Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Wednesday 28 July |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Stanley Rother
home iconNews
line break icon

The Colosseum’s “nosebleed seats” are now open to the public

COLOSSEUM,ROME

Shutterstock

Zelda Caldwell - published on 10/03/17 - updated on 10/04/17

The best views of Rome were to be had by the poorest of the poor.

Starting on November 1, for the first time in decades, visitors to Rome will be able to climb to the highest level of the Colosseum and take in the same view the lowliest Romans enjoyed.

Of the 50,000 people who would attend the gladiatorial contests, mock sea battles and executions held at the Colosseum, the poorest among them, the “plebeian” class, were consigned to the highest tier of seats, similar to our “nosebleed seats.”

Built by Emperor Vespasian in 70 BC, the Colosseum is the largest amphitheater in the world, and is considered among the finest examples of ancient Roman architecture. As the Telegraph reports, the emperor and his senators sat in the first level, and the second was reserved for imperial functionaries. The middle class sat in the third, while the fourth was for traders, merchants and shopkeepers.

The highest, fifth tier, was for the “plebs” who sat on wooden benches, instead of the marble ones found on the lower levels.

In 2015, during restoration work at the Colosseum, archaeologists discovered traces of red painted numerals on the arches of the amphitheater, indicating a ticketing system similar to those found in modern arenas.

“Only four arches were marked with numbers, since the Emperors and authorities enjoyed the privilege of entering the arches placed on the inner ring of the amphitheater. Those placed on the outer ring were reserved for normal people,” Rossella Rea, the director of the Colosseum told International Business Times.

The IBTimes reported:

“The Roman numerals measure 34 cm tall and 2 cm wide, and the engraved numbers say XXXVIIII – XLII, which means 39-42. The red numbers would have been visible to crowds coming to the building from a great distance away.”

As for the view from the top level, at 171 feet, visitors can take in the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and all of Rome.




Read more:
Take a virtual tour of ancient Rome




Read more:
The hidden history of Rome’s Colosseum, revealed

Tags:
Archaeology
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
morning
Philip Kosloski
This morning prayer is easy to memorize
2
ORGAN
J-P Mauro
Reconstructing a 12th-century pipe organ discovered in the Holy L...
3
Joachim and Anne
Philip Kosloski
Did Jesus know his grandparents?
4
Daniel Esparza
5 Curious things you might not know about Catholicism
5
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
6
SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been know...
7
BABCIA Z WNUKAMI
Cerith Gardiner
5 Ways grandparents impact our lives for the better
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.