Not far from the Ticinensis Gate, outside the walls, the Milanese amphitheater, one of the biggest known in Northern Italy, was built during the first century A.D. In this typically Roman construction, with an elliptical central arena, surrounded by tiered stone bleachers for the spectators, combat between gladiators, fights between men and ferocious animals, public executions for those condemned as bestias i.e. torn to pieces by wild beasts and even naval battles took place. This imposing building which could hold 20,000 spectators, had its outer ring denuded of building materials during the fifth century A.D. which were re-used in new constructions such as the nearby Basilica of San Lorenzo or to reinforce sections of the city walls. After recent archaeological studies, some scholars have hypothesized that the amphitheater was still in use in the Longobard Epoch (sixth- seventh century A.D.), perhaps as the headquarters of the military garrison as it was a protected and fortified site.