Colosseum: Roman Death Trap

Investigating ancient Rome's Colosseum

Built to control and appease the public craze for entertainment, the Roman Colosseum has stood for a little under 2000 years.

It was commanded to be built in 70–80 AD by Roman emperor Titus Vespasianus, and was the biggest amphitheater ever to have been built in classical antiquity.

The Colosseum set the stage for numerous classical scenes, housing re-enactments of battles – both on land and sea, and saw the killings of thousands of prisoners, wild animals and gladiators.

It was an icon of the ancient world, erected and standing as a symbol of cruelty and power for the Romans.

Blood was demanded by the ancient Romans and blood was spilled in millions of liters.

Records of the Colosseum battles are written in history books and stone tablets.

Of ferocious beasts from far away lands, frightning and powerful in apperance, tearing prisoners to shreds.

The gladiators, fighting to their deaths in fearless battles to satisfy the bloodlust of the Roman crowds.

The entire floor of the Colosseum was occasionally filled with water where the Romans would display theatrical re-enactments of mighty sea battles.

But how were these things made? What were the engineering feats that made these things possible?

Colosseum: Roman Death Trap takes a look at whether or not it’s possible to re-create what the ancient Romans did or if they merely exaggerated.

To find out, the documentary has gathered a team of modern builders and engineers to test their historical theories.

Here they’ll engineer and re-create what the Romans did 2000 years ago.

Colosseum: Roman Death Trap
  • Info
  • Release date2015
  • Full runtime
  • Director(s)Pascal Cuissot, Gary Glassman
  • Part of the seriesNOVA
  • Production companyProvidence Pictures