Culture and comedy are on display in the Roman theater; the Roman amphitheater, on the other hand, is a place of bloody spectacle. Tiered seating allowed thousands and even tens of thousands to watch gladiatorial contests, animal hunts, chariot races, and public executions. The term amphitheater is drawn out the Greek language and suggests "a theater in the round." The Colosseum in Rome is perhaps the most famous of these.
Some 230 amphitheaters are known across the Mediterranean world (see a third-century distribution map here). Three are found in the Heartland: Caesarea Maritima, Scythopolis (Beth Shean), and Eleutheropolis (Beth Guvrin). Of the three, the smallest is pictured above. The venue at Eleutheropolis (reconstructed seats shown in this case) is thought to have had between 9 and 11 rows that seated about 5,000 persons. Tammie joins the throng and does her best to share in this urbane expression of life in late antiquity.
To learn more, see Zeev Weiss, Public Spectacles in Roman and Late Antique Palestine (Harvard, 2014).