Contruction of the Colosseum (which was called Flavian Amphitheatre for a long time) began in the first century, and the stadium survived for 2000 years to become the icon of the Eternal City. Although the construction is still standing strong, it has clearly suffered from earthquakes, wars, and also plundering, all of which explain the missing parts of the huge structure. Going inside the place looked smaller than I expected, but this is probably caused by the reconstruction going on.
It is when you read about the history and the function of the place that it really comes to life. That history is tainted by cruelty, by blood, by macabre games and, by modern standards, sick appetite for merciless pleasure. In the first 100 days when games where staged here, some 9000 animals are reported to have been killed, often in one-to-one fights. Of course, the gladiator fights were another main attraction of this stadium, where the audience was chosen to decide the fate of the competitors.
Nowadays the floor does not exist anymore, which makes the catacombs clearly visible. It was there that gladiators and animals were waiting for their fights. The wooden floor was covered with a layer of sand (arena in Latin), chosen to absorb the blood of the "sportsmen". Even to modern standards, the stadium could hold a huge audience (some 70 000). While walking around on the centre stage, it is inevitable to fantasize about the fights held here, imagining the audience and the cheers, and wondering about the human mind.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Colosseum (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Colosseum.
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