The LEGO Colosseum: Biggest Brick Set Brings the Ancient Roman World Home
LEGO, one of the world’s most popular toymakers, has announced a new brick set. What is unusual about this launch is that it is a model of one of the most famous structures from the ancient Roman world. It is a LEGO Colosseum, replicating the world’s most famous amphitheater.
Soon the many fans of LEGO of all ages can buy a model of the Colosseum . According to the company, this is the largest brick set produced by the Danish company to date. The Brothers Brick reports ‘The new 10276 Colosseum is a huge copy of the ancient Roman stadium consisting of whopping 9,036 pieces.’ This means the LEGO Colosseum has 2000 more bricks than the previous largest model, the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars.
The LEGO Colosseum model. ( LEGO)
A Replica of the World’s Most Famous Amphitheater
The set has been created to mimic the original Colosseum which stands in the heart of the modern Italian capital. According to the LEGO website, the new model features ‘many true-to-life details to help builders accurately bring this famous building to life.’ It recreates the three different stories of the structure and features Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns. The bricks have been made in an authentic way, including decorative spiral-like scroll ornamentation. The company has also recreated the spectator stands realistically.
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Even the color of the Roman amphitheater has been faithfully reproduced in brick form. The set has ‘three different shades of brick to replicate the different columns and aging of the almost 2,000 year-old landmark,’ reports the LEGO website.
The LEGO Colosseum set is modelled on the amphitheater as it is today; as a result it recreates the complete northern wall and also the incomplete southern section, which was badly damaged by an earthquake . Once made, the replica Colosseum measures over 10.5” (27cm) high, 20.5” (52cm) wide, and 23.5” (59cm) deep.
Design Challenges in Creating the LEGO Colosseum Model
The completed model is set on an oval base and this allows all sides of the amphitheater to be displayed. Builders can decide which side of the famous Roman landmark to exhibit. One of the most exciting features of the model is that it ‘features arches, that have been recreated with LEGO brick detailing, allowing a view into the center of the Colosseum from the outside, just like its real-life counterpart,’ according to LEGO.
Overhead view of the LEGO Colosseum model. ( LEGO)
The recreation of the Colosseum was a tremendous challenge. Rok Zgalin Kobe, who designed the set, told the LEGO website that “One of the biggest challenges and one of the most important things was to convey the Colosseum’s monumentality in the LEGO form.” This was achieved by “using an effect of vertical exaggeration,” he said. This means that the cross-section of the LEGO Colosseum is much steeper than the real Roman monument. Kobe told the LEGO website that “Hopefully, people will be inspired to learn more about the original through the experience of building the LEGO model.”
Gladiators and Christians in the Real Colosseum
The real-life Colosseum was built under the Flavian emperors in the First Century AD, who built it to legitimize their power after they had seized control following the turbulent Year of the Four Emperors (69 AD). Unlike other amphitheaters, it is a free-standing structure and could seat up to 50,000 spectators.
The Colosseum was the scene of gladiatorial contests and also fights between men and beasts. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica , ‘it is uncertain whether the arena was the site of the martyrdom of early Christians.’ It was also used for theatrical productions and after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, it was used for a variety of purposes, including a monastery and a fortress.
Panoramic view of Roman colosseum interior at sunset. ( Martin M303 /Adobe Stock)
The structure’s architecture influenced many leading architects during the Renaissance. Today the amphitheater is one of the most popular tourist sites in all of Europe.
The LEGO 10276 Colosseum will be available for fans to purchase online from the 27th of November. LEGO VIP members who buy the model during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend will also be entitled to a free brick model of a chariot from the Roman era.
Top image: Split image of the LEGO Colosseum with the real building. Source: LEGO
By Ed Whelan