Amphitheatre

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Interior of the Colosseum amphitheatre in Rome, built c. 70 - 80 CE, considered one of the greatest works of architecture and engineering. Colosseum-interior.01.JPG
Interior of the Colosseum amphitheatre in Rome, built c. 70 – 80 CE, considered one of the greatest works of architecture and engineering.

An amphitheatre or amphitheater /ˈæmfɪˌθətər/ [1] [2] is an open-air venue used for entertainment, performances, and sports. The term derives from the ancient Greek ἀμφιθέατρον (amphitheatron), [3] from ἀμφί (amphi), meaning "on both sides" or "around" [4] and θέατρον (théātron), meaning "place for viewing". [5] [6]

Ancient Greek Version of the Greek language used from roughly the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE

The Ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BCE to the 6th century CE. It is often roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, and Hellenistic period. It is antedated in the second millennium BCE by Mycenaean Greek and succeeded by medieval Greek.

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Ancient Roman amphitheatres were oval or circular in plan, with seating tiers that surrounded the central performance area, like a modern open-air stadium. In contrast both ancient Greek and ancient Roman theatres were built in a semicircle, with tiered seating rising on one side of the performance area. In modern usage, an "amphitheatre" may consist of theatre-style stages with spectator seating on only one side, theatres in the round, and stadia. Natural formations of similar shape are sometimes known as natural amphitheatres.

Stadium place or venue for (mostly) outdoor sports, concerts, or other events

A stadium is a place or venue for (mostly) outdoor sports, concerts, or other events and consists of a field or stage either partly or completely surrounded by a tiered structure designed to allow spectators to stand or sit and view the event.

Theatre of ancient Greece

The ancient Greek drama was a theatrical culture that flourished in ancient Greece from 700 BC. The city-state of Athens, which became a significant cultural, political, and military power during this period, was its center, where it was institutionalised as part of a festival called the Dionysia, which honored the god Dionysus. Tragedy, comedy, and the satyr play were the three dramatic genres to emerge there. Athens exported the festival to its numerous colonies.

Theatre of ancient Rome Theatrical genre

Theatre of ancient Rome refers to the time period of theatrical practice and performance in Rome beginning in the 4th century B.C., following the state’s transition from Monarchy to Republic. Theatre of the era is generally separated into the genres of tragedy and comedy. Some works by Plautus, Terence, and Seneca the Younger survive to this day. Eventually, theatre would represent an important aspect of Roman society because it would come to function as the primary means through which the Roman people could express their political emotions during the republican and imperial periods of Rome.

Arles Amphitheatre, France: a Roman arena still used for bullfighting, plays and summer concerts. Arles-arenes.jpg
Arles Amphitheatre, France: a Roman arena still used for bullfighting, plays and summer concerts.

Roman amphitheatres

Pula Arena, Croatia Pula Arena aerial 1.jpg
Pula Arena, Croatia

Ancient Roman amphitheatres were major public venues, circular or oval in plan, with perimeter seating tiers. They were used for events such as gladiator combats, chariot races, venationes (animal hunts) and executions. About 230 Roman amphitheatres have been found across the area of the Roman Empire. Their typical shape, functions and name distinguish them from Roman theatres, which are more or less semicircular in shape; from the circuses (similar to hippodromes) whose much longer circuits were designed mainly for horse or chariot racing events; and from the smaller stadia, which were primarily designed for athletics and footraces. [8]

Gladiator combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Republic and Roman Empire

A gladiator was an armed combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Republic and Roman Empire in violent confrontations with other gladiators, wild animals, and condemned criminals. Some gladiators were volunteers who risked their lives and their legal and social standing by appearing in the arena. Most were despised as slaves, schooled under harsh conditions, socially marginalized, and segregated even in death.

Venatio

Venatio was a type of entertainment in Roman amphitheaters involving the hunting and killing of wild animals.

Roman Empire period of Imperial Rome following the Roman Republic (27 BC–395 AD)

The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. It had a government headed by emperors and large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, and West Asia. From the constitutional reforms of Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, the Empire was a principate ruled from the city of Rome. The Roman Empire was then divided between a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and later Ravenna, and an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and later Constantinople, and it was ruled by multiple emperors.

The earliest Roman amphitheatres date from the middle of the first century BCE, but most were built under Imperial rule, from the Augustan period (27 BCE–14 CE) onwards. [9] Imperial amphitheatres were built throughout the Roman empire; the largest could accommodate 40,000–60,000 spectators. The most elaborate featured multi-storeyed, arcaded façades and were elaborately decorated with marble, stucco and statuary. [10] After the end of gladiatorial games in the 5th century and of staged animal hunts in the 6th, most amphitheatres fell into disrepair. Their materials were mined or recycled. Some were razed, and others were converted into fortifications. A few continued as convenient open meeting places; in some of these, churches were sited. [11]

Augustus First emperor of the Roman Empire

Augustus was a Roman statesman and military leader who was the first Emperor of the Roman Empire, controlling Imperial Rome from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. His status as the founder of the Roman Principate has consolidated an enduring legacy as one of the most effective and controversial leaders in human history. The reign of Augustus initiated an era of relative peace known as the Pax Romana. The Roman world was largely free from large-scale conflict for more than two centuries, despite continuous wars of imperial expansion on the Empire's frontiers and the year-long civil war known as the "Year of the Four Emperors" over the imperial succession.

Marble non-foliated metamorphic rock commonly used for sculpture and as a building material

Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite. Marble is typically not foliated, although there are exceptions. In geology, the term "marble" refers to metamorphosed limestone, but its use in stonemasonry more broadly encompasses unmetamorphosed limestone. Marble is commonly used for sculpture and as a building material.

Stucco material made of aggregates, a binder, and water

Stucco or render is a material made of aggregates, a binder, and water. Stucco is applied wet and hardens to a very dense solid. It is used as a decorative coating for walls and ceilings, and as a sculptural and artistic material in architecture. Stucco may be used to cover less visually appealing construction materials, such as metal, concrete, cinder block, or clay brick and adobe.

Natural amphitheatres

Bryce Canyon Amphitheatre from Sunrise Point Bryce Amphitheater from Sunrise Point Highres 2013.jpg
Bryce Canyon Amphitheatre from Sunrise Point

A natural amphitheatre is a performance space located in a spot where a steep mountain or a particular rock formation naturally amplifies or echoes sound, making it ideal for musical and theatrical performances. An amphitheatre can be naturally occurring formations which would be ideal for this purpose, even if no theatre has been constructed there.

Notable natural amphitheatres include the Drakensberg amphitheatre in South Africa, Slane Castle in Ireland, the Supernatural Amphitheatre in Australia, and the Red Rocks and Gorge amphitheatres in the western United States.

Amphitheatre (Drakensberg) geographical features of the Northern Drakensberg, South Africa

The Amphitheatre is one of the geographical features of the Northern Drakensberg, South Africa, and is widely regarded as one of the most impressive cliff faces on earth. The cliff face of the Amphitheatre is roughly three times the size of the total combined area of all the cliff faces in Yosemite's famous El Capitan, and more than 10 times the size of El Capitan's most famous face. It is part of the Royal Natal National Park.

South Africa Republic in the southernmost part of Africa

South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; and to the east and northeast by Mozambique and Eswatini (Swaziland); and it surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European (White), Asian (Indian), and multiracial (Coloured) ancestry.

Slane Castle

Slane Castle is located in the town of Slane, within the Boyne Valley of County Meath, Ireland. The castle has been the family seat of the Conyngham family since it was built in the late 18th century, on land first purchased in 1703 by Brig.-Gen. Henry Conyngham.

See also

Arena enclosed area designed to showcase theater, musical performances, or sporting events

An arena, is an enclosed area, often circular or oval-shaped, designed to showcase theatre, musical performances, or sporting events. It is composed of a large open space surrounded on most or all sides by tiered seating for spectators, and may be covered by a roof. The key feature of an arena is that the event space is the lowest point, allowing maximum visibility. Arenas are usually designed to accommodate a large number of spectators.

Thing (assembly) type of governing assembly

A thing was the governing assembly of an early Germanic society, made up of the free people of the community presided over by lawspeakers. The word appears in Old Norse, Old English, and modern Icelandic as þing, in Middle English, Old Saxon, Old Dutch, and Old Frisian as thing, in German as Ding, and in modern Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Faroese, Gutnish, and Norn as ting, all from a reconstructed Proto-Germanic neuter *þingą; the word is the same as the more common English word thing, both having at their heart the basic meaning of "an assemblage, a coming together of parts"—in the one case, an "assembly" or "meeting", in the other, an "entity", "object", or "thing". The meeting-place of a thing was called a "thingstead" or "thingstow".

Roman theatre (structure) theatre building built in ancient Roman time

Roman theatres derive from and are part of the overall evolution of earlier Greek theatres. Indeed, much of the architectural influence on the Romans came from the Greeks, and theatre structural design was no different from other buildings. However, Roman theatres have specific differences, such as generally being built upon their own foundations instead of earthen works or a hillside and being completely enclosed on all sides.

Footnotes

  1. New Oxford American Dictionary (Third ed.). Oxford University Press. 2010.
  2. "Definition of Amphitheatre in Oxford dictionary. Meaning, pronunciation and origin of the word". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  3. ἀμφιθέατρον, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, '56'An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, on Peseus
  4. ἀμφί, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  5. θέατρον, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  6. Hoad, T.F. (1996). The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. Oxford University Press. pp. 14, 489. ISBN   0-19-283098-8.
  7. Michel Tournier, Le coq de bruyère, W. D. Redfern, Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 1996, p. 69
  8. Bomgardner, 37.
  9. Bomgardner, 59.
  10. Bomgardner, 62.
  11. Bomgardner, 201–223.

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