The Colosseum was designed for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles. The last recorded games were held there in the 6th century. Other public spectacles that were held there were re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology, animal hunts and even executions.
One of the most popular types of show was the animal hunt, venatio. Most of the animals were imported from Africa. Rules usually organized huge shows to celebrate their victories in battles. Trajan, for example, it is said to have celebrated his victory in Dacia in 107, with a 123 days festival, involving more than 11,000 animals and 10,000 gladiators. It was also used for Sylvae, a recreation of natural scenes, with real plants and animals and sea battles re-enactments.
The Colosseum was occasionally the scene for public executions. The condemned person was killed in a way inspired by the mythology – eaten by beasts or burned to death.
During the medieval times, the Colosseum lost its greatness. It was abandoned and it became a fortress for the medieval clans of the city. The monument became even a source of building materials, but sometimes it was used as place of Christian worship and scenery for painters.
Today, the Colosseum is an archaeological site and also a place for great touristic interest.