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View looking south at the interior of the Amphitheater at Pompeii. It measures 432 x 335 ft. and could hold 20,000 people! Note the high retaining wall to protect the spectators. In this earliest of amphitheaters, there were few underground passages nor chambers—as are common in later structures.
The first five rows are "walled off" and were for the use of the elite of the city. The upper seats were for the use of lesser class people and eventually women—who were allowed to go to the amphitheater because of a decree of the Emperor Augustus (r. 27 BCE–CE14).
It was built in 80 B.C. when Pompeii became a Roman Colony. It is the oldest amphitheater in existence!
It was used from sports and gladiator contests, hunts and battles with wild animals! Wall advertisements for the spectacles have been found on the walls of buildings at Pompeii.