The Greek Amphitheaters and the Roman Colosseum

#1
Hello! I'm currently writing a comparative essay for my World History class about Greece and Rome. For one of my paragraphs I decided to write about Greece's influence on Roman architecture. When researching this topic I noticed that the Roman Colosseum seemed to have a similar design to the amphitheatre at Epidaurus. Were the designers of the colosseum use a similar design to the amphitheatre so sounds in the middle of the arena could be heard by people located in the farthest rows of the colosseum?
Here's what I wrote:
A perfect example of [the Roman's adoption of Greek technologies] is the amphitheatre at Epidaurus. The Greek architects designed the amphitheatre such as that the sound of a person would be projected across it, bouncing off each the near semicircle rows. This design had a desired consequence of acoustics so great that if one is to stand in the middle of the circular stage and they talk at a loudness used in a conversation, a person located in the row farthest from this person would be able to hear that person as if the person on the stage were right next to them. The Romans adopted this concept and used it as a feature of their legendary colosseum located in their capital.
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
24,901
Lago Maggiore, Italy
#2
Substantially yes, Greeks understood first the effect of the acoustic reverberation [not exactly the echo] and they noted that the shape of an amphitheater, the height of the steps, the inclination and the material used affected the transmission of the sound. For example volcanic rock worked quite well.

About the colosseum in Rome, note that it's slightly oval, not circular.

I know there are scientific works about this. I suggest the work byJian Kang and Kalliopi Chourmouziadou, University of Sheffield, UK.
 
Nov 2017
69
New Jersey, USA
#6
I think the book you want to check out (if you can get access) is:

Welch, Katherine E. The Roman amphitheatre: from its origins to the Colosseum. Cambridge University Press, 2007.

I couldn't find any sources corroborating the claims you make about the acoustic properties of the Colosseum. Lots of great work done on the acoustics of the amphitheaters though.
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
24,901
Lago Maggiore, Italy
#7
Reading an article on an Italian magazine about scientific curiosities [Focus], I've found out that they [probably at the beginning trying different conformations] discovered that the steps in stone reduced [and reduce] the background noise [environmental noises, the hubbub coming from the audience ...] since they cut the low frequencies, but they preserve the high frequencies [music of the instruments and voices of the actors who spoke in a suitable way for such a place, of course].

The authors I've mentioned above, on the other hand, add that well inclined bleachers further improve such an effect. The material of construction has to be compact [stone is perfect].

In similar conditions the sound has reflected several times from the stage to the bleachers and back. Human voice was audible up to 60mt of distance without trouble.
 

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