Period I newsletter

Collection Musées romain d'Avenches. Photo/Foto TES.

The Amphitheatre of Aventicum

In Aventicum, nowadays Avenches, Roman imperial power and monuments can still be seen everywhere and in particular at the Roman museum, housed in the medieval tower of the Roman amphitheatre, built in de second century AD. Like the theatre, the amphitheatre and its spectacles were primarily driven by social and political motives and financed by local magistrates and the elite, the system of so-called euergetism. The (provincial) theatre hosted a wide variety of productions, such as mime, pantomime, dance, singing, music, mythological plays and occasionally, perhaps, (Greek) tragedies and comedies. The theatre is situated on the site of the ancient Roman town Aventicum.

The amphitheatre was in these days located further away from the centre of the Roman city with around 20 000 inhabitants, most likely because of a lack of space and close to roads to receive the large crowds. The amphitheatre was the place of gladiatorial combats and other spectacles, which were attended by tens of thousands of spectators. They were a medium of propaganda as well. The statutes of the Gods, the imperial family and the local elite were omnipresent, expressing the (divine) power of Rome and the ruling class. The museum shows a reconstruction of the richly decorated amphitheatre on video. It gives an idea of the impressive public buildings in a provincial town of the Roman Empire. (Source and further information: