Amphitheater of Santiponce (Italica), at Santiponce, Seville.
One of the biggest amphitheaters of the Roman world. It could keep more than 25.000 persons, a huge quantity if we consider that the city never kept more than 8.000 souls. On the plan its major axis is more than 154 m.; minor is 130 m. long. It was built at Adrianus Emperor age.
It is placed out of the wall area of the nova urbs, on a valley that makes the function of accomodating rows. Its façade, almost lost, followed the usual architectural design: two superimposed orders of columns fixed to pillars supporting archs. Inferior order only can be seen on the parts of the valley where it was possible -the main axis of amphitheater- being superior the perimetral one.
Structure of building is opus caementicium -concrete reinforced with stone or brick ashlars depending on the area-. Indeed, the most outstanding parts are covered with marble.
Main entry was the eastern one. The Porta triumphalis was covered by a vaulted gallery pavimented with rectangular stones. Just on those stones can be seen sculpted scenes of plays done at the exterior of the area. At both sides of this entry, at the inner, there are chambers for worship called Sacellum.
The podium that limited the arena and supported rows were 2,30 m. high. Added to the cornice and protective balauster, they supossed a total of3,50 m. Behind the wall there was a perimetral gallery that communicated with the arena through 10 doors with fences. The whole -podium, gallery, cornice and balauster- was covered with marble. Along the wall there were many windows and lights at the vault to illuminate the gallery.
The row -cavea- was divided into three areas: ima, media and summa cavea, separated by corridors with a shape of rings, called praecinctiones. The first one, ima cavea, had 6 rows, with 8 doors for access. It was reserved to a high social class: magistrates, senators... The second one, media cavea, was thought for the rest of citizens: it had 12 rows and 14 access doors. Summa cavea, covered by a sunshade, was reserved for women and children.
On its arena -its oval is 71 x 48 m.- gladiators fightings were done -munus gladiatorum-. Also simulations of hunting scenes -venationes-, fightings of animals... There was a rectangular underground for that -fossa bestiaria- where animals were kept before entering the arena through two slope galleries. This pit was covered by a wooden structure on wich the arena was spread. Supporting was made with eight brick pillars, a material of wich the whole pit was made.