The worst sports disaster ever recorded took place in 29 AD in a cheap wooden stadium in Fidenae, 8 miles north of Rome. It collapsed during a crowded gladiator game and killed at least 20,000 people. The Roman Senate responded by requiring future stadiums to be inspected and certified.
Fidenae was an ancient town of Latium, situated about 8 km north of Rome on the Via Salaria, which ran between Rome and the Tiber. As the Tiber was the border between Etruria and Latium, the left-bank settlement of Fidenae represented an extension of Etruscan presence into Latium. In the 8th century BC during the reign of Rome's first king, Romulus, the Fidenates and the Veientes were defeated in a war with Rome, according to legend. It may be that a colony was established there after the defeat as Livy afterwards describes Fidenae as a Roman colony. Fidenae and Veii were again defeated by Rome in the 7th century BC during the reign of Rome's third king Tullus Hostilius. In the early Roman republic Fidenae made a decision that was to cost them much of their land in favor of the new Claudia gens, formed from Sabine defectors. After some minor conflicts in which Rome was victorious, the Sabines took a vote and resolved on an invasion of the city of Rome.
The Tarquins brought in Fidenae and Cameria, formerly Roman allies. The total defeat of the Sabines in 505/504 BC was followed by the siege of Fidenae. A garrison was placed in Fidenae, and its members were given much of its land. The Claudii are not mentioned in connection with the battle, but they had been given land north of the Anio river, some of which was at Fidenae. They could only collect on that offer if Fidenae was defeated, the implication being that they were being invited to participate in the campaign; they may even have been the garrison. Fidenae appears to have fallen permanently under Roman domination after its capture in 435 BC by the Romans, and is spoken of by classical authors as a place almost deserted in their time. In 27 AD, an apparently cheaply built wooden amphitheater constructed by an entrepreneur named Atilius collapsed in Fidenae, resulting in by far the worst stadium disaster in history. At the time of the incident, Tiberius was in Capri, where he had a secure getaway, but rushed to Fidenae to assist the victims of this incident.
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