Amphitheatrum Castrense

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200pxThe Amphitheatrum Castrense is a Roman amphitheatre in Rome, next to the church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. It is the second ancient amphitheatre of Rome after the Colosseum.


The amphitheatre is dated to the first decades of the 3rd century AD by the style of the bricks and the absence of brick stamps. It was part of an Imperial villa complex which was built by emperors of the Severan dynasty. The open arches of the outer walls were walled up when the building was incorporated into the Aurelian Walls (271-275 AD) and the ground level around the building was lowered. In the middle of the 16th century the remains of the second story were demolished for defensive needs. Palladio and Étienne Dupérac made drawings about the ruins.


The building is a regular ellipse 88 meters long and 75.80 meters wide. It is unusual for being built of brick, rather than the more usual stone, except for a few decorative elements in travertine. The structure was three stories high but only a section of the lowest story is preserved.

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