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"Other Know Arenas" Topic

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Mutant Q20 Feb 2017 3:42 p.m. PST

With the obvious exception of the Coliseum in Rome, is there a list of other ancient arenas known to have hosted Gladitorial games?

Mutant Q20 Feb 2017 3:44 p.m. PST

Sorry about the double post. I'm not sure how that happened.

nevals20 Feb 2017 5:49 p.m. PST

Pula, Croatia.
Apparently, three best preserved:Roma, Verona, Pula.
The arena in Salona, near Split , Croatia was used by Turks as a fortification and was destroyed by Venetians in XVII century.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP20 Feb 2017 6:34 p.m. PST

I've never seen a list, but any decent-size town in the Empire would have an arena. It showed you were civilized. Gladiators would do tours of smaller provincial towns the way road companies of actors go through smaller cities today. Preserved and excavated would be another matter, but if you've heard of a Roman city, it had gladiatorial games.

Valmy9220 Feb 2017 7:26 p.m. PST

Trier is another that is still there.

Beaumap21 Feb 2017 2:38 a.m. PST

Unfortunately Roman studies tend to be by country, so gazetteers are by country too. Robert is correct of course. The answer is every Roman town. Remains may differ though. Poverty-stricken Britannia usually had them made out of turf – e.g. Chester, Cirencester. Prosperous Provincia (Provence) had major monuments made out of stone which stand today, eg Arles.
PS there are TWO good ones in Trier.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Feb 2017 3:41 a.m. PST

There is evidence of Chester having some stone work and possibly also at 2 or 3 other sites in Britain.

The problem was later wealth, not Roman poverty. Britannia was actually quite a wealthy province but expensive to run and keep under control. Later need for building stone fuelled by the expansion of medieval towns meant most Roman monuments got their stone robbed out – right down to foundations.

Eumelus Inactive Member21 Feb 2017 4:18 a.m. PST

There is an arena at Pompeii.

Deuce03 Inactive Member21 Feb 2017 8:27 a.m. PST

As the others say, basically all towns of any size would have had an amphitheatre of some description.

Survival of amphitheatres is generally dependent on their not having been quarried (as GildasFacit indicates), so the better-preserved ones tend to be in places where the whole settlement is fairly well-preserved, or where the amphitheatre remained in use for some purpose so couldn't be demolished until such time as preservation became a concern.

I don't know about provenance or sourcing but I found this map which gives you an idea of how common they were: link

In addition to those already mentioned, there are some pretty good remains in north Africa (mostly Libya and Tunisia) including amphitheatres. There's also one in Nimes, and another in Verona. There were large amphitheatres in Capua (where Spartacus's rebellion originated), Spanish Italica, Tarragona, and Tours, though not so well-preserved.

Patrick Sexton Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2017 10:51 a.m. PST

Deuce03, thanks for that link.


EvilBen Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2017 3:47 p.m. PST

Many of the cities in the east of the empire which are marked on that map that didn't have amphitheatres would have been able to (and did) stage gladiatorial games in theatres. One of the things that map shows nicely is how amphitheatres were more common in the west of the empire than the east, which can partly be explained by the presence of suitable existing structures in the parts of the empire that were urbanised before the Romans showed up.

Turf and timber structures did exist south of the Alps, e.g. at Forum Novum (no. 30 in Italy on the map). There may well have been more which haven't been identified.

jowady21 Feb 2017 7:43 p.m. PST

The second largest arena in the world, which could seat some 60,000 was in Capua. Spartacus fought there (reputedly). Gladiatorial Combat may very well have begun in Campania and throughout the period the schools there were reputed to have the best gladiators. Each of those schools would have also had a small arena, used for practice and private shows for buyers. Every roman town, of any consequence would have had an arena and would have hosted Gladiatorial games as others have pointed out. After all, Gladiator graves were recently uncovered in Britain.

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