Its name refers to its ‘colossal’ size but also to a giant gold plated statute imitating the Colossus at Rhodes, which once stood next to the stadium. The building is 500 meters in diameter and was inaugurated in AD 80, with a blockbuster ‘100 Days of Carnage’ to whet the appetite of the populus romanus. Gory battles between gladiators, slaves, wild animals and prisoners in different combinations comprised the entertainment programme, but towards the decline of the Roman Empire the action was reduced to less heroic battles between chickens pecking each other to shreds. The Colosseum could seat 50,000 spectators and entrance was free to all. This made it an integral part of the ‘bread and circuses’ strategy to keep citizens pacified, the reasoning being that if a populace have enough to eat and are entertained, then they’re less likely to revolt.