Towns in the Cotswold region
Roman Amphitheatre, Cirencester
The amphitheatre was the centre of entertainment in the Roman world and consequently all Roman cities had one. They were where crowds gathered for bull-baiting and to witness gladiatorial fights amongst other events.
The Cotswold ‘Coliseum’
The largest amphitheatre was the Coliseum in Rome which could accommodate 50,000 people and although Cirencester’s is much smaller, allowing for 8,000 people, it is still an impressive ruin.
Cirencester, or Corinium as it was known in Roman times, was the second most important city in Roman Britain, behind London. It is fitting therefore that it is home to one of the largest amphitheatres known from Roman Britain. It is thought to have been constructed in the first half of the second century AD and although it has not been fully excavated yet, the grandeur that the amphitheatre must have possessed in Roman times is no less obvious.
The ‘Bull Ring’
Throughout its history, the amphitheatre has been used for a number of purposes. There is evidence to suggest that in the late fourth century AD it was used as a market which is unsurprising considering its central location. More recently, in the eighteenth century, the amphitheatre was home to bull-baiting contests which has led to it locally acquiring the name of the ‘Bull Ring.’ The site is mainly covered by grass nowadays but recent excavations have fuelled the folklore of secret, mysterious tunnels running underneath the city, leading to the amphitheatre.
Similar Cotswold Attractions: Belas Knap, Berkeley Castle, Blenheim Palace, Chedworth Villa, Gloucester Cathedral, Highgrove, Kelmscott Manor, The Rococo Gardens, The Rollright Stones, The Roman Baths
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