When in Rome, one of my priorities was seeing the Colosseum. This ancient marvel of architecture and engineering was just as, if not more, impressive after seeing it in person. For me, the most exciting part of the tour was getting to walk inside the amphitheater…
A view of the long axis (because it’s elliptically shaped):
There were a ton of levels (I think four?) in the Colosseum. If you didn’t know where you were going, you could accidentally walk into the cage of some hungry animal waiting to be released into the fight…
No doubt the Colosseum held some violent displays of “entertainment” back in the day. What I learned, though, that a lot of the participants of fights or animal hunts were prisoners or criminals already condemned to the death penalty. I mean, that doesn’t make getting ripped apart by sword or tooth any better, but in my mind I always thought that the fighters were forced innocents or slaves (which also may very well have been the case).
We also went down to where the emperor’s seat would have been during the games. Obviously, it was the best view in the house:
The emperor also had the power to spare a fighter’s life; this actually depended on the crowd’s reaction. So it was a crowd-pleasing tactic that gained more popularity and favor with the emperor. He could spare a man through the signal of hiding his thumb inside his fist (a sword in its sheath) or kill him by sticking his thumb out (sword out).
All this stuff was morbidly fascinating. There’s still so much I could learn about this structure. I’m usually not a history buff, but learning about the history and facts about these important places was 10x more interesting when I was standing on the grounds where that history took place!
Have you ever been to the Colosseum? What did you think?
Thanks for reading!