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Digital Subscriptions > Skeptical Inquirer > January February 2018 > Myths and Secrets of the Colosseum

Myths and Secrets of the Colosseum

Massimo Polidoro is an investigator of the paranormal, lecturer, and cofounder and head of CICAP, the Italian skeptics group. His website is at

The Flavian Amphitheater, better known as the “Colosseum,” is the largest and most majestic amphitheater of ancient times. It is the second most visited monument in the world (after the Great Wall of China), and in 2007 was included among the new seven wonders of the modern world.

However, as much as it is known and is considered one of the symbols of Western civilization, there still are myths and legends that surround it, along with some little-known facts that shed an interesting light on its history.

By the Numbers

The Colosseum was built by Emperor Vespasian. The work started in 71 ce and nine years later, it was inaugurated by his son, Tito, with 100 days of games, where 2,000 gladiators fought and 9,000 animals were killed. The work was completed by Tito’s brother Domitian in 96 ce.

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