Watch Again

Eight Days that Made Rome:

The Story Behind the Colosseum's Greatest Battle

Watch More
back to video

»The Colosseum's Grand Opening

The Story Behind the Colosseum's Greatest Battle

Short | 03:59

We owe the Roman poet Martial a debt of gratitude for recording so vividly the gladiatorial battle that took place on the opening day of the Colosseum. It was a battle for the ages - with an unexpected outcome.

On TV

More About This episode

Out of the carnage of Emperor Nero's death and the civil war that followed, a new imperial dynasty was born, one that looked to win over the hearts of the people by building the largest arena the world had ever seen: Rome's Colosseum. Examine the day in 80 A.D. when the Flavian Amphitheatre opened with a 100-day exhibition of animal and human slaughter. Visit the site, explore ancient artifacts, and see how the Colosseum remains a testament to Rome's reach and ambition and its thirst for blood and glory.

Ways to Watch

Buy this show from any of these distributors

Have Smithsonian Channel through your TV provider?

Watch this episode online now.

Return to Video Page