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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What have the Romans ever done for us?, 28 Jun 2006
Picked up this book as I'm studying the Colosseum for a college course and what a find it is! Written in an engaging style without becoming too dry or academic, the book tells you not only about the structure itself and the incredible feat achieved in building it but also about the background of gladiatorial contests in the Roman empire and how the games fitted into Roman society. An effort has been made to include recent finds and theories about the Colosseum and many widely believed myths are "busted" too (Christians v Lions?), there is also some discussion about how this ruin has influenced later peoples (such as Byron and nineteenth century novelists).

The book is illustrated with some clear diagrams and pictures of paintings, graffito, and even an Asterix cartoon! One criticism is that sometimes some of the photographs are a little indistinct but this is only a very minor annoyance.

Also included are some tips on visiting the site.

All in all I found this book hugely enjoyable and have no reservation in recommending it to students or tourists alike!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treasure, 1 Nov 2007
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This book is fantastic. I had to do a project on the Colosseum for a course module and was a little stumped until I found this brilliant, brilliant book. It is well written, which with factual books, for me, means easy to read and understand without being patronising. It was very, very interesting indeed and had lots of fantastic snippets of information along with the usual, how many cubic metres of stone went into this etc, etc...It struck a lovely balance between the architecture, the history and the social significance of the building to the Romans. There were useful and relevant illustrations and a lovely, and I thought successful attempt to make it relevant to modern readers, with stuff on the film Gladiator and other contemporary resources. There was a good bibliography, which I used, so I know this to be true. I highly recommend this book, both if you're a curious tourist or a student. It's not too long, it's definitely not dry and it was well worth the money. It made me want to read others in the series, even though I'm no longer studying historical architecture, and that's saying something.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Really Loved this Book, 13 Oct 2006
By 
J. Chippindale (England) - See all my reviews
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The Colloseum in Rome is arguably one of the five most famous buildings in the world but there are very few books about it. At least I have found that to be the case, as I have always had a fascination for the place. May this is the macabre side of me coming out. But it is not just the gladiatorial contests and many other blood letting contests that went on including wild animals fighting both humans and one another or the naval battles that were fought there. Yes naval battles, with real ships and the arena flooded with water. I readily admit that I find these interesting and have done for many years.

However the main attraction of the Flavian Amphitheatre, to give it its correct name is its architectural beauty. It is a building that we would be hard pressed to replicate today, even with all the modern building techniques that we now possess. A building that could fill with people and empty at the end of the games quicker than most modern football stadiums. A building that has stood the test of time. It is only vibration and pollution from modern day traffic that is now affecting the building more than the last two thousand years ever have.

A building that had more happening underground than ever happened above ground. Gladiator quarters, infirmaries. Lifts and hoists moved by an intricate network of pulleys and cables, that allowed wild animals to be brought up to the arena level.

This book tells you everything you need to know and more. It is well written And has some illustrations, but these are secondary to the excellent text.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Loved this Book, 13 Oct 2006
By 
J. Chippindale (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
The Colosseum in Rome is arguably one of the five most famous buildings in the world but there are very few books about it. At least I have found that to be the case, as I have always had a fascination for the place. May this is the macabre side of me coming out. But it is not just the gladiatorial contests and many other blood letting contests that went on including wild animals fighting both humans and one another or the naval battles that were fought there. Yes naval battles, with real ships and the arena flooded with water. I readily admit that I find these interesting and have done for many years.

However the main attraction of the Flavian Amphitheatre, to give it its correct name is its architectural beauty. It is a building that we would be hard pressed to replicate today, even with all the modern building techniques that we now possess. A building that could fill with people and empty at the end of the games quicker than most modern football stadiums. A building that has stood the test of time. It is only vibration and pollution from modern day traffic that is now affecting the building more than the last two thousand years ever have.

A building that had more happening underground than ever happened above ground. Gladiator quarters, infirmaries. Lifts and hoists moved by an intricate network of pulleys and cables, that allowed wild animals to be brought up to the arena level.

This book tells you everything you need to know and more. It is well written And has some illustrations, but these are secondary to the excellent text.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 8 Oct 2009
Excellent. Highly readable and very informative. I'm off to Rome in just over a week's time. I've been before and would otherwise not have paid much attention to the Colosseum having already visited it but after reading this book, I will be spending quite a bit of time visiting it and the monuments around e.g. the Arch of Titus as this book has given me a greater insight into them. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book., 5 Mar 2009
By 
Cath Andrews "cathnmike" (Macerata, Italy and Southport, UK) - See all my reviews
If you want to know some interesting facts about the Colosseum but aren't into dry academic type books, try this one. It's easy to read, factual (unlike a lot of internet information about the Colosseum which is just plain wrong), and humourous. The authors are clearly passionate about the subject and want to inspire the same enthusiasm into the reader.

I love Rome, visit it often and next time will see the Colosseum through different eyes. If you're at all interested in Rome or ancient Roman history you'll love this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars my son finds this both useful and very interesting, 7 July 2014
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This review is from: The Colosseum (Paperback)
Many thanks for swift delivery ..my son finds this both useful and very interesting, we will use you again
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4.0 out of 5 stars Informative and amusing., 20 Jun 2014
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Read it more or less in one sitting and wished I could nip back to Rome and take another look. A really good read, which I hadn't expected.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Facts and figures, 11 May 2014
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This is a very useful book for those who are planning to visit Rome and the Colosseum and for those who were wondering if Hollywood and Christian hagiography have over time painted a really accurate picture of the goings-on in the arena. I'll give you one guess at the right answer.
I've used the word 'useful' advisedly instead of words like thrilling or hugely entertaining. The reason is the figures. Almost every chapter of the Colosseum's and the Roman Games' history is drowned in them and you really have to like figures and calculations a lot to be thrilled by this way of history-writing. The book's sleeve notes promise us that this tale will be at times 'hilarious', but that is only for those who are very easily tickled.
So, 5 stars for factual information and 3 for entertainment value make for a 4-star rating.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Colosseum, 21 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Colosseum (Kindle Edition)
Not as entertaining as "Pompeii-the life of a Roman town", but interesting enough. I bought it because I thought is in the same style as the other book-Pompeii, but I didn't find the same sparkling tone which kept me "glued" to the other book.
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The Colosseum by Mary Beard (Paperback - 14 April 2011)
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