The amphitheatre is a type of construction invented by the Romans. In Greek, amphi means “around”. So, an amphitheatre is a theatre, where the spectators can sit around the arena. It is usually used for sports, or other shows, in which seeing is prior to hearing.
The oldest amphitheatres have been built at the end of the II century BC, in Campania, while the one of Pompeii, probably the oldest one made of stone, was constructed in 69 BC. In Rome the law prohibited the building of structures for shows. Pompey in 55 BC managed to build a theatre only by justifying it as an extension of the Temple of Venus.
The word amphitheatrum indicate at the beginning the spectacula, Theatron kynegeticon, and hunting theatre. The first stone amphitheatre of Rome was built by Statilius Taurus in 29 BC, in the Campus Martius. But wooden amphitheatres continued to be popular. However in 27 AD. That year, not far from Rome, in Fidene, a wooden amphitheatre collapsed, killing more than 20.000 spectators.