take to build the Colosseum?
Answer: 9 years.

Question: Which Emperor began its construction?
Answer: Vespasian.

Question: How much did food cost for people-watching events at the Colosseum?
Answer: It was free!

Question: Name a type of event that was held in the Colosseum.
Answer: You could have had gladiator contests, mock battles, executions, animal hunts