Augusta Emerita, Amphitheater

Augusta Emerita: Roman city in western Spain, modern Mérida, capital of the province of Lusitania.

Entrance of the amphitheater

The amphitheater of Augusta Emerita was, according to an inscription, completed in 8 BCE, which makes it only a couple of years younger than the adjacent theater. Most amphitheaters were used for hunts, executions, and gladiatoral contests, and there is no reason to assume that the amphitheater in Emerita was an exception. Some frescoes found in the theater represent the hunts.

The monument could accomodate about 30,000 people, who could enter the stands through sixteen doors. There were special boxes for the organizer and the magistrates.

In the sixteenth century, when only the upper rows of the stands were visible, people believed that the building was in fact a naumachia, but this misunderstanding was expelled after excavation had started in 1919.

The Amphitheater House is directly north of it (here).