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Underground structure of the Colosseum

When tourists come to see the Colosseum, they see primarily, a large number of walls of underground structures, archaeologists dug in the early nineteenth century (the ancient masonry began to show to the public only after more than half a century). Since there are arguments about when these buildings were built, they were built all at once or different times, which were appointed and could to held mock naval battle in the arena of the amphitheatre with the Colosseum’s opening in 80 year. However, before you delve into the essence of these disputes is to consider the characteristics and purpose of underground facilities which do not cause disagreements.

First, we note that the area of the underground amphitheatre exceeded the size of the arena, along the edges of this dungeon (with the long axis of the arena) was located roomy pantries. Furthermore, in the dungeon there was a corridor leading to the building of Lucius Magnus (“Big camp”), which was the training hall of gladiators. Of course, in the vaults of the amphitheatre was situated and lifting mechanisms to lift to the surface, through special hatches, cages with animals. These lifts were delivered to the arena and the setting for given representations (for example, on mythological subjects). Several mines, which housed the lifts, survived todays, and you can see them by visiting the Colosseum. The archaeologists managed to unearth a few bronze fittings, parts of lifts. Undoubtedly, hoists amphitheatre answered its purpose, and yet it is hard to imagine how the surface of the dungeon raised hippos.

In the dungeon there was a great variety of corridors covered by the fluorescent light from the exit surface; at rest, during coughing they were illuminated with oil lamps, however, as all dungeon, autopause cadnam and in the dim light. Dungeon during the performances in the amphitheater resembled a human anthill: there were stagehands, tamers, gladiators, and bound in chains and awaiting execution of criminals; in special rooms were full of cages with animals, oglasi air angry growl. The heart-rending sounds came from above, from the arena, where killed people and animals. The underground areas of the Colosseum truly was like hell. In our time for visitors to access the cave of the amphitheater is normally closed but when its open, down into the dungeon a few dare.

Modern researchers believe that the main lift system in the Coliseum appeared not earlier than the end of III — beginning of IV century, when Titus, who opened the amphitheatre, animals were taken to the arena from the corridor under the senatorial seats. According to some researchers, the first lifts in the dungeon of the amphitheater appeared at the end of the first century under the Emperor Domitian, brother of Titus, but this judgment is constantly changing.

Underground structure of the Colosseum began to explore during the occupation of Rome by Napoleon’s army from 1811 to 1814. This work was carried out by French archaeologists in collaboration with scientists of the Vatican, but to complete the work failed due to flash flood. However, the research has caused a heated debate between scientists who share their pamphlets (often published under pseudonyms) and made fun of each other in cartoons.

About underground rooms of the amphitheatre were expressed three different opinions. One was defended by Carlo FEA, an archaeologist from the Vatican, is known, mainly, that has translated into Italian the work by I. Winckelmann’s “History of ancient art”. The FEA believed that the underground structure of the Colosseum appeared only in the middle Ages and during the Roman Empire they were not in sight; on the contrary, the arena itself was in a specially dug recess that turns into a tank for water when the Coliseum mock sea battles, wrote about Dion. In the presence of the dungeon, where would the water rushed from the arena, the holding of such fights, according to the FEA, was almost impossible.

Judgment the FEA challenged the architect Pietro Bianchi and Professor of archaeology of the University of Rome Lorenzo Re, who claimed that the underground structure of the Colosseum were built at the same time that the building and ground. They categorically denied that the arena of the amphitheater was built in the recess. In their opinion, it was contrary to common sense, because the placement of the arena in a recess (needed to conduct mock sea battles) would prevent a large number of spectators to watch the events in the middle him to the edge of the arena. Bianchi and Re confirmed his judgment preserved information about what happened in Rome in the early sixth century earthquake, during which affected not only the building of the Colosseum, and arena amphitheatre. According to these researchers, the arena of the amphitheatre could be destroyed only if it was backed up by the support of underground structures. As for the Dion funny sea, supposedly delivered in the Coliseum, Bianchi and D believed that the historian made a mistake, and in fact, similar performances were given in another room, built under the Emperor Augustus, as Suetonius writes.

“Mediator” in the dispute between the FEA on the one side PE and Bianchi with another was made by a Spanish priest and Explorer of antiquity Juan Masdeu. He believed that the underground structure of the Colosseum were built in the late third century, and therefore in 80th year at the Coliseum could be staged mock naval battle.