National Geographic : 1957 Apr
© National Geographic Society 451 Blood-stained Arena of the Roman Mob, the Colosseum Has Endured 19 Centuries Emperor Titus, using the labor of 12,000 captive Jews, completed the world's largest amphitheater A. D. 80 . He inaugurated it with a blood bath. For 100 days the arena shook with the roar of 50,000 spectators, the screams of 5,000 wild beasts, and the death agonies of untold gladiators. Ignoring Christian protests, the carnival of death continued four centuries longer. Until recent times the Colosseum served as a marble quarry for builders. Having withstood time, earthquake, and battle, the walls now threaten to crumble from automobile vibration. Roman police recently ordered traffic detoured around them. Six patched columns on the right survive out of nearly 200 that anciently formed part of the Temple of Venus and Rome. A bronze Nero seven feet taller than the Statue of Liberty stood between temple and Colosseum until it toppled some 1,200 years ago.