Roman Amphitheatres in Britain
Throughout the area covered by the Roman Empire the remains of 320 amphitheatres have been found so far, (click here to see a map showing all locations throughout the roman Empire) of these a scattering of 20 examples are fairly evenly spread over the UK.
For the Romans an amphitheatre was a public performance, spectacle or presentation space, somewhere you could have competitions, sports, performances, perhaps have gladiators perform, and in some cases also a practice area for the military.
Cirencester Amphitheatre, Gloucestershire
An amphitheatre also differed from a Roman Circus or Greek Hippodrome, both of which were used for chariot racing and horse racing and were shaped more like a very long, narrow horse shoe although sometimes fully joined up.
An amphitheatre in a community became a prized symbol of Roman citizenship in the outlying areas of the empire and in some cases there is documented evidence of citizens having made their fortunes financing the development of large amphitheatres, in some cases unnecessarily large, for their home area.
In addition to amphitheatres, the Romans had theatres in some places.
The Roman Theatre of
Verulamium (St Albans) is unique. Built in about 140AD it is the only
example of its kind in Britain, being a theatre with a stage rather than an
Amphitheatre. Initially, the arena would have been used for anything from
religious processions and dancing, to wrestling, armed combat and wild beast
shows. From about 180AD the stage came into greater use and the auditorium
extended. By about 300AD, after some redevelopment work, the Theatre could seat
or see our Location Guide on The Roman Theatre and Verulamium
The full list of remains found of Amphitheatres in Britain:-