Windisch/Vindonissa, Amphitheater, aditus. Foto/Photo: TES.

The amphitheatre of Vindonissa

The XIII Legion built the wooden amphitheatre of Vindonissa (Windisch, Canton Aargau) during the reign of Emperor Tiberius (14-37 AD).

After a fire, the XXI legion replaced it with stone construction. The ranks (cavea) are divided into three horizontal sections and can accommodate about 11,000 spectators. The spectators were strictly separated according to the hierarchical division of society.

The elliptical Arena, measuring 64 by 52 metres, is Switzerland’s largest of the seven known amphitheatres. However, with its outer dimensions of 111 m by 99 m, the building is much smaller than the largest Roman amphitheatre, the Colosseum in Rome, which can seat 50,000 spectators.

The most famous performances were hunting wild animals (Venetationes) and the gladiatorial fights (Munera).

The first stone amphitheatre was built in Rome around 70 AD. It was quickly copied in the Roman provinces and symbolised Romanisation. It was at the expense of interest in the Roman theatre.

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