Ludus Magnus

Rome, Italy

The Ludus Magnus is the largest of the gladiatorial arenas in Rome. It was built by the emperor Domitian (81-96 AD) in the valley between the Esquiline and the Caelian hills. The still visible ruins of the monument belong to a second building stage attributed to the emperor Trajan (98-117).

The Ludus Magnus was located in this area as it was built for the performances to be held at the Colosseum. To facilitate connections between these two buildings, an underground gallery linked the two buildings. The path, with an entrance 2.17 m wide, began underneath the amphitheatre and reached the Ludus at its southwestern corner.

At the centre of the Ludus Magnus, built on two levels, there was an ellipsoidal arena in which the gladiators practiced. It was circumscribed by the steps of a small cavea, probably reserved for a limited number of spectators. The cavea had a four-sided portico (of about 100m per side) with travertine columns. It led to a number of outside rooms, to be used by the gladiators and as services for the performances. Only a few ruins in Travertine remain of the colonnade which was raised in the place where the columns were probably located originally.

In the northwest corner of the portico, one of the four small, triangular fountains has been restored. It lies in the spaces between the curved wall of the cavea and the colonnade. A cement block remained between two brick walls, converging at an acute angle.

The entrances to the Ludus Magnus were built on the main axes. The one at via Labicana, at the center of the building's northern side, was probably reserved for important people, since a decorated place of honour was found on the cavea.

Ludus Magnus gradually fell out of use, along with the Flavian amphitheatre, when gladiatorial combat was outlawed in the 5th century. The building was abandoned in the sixth century when it housed a small cemetery. By the middle of the sixth century, the area was no longer cared for and numerous churches were built, as the population continued to decrease.

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Founded: c. 100 AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Italy

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Vincent Randy Heslop (2 years ago)
Hard to rate these historical, one of a kind and beautiful locations. They seem above such a process. Obviously, it goes without saying that when in Rome you must visit Ludus Magnus!. FOLLOW ME for more thoughtful recommendations as I travel the world ?
Viktor Nagy (3 years ago)
The Ludus Magnus (also known as the Great Gladiatorial Training School) was the largest of the gladiatorial schools in Rome. It was built by the emperor Domitian (r. 81–96 C.E.) in the late first century C.E., alongside other building projects undertaken by him such as three other gladiatorial schools across the Roman Empire. The training school is situated directly east of the Colosseum in the valley between the Esquiline and the Caelian hills, an area already occupied by Republican and Augustan structures. While there are remains that are visible today, they belong to a reconstruction that took place under the emperor Trajan (r. 98–117) where the Ludus plane was raised by about 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in). The Ludus Magnus was essentially a gladiatorial arena where gladiators from across the Roman Empire would live, eat, and practice while undergoing gladiatorial training in preparation for fighting at the gladiatorial games held at the Colosseum.
Lollipop Knight (3 years ago)
Beautiful museum.
Nathalie Issa (4 years ago)
This place is amazing ! If you like ruins and history this place is definitely where you have to go. Pros: everything ! Cons: can sometimes be crowded, go early.
Ron Mosocco (4 years ago)
Not to be missed while visiting the Roman Colosseum. It is directly across the street and is the Ancient Gladiator Arena and home of the gladiators. Known for their strength and daring to sacrifice their life, they were a different and legend has many of the wealthy and higher echelon married Roman women would slip away in the evening and visit these worshiped men.
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