Flavian Amphitheatre

Illustration of the Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheatre)

The Colosseum was the largest and most famous of all Roman amphitheaters. It was originally constructed by the Emperor Vespasian just after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD., and was dedicated by his son Titus in 80 AD. The Flavian Amphitheater was constructed with the sweat of tens of thousands of Jews who were brought to Rome as prisoners after the destruction of Jerusalem. The immense cost of such a spectacular amphitheater was ultimately funded by the sacking of the Jerusalem treasury, which was located in the temple, which no longer stood.

The Colosseum was known in ancient Rome as the Flavian Amphitheatre, named after the Flavian family who reigned in Imperial Rome. The building of the Colosseum was begun by Vespasian in 72 A.D., it was dedicated by Titus, and finally completed by Titus' younger son Domitian.

The Flavian Amphitheatre was built in the valley between the Palatine, Caelian and Esquiline hills. It was built over the site of Nero's man-made lake, which Roman engineers drained. The land Nero had confiscated for his private pleasures was turned into the world's largest arena for gladiatorial entertainment and combat. It could accommodate 70,000 spectators, who came to watch the games.

The outer wall stood 157 feet high with four tiers of architecture rising to the top. The first, second, and third tiers each contained 80 arches. The fourth tier on top was solid, with 40 square windows. The shape of the Colosseum was oval, and measured about 600' x 480', and the arena itself was about 90' x 55'. A gladiator standing inside the arena could see all four tiers all the way to the top, with rows of spectators filling each tier. All around the arena was a large wall, above the wall was a pavilion where the Emperor and his family would sit, also the Vestal Virgins, and the highest officers of the state. Above on the next tier sat the Senators of Rome, the magistrates, ranking officers, and next to them were the male citizens. On the top tier were the women, seated under a colonnade. The whole Colosseum was protected from the hot sun, and the rain by a large awning supported by masts. It is interesting to note that the Colosseum arena itself could be filled with water so that the spectators could enjoy a naval combat.

The very top tier was originally constructed in wood which was destroyed by fire, and a new tier was built in 217 A.D.

The very last documented performance took place in the 11th century A.D. From that point on there were other purposes for this great amphitheater, for example it was used as a great quarry for Roman architect. This explains much of the deterioration of over two thirds of the original structure.

The "awful majesty of the Flavian amphitheater" as spoken by Gibbon, was somehow mysteriously identified with Rome and her destiny.

"While stands the Colosseum Rome shall stand; When falls the Colosseum Rome shall fall; And when Rome falls-- The world." -Lord Byron

Many Christians were thrown to the wild beasts in the arena, yet the blood of the martyrs became the seed for the spread of Christianity in Rome, which overthrew it for all time.

Christian Persecution in Easton's Bible Dictionary
The Christian church passed through many bloody persecutions. Of subsequent centuries in our own and in other lands the same sad record may be made. Christians are forbidden to seek the propagation of the gospel by force (Matt. 7:1; Luke 9:54-56; Rom. 14:4; James 4:11, 12). The words of Ps. 7:13, "He ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors," ought rather to be, as in the Revised Version, "He maketh his arrows fiery [shafts]." Read Full Article

Also See:

PERSECUTION in Naves Topical Bible

PERSECUTION in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE

The First Imperial 'Persecution' of Christians

The Great Fire of Rome

The Scapegoats

Heart Message

A Constant Craving

Rome had so conquered its domain, achieving dominion, knowledge and wealth in varied disciplines of warfare, science, art, & architecture among others, that citizens had leisure and could enjoy the glorious civilization. But nations, like individuals, when strife for survival is no longer demanding, can feel the emptiness inside of our fallen nature rather than being able to enjoy what was built. An entire population can become unruly when it has time on its hands. Governments should be directing their citizen's to higher aspirations, but without leadership, a people can fall to its baser instincts.

Amusements have a shelf life before they become boring. A joke can only be told once and be funny. Wealth in our own time is producing darker and darker forms of entertainment as society is continually desensitized and requires more and more stimulation.

The ugly bottom of this never-ending craving can become a bloodlust, the desire to see others suffer. The self-hatred inside an empty soul can be hyped up and projected towards a scapegoat who seems offensive enough to be blamed for one's own fallen emotions. The Romans offered up the Christians who in faith to Christ were trying not to ride along with the corrupted culture but received the forgiveness of God and fullness of the Holy Spirit.

As Gladys Knight once sung, "I'd rather live in his world, than live without him in mine."

The Bible mentions believers being "persecuted":

Lamentations 3:43 - Thou hast covered with anger, and persecuted us: thou hast slain, thou hast not pitied.

Psalms 143:3 - For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead.

Galatians 4:29 - But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him [that was born] after the Spirit, even so [it is] now.

Deuteronomy 30:7 - And the LORD thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee.

Isaiah 14:6 - He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, [and] none hindereth.

Galatians 1:13 - For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:

Psalms 109:16 - Because that he remembered not to shew mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man, that he might even slay the broken in heart.

Matthew 5:12 - Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Acts 7:52 - Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:

Acts 26:11 - And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled [them] to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted [them] even unto strange cities.

John 15:20 - Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

1 Corinthians 4:12 - And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:

Galatians 1:23 - But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.

Revelation 12:13 - And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man [child].

Psalms 119:161 - SCHIN. Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.

Matthew 5:10 - Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Acts 22:4 - And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.

1 Corinthians 15:9 - For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

1 Thessalonians 2:15 - Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:

2 Corinthians 4:9 - Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

The Bible also mentions a lot regarding "persecution":

Acts 8:1 - And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

Acts 13:50 - But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.

Acts 11:19 - Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.

Mark 4:17 - And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended.

Galatians 6:12 - As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.

Romans 8:35 - Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Matthew 13:21 - Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

Galatians 5:11 - And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.

2 Timothy 3:12 - Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

Lamentations 5:5 - Our necks [are] under persecution: we labour, [and] have no rest.

The Bible also mentions a lot regarding "persecute":

Psalms 69:26 - For they persecute [him] whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded.

Jeremiah 17:18 - Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction.

Romans 12:14 - Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.

Psalms 7:1 - O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me:

Matthew 23:34 - Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and [some] of them ye shall kill and crucify; and [some] of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute [them] from city to city:

Psalms 31:15 - My times [are] in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.

Jeremiah 29:18 - And I will persecute them with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be removed to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, and an astonishment, and an hissing, and a reproach, among all the nations whither I have driven them:

Psalms 7:5 - Let the enemy persecute my soul, and take [it]; yea, let him tread down my life upon the earth, and lay mine honour in the dust. Selah.

Luke 21:12 - But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute [you], delivering [you] up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.

Matthew 5:44 - But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Psalms 10:2 - The wicked in [his] pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.

Psalms 119:84 - How many [are] the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?

Matthew 5:11 - Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Matthew 10:23 - But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.

John 5:16 - And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.

John 15:20 - Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

Psalms 35:3 - Draw out also the spear, and stop [the way] against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I [am] thy salvation.

Luke 11:49 - Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and [some] of them they shall slay and persecute:

Psalms 35:6 - Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the LORD persecute them.

Psalms 83:15 - So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.

Psalms 119:86 - All thy commandments [are] faithful: they persecute me wrongfully; help thou me.

Lamentations 3:66 - Persecute and destroy them in anger from under the heavens of the LORD.

Job 19:28 - But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me?

Psalms 71:11 - Saying, God hath forsaken him: persecute and take him; for [there is] none to deliver [him].

Job 19:22 - Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh?