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             In the ancient world, the elliptical-shaped Colosseum, taking ten years to build, was the largest structure of its type. It stood 160 feet high with four stories of windows, arches, and columns. Each of the three exterior floors consisted of 80 arches. through 76 of the entrances on the ground level as many as 50,000 spectators would enter. Emperor Titus and two for the gladiators used two of the remaining entrances.
             Upon entering the Colosseum, visitors climbed sloping ramps to their seats, wich was decided according to gender and social class. Women and the poor stood or sat on wooden benches in the fourth row. Depending on the weather, an enormous, colored canopy (velarium) could be stretched overhead to protect spectators from the hot sun.
             A wooden flooring was used to cover the bottomless chambers where the gladiators as well as the animals were kept prior to their performance. During the first ten years of its existence, the stadium was filled with water and used for mock naval battles. However, over time the Romans found it was damaging to the foundation as well as to the flooring.
             Most shows in the Colosseum lasted all day beginning with comedic contests and exotic animal shows in the morning and moving on to professional gladiator events in the afternoon. In most tournaments and games, death played a important role. Professional gladiators, primarily condemned criminals, prisoners or war, and slaves, fought either animals or each other, generally until death. Some of their weapons may include nets, swords, tridents, spears, or firebrands. Occasionally, free Romans and women would enter the fight for a few brief moments of glory. Although many people may believe, there is no documentation to back up the story of Christians being fed to the lions.
             Basically these bloody forms of entertainment served a political purpose. They were to teach the local Romans how to fight in preparation for visits outside their empire and to display the strength and courage of the Roman citizen to unemployed visitors to the city of Rome.

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