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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4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Dave T (3 years ago)
My second time in Rome 6th time around the colloseum first time I noticed it. Didn't realise it was essentially gladiator academy.
Mike Thuringer (3 years ago)
Pretty cool little thing but it it’s just a flyby something you can see is you’re going down the road I wouldn’t go out of my way to go see this area just happen to be next-door apartment and it was cool checking out as we were walking byeAvoid going there late at night there’s a bunch of punk kids to hang out alongside the sidewalks by the bars that aren’t all that nice or friendly so it’s a real young kid hang out place late at night avoid it at night
Tracy Robinson (3 years ago)
Just next to the Colloseum is this little gem the Kudus Magnus the gladiator training school.
Dominik Sienczuk (4 years ago)
The school where the gladiators were taught. Just amazing.
Ben (5 years ago)
Right outside my accommodation I had to come onto the internet to find out what it was as there is no information around the cornered off site. Cool really, 2 minute walk from the Colosseum so you can understand why this was the gladiator school. Not to much to get wowed about. Still cool.
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