Technogenic catastrophe of Ancient Rome: the collapse of the amphitheater in Fideni

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(ORDO NEWS) — During the reign of the emperor Tiberius (November 16, 42 BC – March 16, 37 AD), in 27 AD. e., there was the largest man-made disaster in ancient Rome . In Fidena (a city not far north of Rome), a wooden amphitheater collapsed.

According to the ancient Roman historian and writer Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, more than 20,000 people died under the rubble; the ancient Roman historian and writer Publius Cornelius Tacitus wrote about 50,000 killed and maimed.

According to Tacitus, the initiator and sponsor of the construction of the amphitheater was an entrepreneur named Atilius, who cut heavily on costs and did not control that the building was strong enough.

During the collapse, the stands collapsed not only inward, but also outward, so among the victims there were many bystanders who were not direct spectators.

A large number of victims was also due to the fact that Tiberius had previously temporarily banned gladiator fights. As soon as the ban was lifted, a huge mass of people wanted to watch this kind of show, and the Fidensky amphitheater faced a real “invasion”.

Upon learning of the tragedy, Tiberius left his villa on the island of Capri and personally supervised the provision of assistance to the victims.

For his irresponsibility, Atilius was sentenced to exile. In addition, the Senate banned people with assets of less than 400,000 sesterces from organizing gladiator fights, and any amphitheater was thoroughly tested for reliability before it was put into operation.


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