Medieval Romans rented living space in the Colosseum

Medieval Romans rented living space in the Colosseum


Like many disused historic buildings in Europe, the Colosseum in Rome had been converted into dwelling spaces by the late Middle Ages according to archaeologists.



Evidence unearthed by teams from Roma Tre University and the American University of Rome showed that ordinary Romans lived in the Colosseum from the 9th century AD until at least 1349, when it was damaged by an earthquake.

The finds included sewage pipes, pottery fragments and the foundations of a 12th century wall that enclosed one of the dwellings.  The complex would have included stables and workshops, and dwelling spaces would have been rented out by the square foot by the friars of the nearby Santa Maria Nova convent, who owned the monument by the medieval period.  All of the dwellings and workshops opened onto the central arena, which was used as a huge common courtyard for animals and goods.

Built of concrete and stone, the Colosseum was the largest amphitheatre in the Roman Empire, and is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering.  Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in 70 AD, and was completed in 80 AD under his successor Titus.  It could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators, and was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles and executions.  The arena continued to be used for contests well into the 6th century, with gladiatorial fights last mentioned around 435 AD.

The Colosseum in its Imperial Roman heyday
The Colosseum in its Imperial Roman heyday
Map of medieval Rome depicting the Colosseum
Map of medieval Rome depicting the Colosseum

Source: Discovery News



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