The amphitheatre

Nyon's amphitheatre

It was built below the road leading to the vicus of Lousonna/Vidy. It measures 50 m end to end where the ellipse is at its longest and 36 m across. Two gates give access to the arena. Two carceres, the cell where it is thought that animals were kept before shows, are located facing each other. More than four hundred coins have been found in the beaten earth floor of the arena. Two inscriptions have been discovered and have been gifted to the Museum. It can be assumed from one of them, which contains a reference to the emperor Trajan, that the amphitheatre, which could cater for an audience of several thousand, was built at the beginning of the 2nd century AD.

This monument is remarkable for its size and its good preservation; it was discovered in 1996 and is the sixth amphitheatre brought to light in Switzerland after Avenches, Vindonissa, Augst, Martigny and Bern. Its dimensions are almost the same as those of the amphitheatre of Avenches.

The amphitheatre and its shows

The main feature of the shows known to have taken place in the amphitheatre were gladiatorial combats, hunts (venationes), wild animal displays and sometimes the execution of individuals condemned to death. The Romans were fanatical about these shows, which roused passions in the population at every level, with no distinction between on class and another.

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