The Amphitheater of Capua: the first gladiator school

Santa Maria Capua Vetere, simply known as Capua in Antiquity, was one of the most important cities in the Roman Empire. Indeed, Cicero called it Alter Roma (the “other Rome”) and in the 1st century BC Emperor Augustus had an amphitheater built here to celebrate a center so great it rivaled Carthage and o Corinth.

The Amphitheater of Capua, or Amphitheater Campano, could hold an audience of up to 40,000 people, and was the second biggest arena after the Colosseum. It was where the first gladiator school was founded by Gaius Aurelius Scaurus in 105 BC, to prepare the fighters Rome used to train the men in its legion. This is where Spartacus made a name for himself, before famously taking part in the Third Servile War where slaves rebelled against the Roman Republic. In his “De Vitae Caesarum”, Suetonius noted, “There was a famous gladiator school in Capua, made up exclusively of slaves of great strength and stature, who were trained to give life to violent shows where only the winners had a chance at survival”.
The Amphitheater of Capua shaped the great gladiators known as “Iuliani” (and later “Neroniani”), who belonged to the gladiator family founded by Gaius Julius Caesar in 49 BC.

After Rome fell, the amphitheater was pillaged and, in the 9th century, turned into a quarry of marble and other construction material: it was not until the 1800s that the site was seen for its historical value. Freed from the earth that covered it in the early decades of the 20th century, the Amphitheater of Capua is now open to visitors as one of the best-preserved archaeological sites in Campania, showing much of its original splendor.

Amphitheater of Capua
Piazza I Ottobre, 36
Santa Maria Capua Vetere (CE)

Photos via:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Anfiteatro_Campano_sotterranei.jpg
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Anfiteatro_Campano_-_005.jpg
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Anfiteatro_Campano_sotterranei_2.jpg
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Anfiteatro_Campano_esterno_2.jpg
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Anfiteatro_Campano_(Santa_Maria_di_Capua_Vetere)_36.jpg
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Anfiteatro_Campano_esterno_2.jpg

Anfiteatro-Campano-02Anfiteatro-Campano-03Anfiteatro-Campano-04Anfiteatro-Campano-05Anfiteatro-Campano-06Anfiteatro-Campano-08Anfiteatro-Campano-09Anfiteatro-Campano-10

The Amphitheater of Capua: the first gladiator school

Santa Maria Capua Vetere
Piazza I Ottobre, 36

WEEKLY POSTCARD

Most Read

The Great War Museum: history at high altitude

Author: Barbara PalladinoTranslation by Michelle NebioloOn the top of the Marmolada, at 3,000 meters of altitude, you’ll find the Marmolada Great War...

Palazzo Giordano Apostoli: neo-gothic inspiration

Palazzo Giordano Apostoli is located in Sassari’s central Piazza d’Italia. It was built by will of Giuseppe Giordano Apostoli in 1877, in...

Move To The Top takes you to the roof of the Dolomites

Author: Barbara PalladinoTranslation by Michelle Nebiolo On 4 July 2020, the cableway to Malga Ciapèla will re-open. Its short,...

Tenute La Montina, the realm of Franciacorta

Author: Barbara PalladinoTranslation by Michelle NebioloTenute La Montina is located in Monticelli Brusati (BS), in the north-east of Franciacorta, next to an ample...