Colosseum (35 images)
Rome’s greatest amphitheatre was commissioned in AD 72 by the Emperor Vespasian to be built on the site of Nero’s palace to dissociate himself from the hated tyrant. It could hold 55,000 people to watch gladiator combat and wild animal fights. Admission to the gory spectacles was free, with events sponsored by emperors and the wealthy to gain popularity with the masses. The slaughter was on a huge scale; when it was inaugurated in AD 80, over 9,000 wild animals were killed.

Click a picture to see a larger view.