"To suffer myself to be whipped with rods,
burned with fire or killed with steel
If I disobey"
-The oath of a Gladiator
The Colosseum was used to host gladiatorial shows as well as a variety of other events. The shows, called munera, were always
given by private individuals rather than the state. They had a strong religious element but were also demonstrations of power
and family prestige, and were immensely popular with the population. Another popular type of show was the animal hunt, or venatio.
This utilized a great variety of wild beasts, mainly imported from Africa and the Middle East, and included creatures such as
rhinoceros, hippopotamuses, elephants, giraffes, aurochs, wisents, Barbary lions, panthers, leopards, bears, Caspian tigers,
crocodiles and ostriches. Battles and hunts were often staged amid elaborate sets with movable trees and buildings.
Such events were occasionally on a huge scale; Trajan is said to have celebrated his victories in Dacia in 107 with
contests involving 11,000 animals and 10,000 gladiators over the course of 123 days.