This photo from about 1890 shows the floor of the Colosseum before excavations revealed a labyrinth of underground passageways, storage rooms for scenery, and cells for both animals and prisoners used as gladiators. The Colosseum's floor or arena (76 x 46 m) was covered with sand (Latin arena, source of the English word), and surrounded with a 5 m-high wall to protect spectators from wild beasts. On top of the wall was the podium, a wide terrace for the emperor and other dignitaries, surrounded by the cavea or stands, divided into 3 tiers. The floor was sometimes flooded for mock naval battles called naumachiae.
[Fig.1: Roman Colosseum interior (Athena Review Image Archive)]
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