Ludus Magnus - Colosseum Rome Tickets
Colosseum History

Ludus Magnus

Ludus Magnus

Just east of the Roman Colosseum are the remains of the largest barracks for gladiators in Rome: the Ludus Magnus. The building is of brick-faced concrete throughout and the building was started by emperor Domitian and completed some time during the reign of emperor Hadrian.

Its precise location was uncertain until 1937, although its layout was partially known from the Forma Urbis Romae (a marble map of Rome from the era of Septimius Severus, which has come down to us in fragments) . Begun in 1937 and continued between 1957 and 1961, the excavations brought to light only the north section of the building, but looking at it one can easily imagine the curved structure of the cavea. With the help of a fragment of the Forma Urbis  on which the name of the building appears, it is possible to give a precise and complete description of the complex.

Reconstruction Sketch of Ludus Magnus in Ancient Rome

Reconstruction Sketch of Ludus Magnus in Ancient Rome

Reconstruction Sketch of Ludus Magnus in Ancient Rome-2

Reconstruction Sketch of Ludus Magnus in Ancient Rome-2

It is thought that the building was probably three floors high with up to 145 rooms altogether. Ludus Magnus consisted of an elliptical arena with a long axis of 62 m and a short one of 45 m surrounded by the stands of a small cavea originally faced with marble slabs. The cavea was large enough to hold nine terraces and had room for approximately 2500 spectators.

The main entry to the arena were located on the long axis, while there were boxes for public authorities on the short one. The courtyard functioned like an amphitheatre and this was where the gladiators did their training.

Ludus Magnus

Ludus Magnus

On the north side of the excavated area, facing Via Labicana, one can see a fairly well conserved row of little cells provided with stairs leading to the upper floors. The warriors lived in the Ludus in a permanent state of captivity and were subjected to a severe program of everyday training.

Remains of Ludus Magnus, Rome, Italy

Remains of Ludus Magnus, Rome, Italy

A tunnel connected the arena directly to the east entrance of the Colosseum. The original construction dates back to the era of Domitian and must have caused the demolition of a residential neighbourhood of the late-republican and Augustan periods, of which there is clear evidence (the remains of a tessellated floor can be seen on the south side of the area, in the direction of the Celian hill). The remains of the cavea and the arena, on the other hand, belong to a restoration carried out under Trajan. There must have been other buildings similar to the Ludus Magnus overlooking the square: the Ludus Matutinus, where the venatores were trained, and the Ludus Dacicus and Ludus Gallicus, which were named after the gladiators who lived there.

Ludus Magnus

Remains of the Ludus Magnum, near the Coliseum, the only one of the four garret barracks built by Diocletian still partially visible today

Ludus Magnus

Rome, Italy. Ancient Roman ruins of Ludus Magnus – historic gladiator school.

We must also imagine in the immediate vicinity all the auxiliary buildings we know were connected with the Colosseum, such as the spoliarium (where the corpses were collected after the fights in the arena), the samarium (where wounded gladiators were taken), and the armamentarium (where weapons were stored). Probably further north, in addition, there were the Castra Misenatium, where the sailors in charge of the velarium lived, and the Summum Choragium, where the machinery used in staging the games was stored.

Colosseum Rome Tickets & Tours:

Colosseum Priority Entrance + Arena Floor, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill - Tourists visit the Roman vestiges inside the Colosseum, major touristic attraction in Rome, Italy.JPG

from €26.00 EUR 
Duration: 3-4 Hours
 Seller: Tiqets
3.679 Reviews

Skip the Line Colosseum with Arena Floor +Professional Guided Tour (46).JPG

from  €28.00 EUR
Duration: 1.5 Hours
 Seller: Tiqets
309 Reviews

Best of Rome Pass Vatican, Colosseum and St Peter Basilica Pass Ticket (7).jpg

from €79.00 EUR
Validity: 3 Days
832 Reviews

Skip the Line Tour Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill (20).jpg

from €45.90 EUR
Duration: 3 Hours
 Organized by: City Wonders
7.726 Reviews

Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Fast -Track Entry (3).jpg

from €28.00 EUR
Duration: 2 Hours
 Seller: Vatican Museums (Authorised Seller)
26.500 Reviews

Castel Sant'Angelo Skip The Line Ticket (8).jpg

from €19.50 EUR
 Seller: Tiqets
525 Reviews

Borghese Gallery Tickets (8).jpg

from €20.00 EUR
 Seller: Tiqets
1.447 Reviews

Ancient Monuments of Rome Small Group Guided Tour (1).jpg

from €61.00 EUR
Duration: 3 Hours
 Organized by: MEA Tour&Events
474 Reviews