An amphitheater (Greek amphi, around about ') is a round theater of antiquity, typically without a closed roof, but may be equipped with a solar sail. To a round or oval -scale arena gradually rose rows of seats.

In general, also semicircular rising in step seat outdoor installations, echo reflective rock formations as well as modern music pavilions with vibrant sound effects, referred to as the amphitheater.

Function and designation

The ancient amphitheater created by the earlier research view through the composition of two semi-circular theaters, hence the name. The whole building was surrounded by high outside walls or recessed in the ground.

It is now rather assumed that the amphitheater as a performance venue of gladiator battles took an independent structural development of the theater. Only in the construction of the auditorium ( cavea ) are significant borrowings from the ancient theater. There were up to 50,000 spectators. The largest amphitheater in the ancient world was the Flavian Amphitheater, later known as the Colosseum, in Rome.

In the Roman Empire the amphitheater venues were for gladiator and animal fights ( munera et venationes ), but also for major theater performances and sports competitions. With them, the people were kept happy by the slogan " bread and circuses ". Amphitheater often had a sophisticated stage equipment with which the bodies were lowered into the ground or were even completely be filled with water.

In most amphitheatres, the auditorium could be completely or at least partially covered with intricate awnings ( vela or Velaria ). These sails were raised on poles, their anchorages were in the upper enclosure.

At the time of Caesar amphitheater in Rome were built of wood and torn down after the competitions. At about 27 AD fell such a grandstand in Fidenae (east of Rome ), where thousands of people lost their lives. This meant that in the future stands only allowed to be built on solid ground, until it was finally transferred to stone amphitheaters. In Campania there were already in the Late Republic amphitheater of stone.

In Pompeii, the oldest of this type was found ( 70 BC). It was referred to as spectacula. The name of the Greek word amphitheater is first found in Strabo, Josephus also mentions it in connection with Herod's construction activity by 25 BC The oldest mention of the word in the Greek language dates back to the Libyan Berenice from around 8-6 BC.

The rising rows of the theater were designated Maenianum.


The audience included high bets on their fighters and engaged very happy for her. This makes it often came to rivalries and conflicts. When the riots sponsors imposed Place locks.

Later buildings

Later ( the Baroque period? ) Also existed in Germany installations which are based on the shape of the ancient amphitheater and served the organization of animal fighting, as, inter alia, in Berlin ( the so-called " Hetzgarten " ), in Königsberg, Nuremberg ( " fencing House " ) and in Vienna ( " Rushes Heater" ).

1938, in the Nazi era, a huge amphitheater in a slope (former quarry ) was on the St. Annaberg built into it. Sources give 30,000 to 100,000 places; it is one of the largest amphitheatres in Europe. See also celebration site of the Silesians.