Saturday, March 19, 2011
Today we returned to the Colosseum, or Flavvian amphitheater for a closer look. The Colosseum is the largest structure left to us by Roman antiquity. It is a model for sports arenas of modern times. It is a very powerful building, however quite a lot of it has been damaged over the centuries by fire, earthquake and neglect. Pillaging of marble, travertine and metal was rife and used for construction of other palazzos etc. In more modern times damage from pollution is evident.
There are 80 arched entrances. These once held statues, now long gone. It held 50-60,00 spectators.
The floor has long gone, but visible today are the corridors and rooms below which held cages for animals, rooms for gladiators and slaves etc
Apparently animals were imported from Asia Minor, Africa and Europe to compete in brutal fights in the Colosseum.
It is hard to believe that bloody battles between elephants, tigers and cheetahs were quite a common occurrence in the Colosseum, an outrageous idea in the modern world of today.
There was a complicated system of platforms and winches to bring the animals from below ground up to the elliptical arena.
This must have been an astounding sight to the average spectator who was by all accounts just your average farmer.
Gladiators were chosen for their height and strenghth; the average height for a Roman man at this time was a mere 4 foot 6 ( so said the guide- seems unreal, doesn't it!)
Gladiators used to perform during a fight, but not necessarily kill each other. Slaves and criminals on the other hand would fight to the death or be condemned to death after a fight by the vote of the crowd and the Emperor's hand signal.
1. Colosseum arches
2. A numbered archway
3. View across the Colosseum with the exposed underneath area visible.
Apparently a very wealthy Italian has recently left 25million Euro for the restoration of the Colosseum which will begin next year.
Cheers until next time,