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What impressions might a spectator in Roman times have registered on approaching, entering and settling down inside the Colosseum? How would structural and decorative features have contributed to any such impressions?

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TMA 03 PART 1 -Short Answer What impressions might a spectator in Roman times have registered on approaching, entering and settling down inside the Colosseum? How would structural and decorative features have contributed to any such impressions? On approaching the colosseum, a spectator in Roman times would have been overwhelmed by its sheer size and beauty as it stood against the skyline perhaps higher than any other building in close proximity. The roar of over 45, 000 people would have greeted them as they neared. Upon entering, the spectator would have been amazed at the sheer volume of the people the space could accommodate as well as the different safety and comfort features. The architects took into account not only the appearance but the firmness and function of the colosseum. The clever architecture meant that every spectator had an unimpeded view of the arena and of the emperor's reactions to the proceedings. Seats, corridors and stairs were planned in order to allow the public easy access and exit and to keep the different social classes separated. The strict social segregation meant that the two main entrances led directly to the central boxes where the emperor and senators would sit while a series of other pathways led the other spectators to their designated seats. ...read more.


During peace times, gladiatorial games or combat became the way in which men showed their strength and military values. This coincides with the way in which modern day armies perform military maneuvers or mock battles. Another issue which we in the 21st century would find difficult to comprehend would be the concept of upper classes using their slaves in games. Slavery in modern day is hard enough to comprehend. For the Romans it was not an issue of who had the most expensive car or designer clothes, it was whose slaves won the victory in gladiatorial fights. When captives were pitted against each other with the prize being their life, it is fully understandable why one would fight to the death. The Roman leaders saw this as a way to entertain as well as punish slaves, captives and locals for their crimes. For them it was a judiciary event as well as entertainment. The fights also served the purpose of reiterating the power of the Romans over their captured enemies. Pliny's Panegyric xxxi states that the emperor gave the citizens 'public entertainment, nothing lax or dissolute to weaken and destroy the manly spirits of his subjects, but one to inspire them to face honourable wounds and look scornfully upon death by demonstrating a love of glory and a desire for victory even in the persons of criminals and slaves'. ...read more.


Cicero, who condemned gladiatorial games, states ' a gladiatorial show is apt to seem cruel and brutal to some eyes, and I incline to think that it is, as now conducted, but in the days when it was criminals who crossed swords in the death struggle, there could be no better schooling against pain and death. One writer believes that the games became a common denominator amongst all the conquered people in the Mediterranean area. As they came from different cultural backgrounds, this was the one pastime which they had in common. What I believe to be most interesting about the Romans was that for a moment, the common folk had the ultimate power to save or destroy a life in the ring. For most, this was the only opportunity to be a part of the decision making process. In conclusion, I feel that while some people of the 21 century understand the Roman way of life, there are some who will form an opinion judging them by today' standards without fully understanding or studying the culture ethics and morals of the time. Each society has a set of norms and traditions and the Romans were no different. For them, the colosseum and its events served the purpose of uniting the people against the common foes of lawlessness and blasphemy and gave them a sense of unity. ...read more.

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