The Roman Amphitheatre: From its Origins to the Colosseum

This is the first book to analyze the evolution of the Roman amphitheatre as an architectural form. Katherine Welch addresses the critical period in the history of this building type: its origins and dissemination under the Republic, from the third to first centuries BC; its monumentalization as an architectural form under Augustus; and its canonization as a building type with the Colosseum (AD 80). She explores the social and political contexts of each of these phases in detail. The study then shifts focus to the reception of the amphitheatre and the games in the Greek East, a part of the Empire that was, initially, deeply fractured about the new realities of Roman rule.

• First book to address the critical period in the history of the Roman amphitheatre; its origins and development under the Republic • Traces history of the amphitheatre from its early period to its canonization as a building type with the Colosseum in Rome • Discusses the reception of the Colosseum and its games during the imperial period


Introduction: the ‘imperial’ interpretation of arena games; 1. Arena games during the Republic; 2. Origins of amphitheatre architecture; 3. Stone amphitheatres during the republican period; 4. The amphitheatre between republic and empire: monumentalization of the amphitheatre building; 5. The colosseum: canonization of the amphitheatre building type; 6. The reception of the amphitheatre in the Greek world in the early imperial period; Conclusion; Appendix: Amphitheatres of republican date.