The Colosseum, orginally named the Flavian Amphitheatre is an elliptical amphitheatre in the center of Rome and the largest ever built in the Roman Empire. It is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering. Occupying a site just east of the Roman Forum, its construction started between and 70 and 72 AD under the emperor Vespasion and was completed in 80 AD under Titus. Capable of seating 50,000 spectators, the Colosseum was used for gladiaotrial contests and public spectacles. as well as the gladiaotrial games, other public spectacles were held there such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactmentsof famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. Spectators were seated in a tiered arrangement that reflected the rigidly stratified nature of Roman society. The arena itslef was 83 meters by 48 meters. It comprised a wooden floor covered by sand, covering an elaborate underground structure called the hypogeum. The hypogeum consisted of a two-level subterranean network of tunnels and cages beneath the arena where gladiators and animals were held before contests began. Eighty vertical shafts provided instant access to the arena for caged animals and scenery pieces concealed underneath; larger hinged platforms, called hegmata, provided access for elephants and the like.