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The Roman Amphitheatre: From its Origins to the Colosseum Paperback – February 2, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0521744355 ISBN-10: 0521744350 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews


"The Colosseum, more than any other building from ancient Rome, is routinely the subject of both scholarly and popular texts. While it seems that important studies are published on this structure every year, rarely does any attain the status of definitive text. Katherine Welch's The Roman Amphitheatre: From Its Origins to the Colosseum is such a book. Welch's splendid volume is a culmination of her amphitheatre studies and provides a much-needed examination of the building type's origins in Republican Rome and its development up to and including the Colosseum."
-Thomas J. Morton, The Art Bulletin

Book Description

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). The study then shifts focus to the reception of the amphitheatre in the Greek East, a part of the Empire deeply fractured about the new realities of Roman rule.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 378 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (February 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521744350
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521744355
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.9 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #867,206 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By H. H. Verveer on June 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
I came across this book when I, being a layman, was searching for something to update my knowledge about ancient Rome. My only recommendation here is that I know Rome (and Italy) well. Mrs. Welch writes about the amphitheatre in Roman Republican times. I am not specialized enough even to have had an idea about the precise origins of the amphitheatre, but I had always assumed that it was, more or less, a sort of variation on the Greek theatre as it existed in Magna Graecia and Greece itself. And that is precisely the assumption she has undertaken to challenge. And she does so well, it appears to me.
Traditionally it seems to have been the idea that the South-Italian amphitheatres (Pompeii, Capua, Nola etc.) were the first to appear, and furthermore, that they influenced the versions in the city of Rome, foremost of the Coliseum of course. It did always sound strange to me that the Roman province would be responsible for influencing the architecture in the capital, but then, I seem to remember, Rome was conservative where architecture was concerned. Mrs. Welch, who is an associate professor at New York University, disagrees. In her book she points out, to begin with, that the gladiatorial fights, which originally took place in a funerary context, became connected to military practices, and the same, she maintains, goes for the early amphitheatres. Gladiatorial education became part of the military training. The amphitheatres became part of the military tradition as well. She doesn't spend much attention on the customary view (which was mine as well), but her assumption is that the amphitheatres (mostly) in southern Italy were based on early temporary, wooden examples built in the Forum, in the second and first century BC.
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The Roman Amphitheatre: From its Origins to the Colosseum
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