According to the archaeologists, several large blocks of worked peperino stone would have helped support an awning system (velarium) to shade spectators from the sun, just like at the Colosseum in Rome.
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Most likely, it was in this opulent setting that Commodus practiced for his first semi-public appearances as a killer of animals and a gladiator.
Succeeding his father, Marcus Aurelius, Commodus ruled Rome from 180 A.D until 192 A.D., when he was strangled in his bath by a wrestler.
Immediately after he became emperor, he displayed his strength in gladiatorial combats at Rome's Colosseum.
According to his contemporary Dio Cassius, Commodus killed men in his private gladiatorial bouts, and was known for "slicing off a nose, an ear or various other parts of the body."
An accomplished left-handed fighter, determined to cast himself as "Hercules reborn," Commodus was also a skilled hunter, showing his ability in the Colosseum by killing bears, tigers, hippopotamuses, elephants, but also domestic animals.