Amphitheater of Merida (Emerita Augusta), at Merida, Badajoz.
 
Planta del Anfitatro
Rebuilt plan of the Amphitheater
Amphitheater was built after the Theater, close to it. Both let us an outstanding monumental Roman whole in Peninsula. Carved inscriptions on podium let see that it was inaugurated at 8 b.C. It was probably designed as the same time than the Theater, far from the walls: a position that was corrected when they were enlarged Proximity was due to the necessity of using, as was done for Theater, slopes of Saint Albin hill to built the rows and make easier the whole construction.
 
It is built with different elements: concrete, granite ashlars, little ashlars, masonry or bricks. It was not a building with high quality materials, not even for its decoration: it all makes think about an important economical recession for this building.
 
It has an elliptical plan. Its major axis is 126 m.; minor 102 m. On the arena they are 64 m.x 41 m. respectively.
 
Its design is the most usual for Roman amphitheaters: rows with ima, media and summa cavea, and a central arena. Rows had capacity for ca. 15.000 spectators and were endowed sith staircases -scalae- and corridors that communicated different parts -cunei-. The ima cavea had a reserved file for authorities and 10 for general public. Two tribunes at both sides of the minor axis were built: one on the corridor of the main entry and a second at the opposite side. Under them can be read the inscriptions that let us date the building. By the major axis could also have been made two similar boxes.
Arena was endowed with a fossa bestiaria at its center. It was covered with wood and, later, with arena. It was necessary for keeping animals for fightings again gladiators venationes. This pit communicated through a corridor as large as the whole major axis for entering animals and gladiators. At both sides there were rooms for preparing performings and a temple for worship of gods.
 
For entering the amphitheater there were 16 exterior doors. Main was placed at the Western front. Two of them are curiously blind by the wall.
 
A podium dividing arena and rows was decorated with paintings dealing with amphitheater activities: tigers against wild boars, gladiators against lions... Later, it was covered with marble and crowned by a baluster.
 
Vista general del Anfiteatro
General view of the Amphitheater
Vista general del Anfiteatro
View from the major axis.

 
It was, little to little, left. Last rows were used as constructive materials during next centuries: this is why the summa cavea disappeared. It is a curious think that a total description of rows for amphitheater was made at 18th. century: it makes us think that spoils were posterior to that date.