The Roman Colosseum

The Roman Colosseum: a building that provides a glimpse into a time when humanity was much more “wild,” when the only way to entertain ourselves was to watch others (and bet on it) slice each other to peices with swords, spears, arrows, and just about any other kind of mideival weapon you can think of. Built over the course of approximately ten years, from 70 AD to 80 AD, and made to seat 50,000 spectators, the Colosseum was much like a movie theater is to us today. It was the primary go-to place for entertainment, where one could watch gladiatorial contests, fights against wild animals, reenactments of famous battles, and even the occasional dramatic production. During the Colosseum’s earliest years,  the floor would even be flooded with water so that spectators could enjoy watching mock sea battles.

One step inside the Colosseum and it is impossible to say that you don’t feel the life of the building. Although much of it lies in ruins today, you can feel what it would have been like so many years ago– crowds of people, screaming, yelling, and chanting. The metallic clanging sounds of swords striking each other, the howls of different animals, the battle cry of the gladiator, and again, that constant cheer of the barbarian-like crowd– all these sounds, from so distant a time in history, yet, still seem to linger in the air inside the building. It truly is a remarkable place to see.

 

In 1349, a major earthquake struck Italy, causing the south side of the Colosseum to collapse. At this time, a small church group moved in to the remainder of the building and it was no longer used for entertainment purposes. The collapsed stone was used all throughout Rome to renovate churches and other various buildings. Once the broken stone was depleted, the rest of the Colosseum began to be taken down piece by piece in order to build other buildings throughout the city. This deconstruction was done all the way up to the 19th century when it was put to a stop and the triangular parts of the outer wall (as seen in the above image) were built to help the remainder of the building continue to stand.

 

Check out the architectural design with the alternating tall and lower arches. Very impressive for such an early time in history. The above picture is the walkway leading to the floor level of the theater, much like the hallways that lead to the lower-level seats at a modern-day sporting event.

 

As you can see, the entire floor is no longer there. For this reason, part of the floor has been rebuilt so that tourists could get an idea of what the inside of the Colosseum would have looked like in 80 AD. However, because of the missing floor, we can see the chambers that would have otherwise been hiden completely. Those chambers are where the gladiators would have been kept before a fight, and also where the wild animals would have been locked up if they were to be used for the show as well.

 

An image from up above shows the size of the inside. Looking at this image, it is easy to picture the Colosseum how it would have looked from a spectators point of view. Imagine the stadium seating going all the way up close to the top of the outer wall. This would have been the sight to see when it was completely built, but of course they never thought of it that way. Even in its present condition, I still highly recommend the experience of walking inside the Roman Colosseum.

Today, the Colosseum rests right on the edge of one of the busiest roads in Rome. It’s pretty cool that a building of such history and such age could just be there, as a part of the every-day life to a local Roman.

Facts including years, metrics, or other numbers included in this post are courtesy of Wikipedia.com

Other facts for this post come from professors while studying abroad.

Images from this post taken with a point-&-shoot Casio digital, before I knew anything about photography.

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