In his Sand of the Arena, James Duffy commits two anachronisms, backwards and forwards, when, in AD 67, he has the now combined Pompeian and Glevian gladiator troupe fight the Roman Imperial School in the Amphitheatrum Statilii Tauri, and has them reside in the barracks of the Ludus Magnus.
The amphitheatre of Taurus was destroyed in the Great Fire of 64, and the Ludus Magnus was built adjacent to the Amphitheatrum Flavium, the Colosseum, by the the Flavian emperors.
The question arises: Was the amphitheatre of Taurus replaced before the Colosseum was built, and did Nero built one before or after the fire? The information is somewhat conflicting.
It was not, however, till the fourth consulship of Augustus, B.C. 30, that a more durable amphitheatre, of stone, was erected by Statilius Taurus, in the Campus Martius (Dion Cass. LI.23; Suet. Octav. 29; Tac. Ann. III.72; Strab. V. p236). But, since this building was destroyed by fire, it must be supposed that only the shell was of stone, and the seats and staircases of wood. This edifice was the only one of the kind until the building of the Flavian amphitheatre. It did not satisfy Caligula, who commenced an amphitheatre near the Septa; but the work was not continued by Claudius (Dion Cass. LIX.10; Suet. Cal. 18, 21). Nero too, in his second consulship, A.D. 57, erected a vast amphitheatre of wood, but this was only a temporary building (Suet. Ner. 12; Tac. Ann. XIII.31). The amphitheatre of Taurus was destroyed in the burning of Rome, A.D. 64 (Dion Cass. LXII.18), and was probably never restored, as it is not again mentioned. It is still a question with the topographers whether any traces of it are now visible (cf. Becker, Handbuch d. Römischen Alterthümer vol. I. pp642, 643, and Urlichs, Beschreibung Roms. pp53, 54). 2
Amphitheatrum Statilii Tauri: an amphitheatre built of stone by L. Statilius Taurus in 29 B.C., probably in the southern part of the campus Martius (Cass. Dio LI.23; Suet. Aug. 29; Cal. 18;1 Tac. Ann. III.72; Strabo, V.3.8, p236; CIL VI.6226‑6228). It was burned in 64 A.D. (Cass. Dio LXII.18), and Nero built another (q.v.) on the same site (HJ 496; cf 595, HCh 197 for the church of S. Angeli de domo Egidii a Poco, not de Rota, as Lanciani (Forma 14) and Armellini2 363 believed).
Amphitheatrum Neronis: a wooden structure, erected by Nero on the site of that of Statilius Taurus (q.v.). It was finished in a year, but is spoken of by Tacitus (Ann. XIII.31) in such a way as to imply that it was not a remarkable building (Suet. Nero 12; Plin. NH XVI.200; XIX.24; Vict. Ep. 5.3).
Suetonius in Nero:
12 These plays he viewed from the top of the proscenium. At the gladiatorial show, which he gave in a wooden amphitheatre, erected in the district of the Campus Martius within the space of a single year, he had no one put to death, not even criminals. But he compelled four hundred senators and six hundred Roman knights, some of whom were well to do and of unblemished reputation, to fight in the arena. Even those who fought with the wild beasts and performed the various services in the arena29 were of the same orders. He also exhibited a naval battle in salt water with sea monsters swimming about in it; besides pyrrhic dances30 by some Greek youths,31 handing each of them certificates of Roman citizenship at the close of his performance. 2 The pyrrhic dances represented various scenes. In one a bull mounted Pasiphae, who was concealed in a wooden image of a heifer; at least many of the spectators thought so. Icarus at his very first attempt fell close by the imperial couch and bespattered the emperor with his blood; for Nero very seldom presided at the games, but used to view them while reclining on a couch, at first through small openings, and then with the entire balcony32 uncovered.
Tacitus, Annals, 13.31:
[13.31] During Nero's second consulship with Lucius Piso for his colleague, little occurred deserving mention, unless one were to take pleasure in filling volumes with the praise of the foundations and timber work on which the emperor piled the immense amphitheatre in the Field of Mars. But we have learnt that it suits the dignity of the Roman people to reserve history for great achievements, and to leave such details to the city's daily register. I may mention that the colonies of Nuceria and Capua were strengthened by an addition of veterans; to every member of the city populace four hundred sesterces were given, and forty million paid into the exchequer to maintain the credit of the citizens. A tax also of four per cent. on the sale of slaves was remitted, an apparent more than a real boon, for as the seller was ordered to pay it, purchasers found that it was added as part of the price. The emperor by an edict forbade any magistrate or procurator in the government of a province to exhibit a show of gladiators, or of wild beasts, or indeed any other public entertainment; for hitherto our subjects had been as much oppressed by such bribery as by actual extortion, while governors sought to screen by corruption the guilty deeds of arbitrary caprice.
Dio Cassius, after he mentions the destruction of Taurus’ amphitheatre in LXII.18, but is vague otherwise on a theatre where gladiatorial and other games would have been performed. In fact, the only gladiatorial games he mentions after 64 took place in Puteoli (LXIII).
Theater and Amphitheater in the Roman World | Thematic Essay | Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Gladiatores (Smith’ Dictionary)
Arena: Gladiatorial Games
Gladiators (NOTÆ, Essays on the History and Culture of Rome)
Gladiator (Wikipedia, usual caveat)
Female Gladiator (Wikipedia, usual caveat)
The Public Games of the Romans Vol. 7, No. 20 (Feb., 1938), pp. 76-85 (JSTOR, limited access)