This is the Colosseum where the gladiator fights used to take place in early Roman times.
The Arch of Constantine is next to the Colosseum. You can see it in the background as a big rectangular structure. It was built after Constantine overcame the tyrant Maxentius.
Just inside the Colosseum, we walked along this path to the ticketing station.
Then we stood in line for a while waiting for tickets.
People had carved their names and initials on the stonework. Though their inscriptions were interesting, we didn’t carve anything in the stone. We know that people work hard to preserve the Colosseum and if everyone carved something into the stones, eventually the whole place would fall down.
We had to walk up some stairs to second floor.
On the second floor of the Colosseum, there’s a museum about the structure. I was surprised about this. I thought we’d just be able to walk around and see exactly what the Colosseum looked like when it was still in use. I didn’t expect to see a museum inside the Colosseum.
This photo was taken looking down through one of the many windows into the arena.
This is a walkway leading out into the arena.
We’ve seen a lot of amphitheaters in different parts of the world. Amphitheaters are similar to a colosseum, but they’re often used for theater rather than the sport of killing.
It’s hard to number how many animals and people died tragically at the Colosseum in Rome. When it was first opened, over 9,000 animals were killed in one day as a celebration.
Imagine being captured as a prisoner and sentenced to death here. I can’t imagine a more frightening way to die than to be cast into the arena with hungry lions, dogs, or tigers or perhaps gladiators waiting to kills me with axes or spears. While I fought for my life, people would be cheering for my death. Prisoners who were sentenced to die in the Colosseum were known as humiliores…because to die in this way was “humiliating”.
Gladiators were paid to fight and often, they were killed in battle. Sometimes they could put one thumb in the air if they got really tired and they knew they couldn’t fight anymore, like a thumbs up, and sometimes…depending on the mood of the emperor, the gladiator would be granted mercy and be allowed to live.
The Colosseum wasn’t nearly as well preserved as I’d thought it would be.
I thought we’d be able to go into the Colosseum and sit in the “bleachers”, but these had all fallen down. Only a few marble bleachers remained where the royalty used to sit.
In Turkey, Tunisia, and Morocco there are amphitheaters that are very similar to the Colosseum because these areas were under Roman rule for a period of time. The Greeks were the first to create amphitheaters, but they were more interested in theater while the Romans were more interested in brutality as a form of entertainment.
It’s huge. Like a football Colosseum except old…the FIRST colosseum ever.
The floors have all rotted away, but you can see the walls that were under the floor.
A small section of flooring has been rebuilt. You can see it at the bottom left.
Looking straight down…
Another view of what was once the arena. You can see the small rebuilt section of flooring on the far end of the arena.
You can imagine the bleachers when you look at the Colosseum from this angle. It’s sad that the structure has deteriorated so much.
Apparently, one Roman emperor named Domitian was particularly ruthless. When one harmless man yelled at one of the gladiators (like people today yell at football players) he threw him into the arena with pack of ravenous dogs who tore him limb from limb.
In another fight that took place between animals, an elephant and a rhinoceros were made to fight. Rhinoceroses are known for being scary, fearsome creatures in the wild. In contrast, elephants are relatively peaceful animals. But in one famous fight, an elephant took up a spear in its trunk and gouged out the rhinoceros’ eyes.
We went down below to get a closer view of the area that was once the arena.
This is where the floor of the arena should be.
Some fake Roman gladiators pose for photos…if you have one taken, they expect to be paid, though.
We sent a postcard from the gift shop at the Colosseum…
And the meek shall inherit your spare change. — By Jennifer Shipp
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