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Guide To The Colosseum and Games of Ancient Rome

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Good morning ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre. Today I will be telling you all about the Colosseum, and its previous uses. I will be bringing the gladiator fights, and the ancient times back to life. As you can see, the Colosseum is huge, and I have no doubt it impresses you. Yet even though it still looks marvelous, it is but a fraction of its former glory. As a result of fires, earthquakes, and plunder, two thirds of the original building has been destroyed. The Colosseum was originally built by Vespasian's son, Titus. It would have taken a lot of planning and hard work, considering it was built in a valley in which there had previously been a lake, and also how quickly it was finished. The Colosseum started being built in 70 AD, by slaves. It was finished in 80 AD. It was capable of seating 45,000 spectaters, and a further 5,000 standing. There were many entrances, eighty in total. Nowadays you can only see a few of them left standing. The Romans were extremely good at dispersing large crowds quickly. People could access their seats via a Vomitaria, which is Latin for 'rapid discharge'. The English word 'vomit' is derived from it. They could get everyone out in a matter of minutes. ...read more.


'Thumbs pressed' probably meant to sheath the sword, and 'thumbs turned' probably meant to kill. We know all this from primary resources, such as this pot. It was like a death sentence to be a gladiator, which is a reason why it seems so immoral to most people, considering there is no death penalty in places like Europe. Being a gladiator could be a very lethal experience, as shown in the flask. Even if a gladiator one a battle, this had no influence on the next, as there could be animals involved, or a stronger man. A man called Martial once gave this advice to gladiators "when you fight in a show, if you beat your opponent, don't let him go!" This was after a gladiator made the mistake of sparing his rival, who later fought another battle with him and killed him. Within the arena, there was no justice, no second chances, and barely any time to think. It was a cold hearted blood bath. Not all gladiators had an awful life though. Some became champions, and consequently, heart-throbs. They were admired for their bravery and strength. They were especially popular with women. As shown in one inscription: 'Vercunda, actress, love's Lucius, gladiator.' Animal fights and hunts were in huge demand in ancient Rome. The Empire was glad to spend its money on exotic animals, so it was a good trade to be involved in. ...read more.


On the rare occasions they actually happened however, the sea fights were wildly popular, because of how rare and exciting they were. A particularly famous sea fight was staged by Emperor Claudius. It was to celebrate a tunnel that had been built through a mountain, from the Fucine Lake to the River Liris. The Emperor provided warships manned by 19,000 men. The warships were encircled by rafts to prevent escape. Crowds of people came from miles around to see the show, but there was a problem. When they opened the waterway, it became clear that it was not deep enough, and thus needed to be widened. However, to the horror of the spectators, the force of the water burst through and carried away everything in sight. Overall, it is clear that the Romans were very different to people nowadays. Violence to them was just am extremely popular sport. It was a way for Emperors to show their power off to the people, and to outdo previous Emperors. The Venerable Bede once said "as long as the Colosseum stands, so shall Rome; when the Colosseum falls, Rome shall fall; when Rome falls, so falls the world" The Colosseum did stay standing a long time after Rome, and it still is standing today, even though it is missing about a third. The Romans were clearly brilliant architects to pull off such a magnificent building. ?? ?? ?? ?? Roman Leisure 12924 Guide To The Colosseum In The 21st Century Page 1 of 4 ...read more.

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