Roman Amphitheaters outside of Rome - Ancient Roman Provinces
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Amphitheaters outside of Rome

El Djem
El Djem, Tunisia

Many Roman amphitheaters were built outside of Rome. This is the amphitheater of El Djem in Tunisia (North Africa), one of the largest amphitheaters that is still around today. This amphitheater was big enough to hold many more people than lived in the town of El Djem: farmers used to come in from the countryside all around on holidays to see the gladiatorial shows and executions here.

Selinunte
Selinunte, Sicily (Italy)

Here's another example of a Roman amphitheater from outside of Italy. This is the amphitheater of Selinunte in Sicily.

Paris arenas
Paris, France

Paris, which was only a small town under Roman rule, had a pretty small amphitheater.

These amphitheaters continued to be used until the 300s AD, when a lot of Romans converted to Christianity and the Christian bishops began preaching that gladiatorial fights were wrong. This was partly because the amphitheaters had been used to execute Christian prisoners, people who had been convicted of practicing Christianity illegally, like Saint Paul. And it was partly because gladiators traditionally fought in honor of the Roman gods. But even though gladiatorial fights stopped, amphitheaters continued to be used for fights between men and animals - and they still are today in Spanish and Mexican bullfights.

Learn by doing: build a model amphitheater
Or hold gladiatorial games
More about Roman gladiators
The Colosseum in Rome

Bibliography and further reading about Roman amphitheaters:

Roman Amphitheaters, by Don Nardo (2002). Easy reading. Mainly about the Colosseum in Rome.

Make This Model Roman Amphitheatre, by Iain Ashman (1995).

Roman Architecture, by Frank Sear (1983). The standard college textbook.

The Roman Amphitheatre: From its Origins to the Colosseum, by Katherine Welch (2004). By a specialist, for specialists.

More about Amphitheaters
Vomitoria
Gladiators
Roman Architecture
Ancient Rome
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.
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