304 IH- Southern Quarters. ROME. b. The Colosseum.
which 5000 wild animals were killed and naval contests were ex¬
hibited. It was struck by lightning under Macrinus (217), and the
top gallery was burned, necessitating restorations that were not
completed until the reign of Alexander Severus. In 248 the Emp.
Philip here celebrated the lOOOth anniversary of the foundation
of Rome with magnificent games. In 405 gladiatorial combats
were abolished by Honorius as inconsistent with the precepts of
Christianity, which had prevailed since Constantine, but wild-beast
fights were continued till after the time of Theodoric the Great.
In 442 the Colosseum was damaged by a great earthquake and it
seems to have been restored in 445 by Theodosius II. and Valen¬
The present name, derived probably from the colossal statue
of Nero, is first heard of in the 8th cent., long after the colossus
itself had disappeared. The Colosseum seems to have been reduced
to approximately its present limits between the 8th and 14th cent¬
uries, probably by convulsions of nature, such as the earthquakes
of 1231 and 1255. The N.W quarter was used by the Roman
barons, especially the Frangipani, as a fortress, until Emp.
Henry VII. presented it to the Roman senate and people in 1312.
During the 15th, 16th, and 17th cent, the stupendous pile afforded
building materials for many new churches and palaces (pp. 232, 259,
263), but Benedict XIV. (1740-58) protected it from farther demol-
ition by consecrating the interior to the Passion of Christ, refer-
ring to the frequency with which the blood of martyrs had flowed
there. The imminent danger of the fall of the ruins was averted in
the 19th cent, by the erection of huge buttresses and other supports.
The Colosseum is almost wholly constructed of blocks of tra-
vertine, originally held together by iron cramps; tufa and bricks
have been used only in the interior. The numerous holes were
bored in the middle ages for the purpose of extracting the then
very valuable iron. According to the most trustworthy statistics
the external circumference of the elliptical structure measures
573 yds., or nearly one-third of a mile, the long diameter 205 yds.,
the shorter 170 yds., and the height 157 ft. The stili preserved
N.E. portion, on the side next the Esquiline, consists of four stories,
the three first being formed by arcades, the pillars of which are
adorned with half-columns of the Doric, Ionie, and Corinthian order
in the lst, 2nd, and 3rd stories respectively. A wall with Windows
between Corinthian pilasters forms the 4th story. Statues were
placed in the arcades of the 2nd and 3rd stories, as appears from
representations on ancient coins. At the ends of the diameters are
the four triple principal Entrances, those next to the Esquiline
and Caelius (on the smaller axis) being destined for the emperor,
the others for the solemn procession before the beginning of the
games. and for the introduction of the animals and machinery. In