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It is famed as the place where gladiators battled lions for the amusement of the citizens of ancient Rome. But of the 6 million visitors who flock to the Colosseum each year, how many know that during mediaeval times, it was also the fortress base of a powerful Roman family for over two centuries? Scholars had long been aware that the medieval-era Colosseum had a fortress owned by the Frangipane family. But much of the archaeological evidence of it was lost at the time of 19th-century excavations, when masonry was removed for new buildings or restorations elsewhere in the city.
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