Amphitheatre of Pompeii

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The Amphitheatre of Pompeii - interior
The Amphitheatre of Pompeii - exterior

The Amphitheatre of Pompeii is the oldest surviving Roman amphitheatre. It is located in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, and was buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, that also buried Pompeii itself and the neighbouring town of Herculaneum.

Design and construction

Built around 70 BC, the current amphitheatre is the earliest Roman amphitheatre known to have been built of stone; previously, they had been built out of wood. The next Roman amphitheatre known to be built from stone is the Colosseum in Rome, which postdates it by over a century. Contemporarily, it was known as a spectacula rather than an amphitheatrum, since the latter term was not yet in use at the time. It was built with the private funds of Quinctius Valgus and Marcius Porcius.

The amphitheatre's design is seen by some modern crowd control specialists as near optimal. Its washroom, located in the neighboring palaestra has also been cited as an inspiration for better bathroom design in modern stadiums.

Gladiatorial contests

Fresco - "The Amphitheatre at Pompeii, depicting the riot between the Nucerians and the Pompeians", Casa della Rissa nell'Anfiteatro, Pompeii, Italy

The famed preservation of Pompeii and its amphitheatre have given insights into the gladiatorial culture of Rome. Around 59 AD, a deadly brawl occurred between Pompeiians and residents of Nuceria during games in the amphitheatre, resulting in a 10-year ban on such events.

Modern uses

Aside from being a historical landmark and an object of archaeological study, the amphitheatre has been used for concerts and other public events in modern times. In October 1971, over a 4-day period Pink Floyd made a concert film at the amphitheatre, titled Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii. David Gilmour, the Pink Floyd guitarist, performed two concerts at the amphitheatre in July 2016 as part of his Rattle That Lock Tour. It was his first performance in the amphitheatre since recording Live at Pompeii in 1971. Gilmour's 2016 concerts saw the first public performances in the amphitheatre since 79 A.D.[1] and can be seen on the live album/video Live at Pompeii.

Further reading

  • BBC, "Pompeii Art and Architecture Gallery", Joanne Berry (accessed 7 May 2009)
  • History Channel, The Most (2001), episode "Family Business"
  • 'CSO: Security and Risk', "Modern Crowd Control Lessons (from Ancient Pompeii)", Scott Berinato, 18 May 2007 (accessed 7 May 2009)
  • Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii
  • University of Chicago, "Amphitheatrum", James Grout, 'Encyclopaedia Romana' (accessed 7 May 2009)


  1. ^ Barton, Laura (2016-07-10). "David Gilmour review – Pompeii rocks again". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 2017-11-28. 

See also

External links

  • 3D model of Pompeii Amphitheatre

40°45′05″N 14°29′42″E / 40.751264°N 14.494970°E / 40.751264; 14.494970 (Pompeii display=title)

Amphitheater Of Pompeii is the oldest surviving Roman Amphitheater

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